'You will stand near a pond and I will kick you into the water,' Bangladesh's 'King of YouTube,' according to an earlier TBS story, told a friend of his while sharing his idea for a great video he was planning to make. The friend said it was a stupid idea, but he insisted that this is what people watch.
It is true. Videos that are best described as a blend of slapstick, shock humour, pranks and cringe enjoy millions of views on social media and earn the makers a lot of money.
Still, you will occasionally come across authentic and impactful content on Bangladesh's internet sphere, which also garners attention on the internet.
Zero Idea, a Facebook page, has recently been gaining popularity by conducting science experiments, especially involving chemicals, on camera.
To provide a glimpse, the experiments involve fuming liquid nitrogen reacting to hot water, white phosphorus bonding with oxygen creating fire, or making a sugar rocket. The experiments do not take place in sophisticated labs, rather, the background often shows farmland, canals or open fields.
While viewers show interest in and appreciation for the unusual content, they also frequently ask who the content creator is, and where he gets the materials from.
The young man behind the page is Zakir Hossain, a fourth-year chemistry student from Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University, located in Dinajpur. What drives him to produce this content for his virtual audience seems to be a passion, as well as a noble objective.
"The appeal of science to students is falling day by day. The main reason behind this is the lack of practical knowledge of science gained through lab experiments. I want to make science popular to our students, by making these experiments available online in the Bangla language," Zakir said.
Of course, Zakir started with tech content first, and later focused more on science experiments because he has leverage in this as a student of Chemistry, and has a liking for it.
But where does he get the chemicals from? We asked Zakir.
Zakir said, as he is based in Dinajpur, he sources them from local science stores. However, chemical compounds like potassium nitrate or different acids are not sold to the general public in order to prevent hazardous use or risks. Zakir manages to procure them from suppliers connected to his university, who, knowing his mission on the internet, sell to him in limited quantities.
It is surprising to find general viewers, not necessarily students, taking interest in science experiments when most of the local content is dominated by light-hearted fun videos. Zakir unveiled his secret to us.
"My page got a real shot in the arm in July last year after the hydrogen peroxide accident in Sitakunda. One of my experiments with hydrogen peroxide drew a lot of views at that time," Zakir mentioned.
The video titled 'See how hydrogen peroxide reacts with fire in normal conditions' has about 2.4 million views. Zakir said it got 1 million views on the very first day.
While posting science experiments, Zero Idea has a tendency to post videos relevant to trending issues. For instance, as the news of Russia reportedly using white phosphorus bombs in Ukraine came out, Zero Idea posted an explainer of why this substance is so dangerous.
The page, which started about a year ago, has more than 1 lakh followers, and the number is rising. Zakir said the page saw rapid growth after the explainer videos. Of course, he, at this moment, is able to give only enough time to keep the page alive, as classes, labs and tests keep him busy.
The experiments and videos take time, Zakir noted.
"I've been trying to make three videos for the last three days, but the experiments have failed on all three occasions," lamented Zakir, who edits the videos himself; but the recording is usually done by friends.
When asked why he holds his experiments in farmlands, Zakir said he has limited indoor facilities to carry out potentially dangerous chemical reactions. So he chooses open places as a precautionary measure. Also, he wears protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles when necessary, and warns the viewers of potential dangers involved in the experiments.
Zakir has a plan to engage more in this activity in future and do more interesting experiments. He already has some ideas in mind but they are expensive. The kind of money he gets from Facebook right now only covers 30-40% of the expenses required to carry out the experiments, so the content creator is waiting for the right moment.