The YouTube Fantasy

I’ll admit it. I spend a lot of time on YouTube. I’ll use it to unwind after work, relax when I’m tired, and generally provide background noise while I’m doing other things. I have a lot of YouTubers I subscribe to, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to them talk about the work they do, and sometimes I think “what if I did that?”.

Of course, I don’t want or expect to gain millions of subscribers, fame and fortune. I just have some ideas for videos that I think would be pretty good. I just am writing a book that I want to be able to market someday, and what if I can get a bigger audience by doing YouTube?

So I uploaded a video a few weeks ago, around the time that I was working on last week’s post (it took me quite a while to write and revise). Here it is for anyone who’d like to watch.

As of the time I’m writing this, the video has a total of eight views, which somehow both exceeds and falls short of my expectations. Compared to the views I got on my first ever blog posts, eight views is fantastic! But when I look into the analytics I see that no one watched for more than twenty seconds.

The good news is that the analytics are so detailed that I’m also able to understand why. People who found the video seemed to have had it recommended because of watching gaming content YouTube deemed to be similar. In one case, my video seems to have been recommended from a video of someone playing a completely different game that happened to have a similar video title and seems to also involve flowers. But that game is likely to be far more popular than this Flash game from years ago that’s no longer easy to find.

I watch gaming content, and I know it makes perfect sense that a person watching part one of a playthrough would want to watch a video continuing the game or showing the whole thing. And although my thumbnail, title, and description were clear, it makes sense that at least a few people might wonder if it’s something else simply because the game it’s about is so unknown.

This is a video that really would only appeal to people who first know who I am and ideally are also familiar with the piece I wrote. So I was assuming it wouldn’t get any views at all until I posted about it here, unless someone visited my homepage and saw I’d added a little YouTube icon they could click on. I made the video for a very particular audience.

This is why eight views, none seeming to come from my blog or from people who went looking to see if I have a channel, exceeded expectations. I’m suitably impressed with YouTube’s algorithm and with the size of the potential audience there. I imagine that if I posted a video that has more general appeal, that video might perform better. And I do have ideas for such videos. In fact, I was planning to have one done by the time of this post. But here is where we hit the reality check.

I really am more of a writer than a visual artist. I think the thumbnail above is serviceable, but I also have a feeling that other people might find it unappealing in a way that I can’t even tell. Truth be told, the thumbnail above represents about the extent of my ability to create appealing visuals. I consider it a victory that the text I added is clearly readable. I also managed to add a shadow effect (ooh, fancy!). In terms of the video editing, I was able to make a few cuts, but it probably would have been better if I’d cut the audio and video separately to avoid making the game seem to jump ahead in time at points during the opening.

There are a couple problems here. One is my lack of skill, but the other is my lack of interest. I just don’t care about the visuals as much as I care about the script, and that makes it difficult to find the motivation to get the video into a state that will appeal to those who do very much care about the visuals. I don’t enjoy thumbnail making or video editing. And because of that I haven’t bothered to spend a lot of time learning how to do better. In part, my lack of skill is actually because of a lack of interest.

Incidentally, I also dislike recording, at least when I’m first getting started. I had to make so many cuts in the beginning of the video because I can’t help being nervous in the beginning. I start off far too quiet, then transition into having too many “ums” and awkward pauses. And dwelling on those in the moment only makes it worse, so that I kind of have to ignore it and forge ahead as if everything that came before is fine in order to hit my stride. All of which creates a problem of people being more likely to click away from a video before it gets good, and, what is perhaps more to the point, a problem with me procrastinating a video I had wanted to record.

At the end of the day, I’m not cut out to be a YouTuber, and I think I would be kidding myself if I said I was going to upload videos with any kind of regularity. But I do have ideas for content that doesn’t lend itself well to a blog post, and I do enjoy sharing what I have to share after the initial hurdles are cleared. If I make those videos and someone ends up enjoying them, that will make me happy. So maybe I will have another one up sometime. Here’s hoping I can kick that performance anxiety.

5 thoughts on “The YouTube Fantasy

  1. Regardless of how you feel about your final product, I think it’s important to document and archive these old games – and I often look up videos just like these when I’m researching for my writing topics. YouTube doesn’t need to be a collection of high production vloggers who spend way too much time on editing (though that is what it has become). Simple is good 😌

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My family did a lot of camping when I was younger, too. Must be a Wisconsin thing. (Admittedly, I didn’t look forward to camping and often had my gameboy with me 🤣)

        Liked by 1 person

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