It is perhaps an underappreciated fact
that not every home-recorded video belongs on YouTube.
Prior to spring 2018 I occasionally made demo videos of DIY projects,
and posted them to unlinked and unguessable URLs. After
posting, I would Email the private link to selected family and
friends. A couple of friends suggested that I should upload to YouTube
instead, saying such things as, “They are sure to go viral,”
or “You will get a million views.” That is my recollection of what they
said, but some memories are untrustworthy—perhaps all are.
I surely did not believe my friends’ jesting
predictions, but was intrigued by the idea of posting project videos
for public viewing. One thought was that YouTube might send viewers to
related project descriptions (i.e., those indexed here),
thereby sparking greater interest in the projects themselves. Far as I
can tell it has not.
Between March 2018 and the time of this
writing (January 2021) I have posted 21 videos. More accurately, 21
of my videos remain posted. A
sense of doubt—I was
going to say ‘shame’—made
me pull one or two after posting, and a few others should probably
be removed for their abysmal quality or lack of interest. It is not
possible to edit a
YouTube video after posting it. Tough luck if you find a blatant error.
The only option is to remove the offending video, and possibly post a
replacement, but that is the same as posting a new video. (I can
see the reason why this awkwardness is necessary.)
is possible to study what are called
and apply such an effort to enhance or improve YouTube presence. But
spending time to uncover strategies for increasing views would require
a different sort of motivation than mine. I am
curious about why one video receives many views and another very few,
but I generally interpret such discrepancies as reflecting my lack of
appreciation for which subjects are of most interest to other people.
It is clear that putting
more effort into the technical aspects of recording and editing of a
improve the video’s objective qualities, though would not necessarily
its interest. However, that is a moot observation, because at
the time of making a demo video I am ready to be done with the project
and impatient to move on to another.
The most viewed video on my channel is
one of the
earliest, uploaded in April 2018. As of this writing that
video has more than 30,000
views. I have no idea why it has so many views—to me it is less
interesting than some that have fewer than 100 views.
In addition to
view numbers, ‘likes’ are another metric. When I think about my own
viewing habits, there are videos that I like very much (generally great
music performances) but I don’t indicate my appreciation by clicking
‘like’—I think the ‘like’ concept or habit may be a spillover from
media. Or is it irresponsible not to check the ‘like’ box when I
particularly enjoy a performance?
Comments are a simple metric. Most of my
videos have zero comments. A few have technical comments, requests for
clarification, etc. Comments indicating true usefulness, such as having
motivated someone to reproduce the project or create a similar one, are
rare. In addition to comments I have received occasional off-line
Emails about videos. These are generally positive and sometimes interesting.
Finally, number of subscribers is a
metric that relates to
the success of the channel as a whole.
has fewer than 200 subscribers. Some subscribers are YouTube
sponsors themselves, typically channels about amateur electronics or
radio, in other words channels having shared interest to mine.
may be unpleasant to admit, but the amateur electronics hobby is not
golf. For that matter it isn’t even sailing, which is not golf. It is a
somewhat obscure hobby of limited general interest. On YouTube,
popular music has a much larger following or viewership than classical
music. ‘How to’ fix your car when it won’t start is of more
interest than ‘how to’ make a frequency counter, and for obvious
reasons. So I shall be content to post demos of my limited-interest
projects to family and friends (on whom they are forced), and the
handful of subscribers whose hobby interests occupy a place in the same
small sphere as my own.