The Vacant Content Of YouTube

Newton Minow once called television a “vast wasteland“:

When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

Change “television” to “YouTube” and the same thing applies.

Too many people think they have something to say. And they’re doing it on YouTube.

They don’t have anything to say.

All they need to do is look at their Views number for confirmation.

As much as I’ve griped in the past about this blog’s readership numbers being lower than past blogs, it turns out that was just a matter of me being ahead of the audience and also trying to attract a different audience. The reader numbers have since increased and a glimpse at Top Posts in the sidebar will confirm I’ve attracted a different readership.

If I had the amount of readers that many YouTube videos have, I’d quit this. Having a few thousand YouTube “Subscribers” but Views below one hundred is a ratio that needs some attention. Something is wrong.

Here, at this blog, the numbers are reversed: just 46 “Followers” but hundreds of daily readers — adding up to several thousand unique readers in a month. I’m fine with that. It’s what I expected. People might not come here every day and only pop in to look up posts about certain personal electric transport, but that still shows I have something to say. Because those posts have far more readers than many YouTubers have Views. (And if this was a YouTube Channel, those numbers would actually be a multiple because of the way YouTube works. But the kind of posts I do here are not transferable to YouTube.)

If I wanted to attract a permanent daily readership, I’d write about a single topic: Personal electric transport, for example. But I have no interest in doing that. So this blog will remain with the fluctuating readership it has. A wandering refugee audience instead of permanent settlers. But that audience will still be bigger than many on YouTube who are looking to make a living there.

In my post about The Science of Getting Rich, this paragraph has stuck with me:

I’ve never considered “use value” until that. And when I apply it to YouTube, the “use value” plummets. I’m not exchanging money for a video, I’m giving something far more important: Time. I can always create more money. I can never create more time.

Too many YouTubers don’t ask the question, “Will this video be useful to someone?” Spewing opinions, how is that useful? As the saying goes, opinions are like assholes — everyone has them. The second question to ask should be, “Why does my opinion matter?” There is too often no expertise or even deep knowledge displayed in the video to warrant the validity of an opinion. Too often, the opinion doesn’t matter.

It makes me think of this Zig Ziglar quote:

This blog is a “wandering generality” but it contains, scattered, mostly “meaningful specifics” (and the Search bar and the “Previously here” links I try to include in each post will lead to those “meaningful specifics”). But this would never work on YouTube and I’m aware enough to see that.

I’ve Subscribed to nearly five hundred YouTube Channels. If every single one of them posted daily, it’d be a nightmare just looking at their titles. Most Channels, however, don’t exist as a way to make an income. The ones who post daily are the ones trying to. And of those, I watch very few. And when I do watch and have felt cheated out of my time, I’m not shy in hitting the thumbs down for Dislike. The delusional YouTubers see a Dislike as a troll, not as a signal that something might be wrong.

Here is Casey Neistat with a rather clickbaity title — and I say that because he addresses the subject in only a small fraction of the video’s length (another thing too many YouTubers do wrong — stick to the subject in the title!):

The Pressure of being a YouTuber

No one on YouTube gets any sympathy from me. The “pressure” is what you’ve put on yourselves. If your goal is to post a video daily, then why should anyone cry for you? Where’s the clamor for daily videos? Neistat — a Channel I Subscribe to — missed several days of posting a video. And you know what? I didn’t even notice! And I think anyone who did might want to examine themselves for a problem.

All of you newcomers looking to make a living from YouTube: You will fail. You have nothing to say. Don’t blame the audience, don’t whine about not having “luck.” Examine yourselves. The problem is there.

Previously here:

Dealing With YouTube Hate In Style
How YouTube Videos Fail
More About Streampunks
Book: Streampunks
THIS Is How To Do A YouTube Promo Video
“Dude! It’s Only YouTube! Who Cares?”
Your YouTube Video Is The Most Important Day Of Your Life

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