Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Swiftkaratechop And The Youtuber Interaction Downgrade

This video by swiftkaratechop (aka Matthew Brown) is a little surprising. Swifty's channel is not one I am usually subbed to, so it wouldn't ordinarily come to my attention so quickly unless someone emailed it to me or mentioned it on Twitter or elsewhere but one of the people I am subbed to (the lovely LenaDanya a talented artist who does fun videos on YT by the way) liked and commented on Swifty's video so it showed up in my own Youtube stream. I thought I would check it out and thought you should do the same.

Swifty raises some interesting points about how the old Youtube community has begun to drift away and that there seems to a more pronounced culture that is more focused on uploading videos simply to make more and more money on the website with less interaction with those who are viewing the stuff being posted. This I wholeheartedly agree with and decided to share his video with those who happen to stumble across this blog.

I happen to be one of the wretched unwashed on Youtube, one of those who has been a longtime viewer and commentator across hundreds of videos who has never taken the time to upload anything personally. Why? I didn't think I had anything to really add, visually to the website even though I think what I have to say might be interesting to some. Yes, I'm not one of the pretty people on the website (not that I was born absolutely fugly and then hit in the face with a scoop shovel for good measure), but I think I have more of a radio-friendly (or blog-friendly) mug. What I am saying is that I do intend to begin uploading videos of myself shortly because I want to experience that aspect of the website and maybe this video by Swifty will be one of those kicks in the pants I need to actually add some content on Youtube. But enough about me - what about this video?

I have been aware of the swiftkaratechop channel on Youtube, but dismissed it quite a while ago, along with others that I found to be a little too juvenile, and painful to watch. Let's face it, I thought I was just not the demographic that Swifty was posting videos for. That shouldn't be read as some kind of a slight towards Swifty in any way because his channel does have a substantial number of subs and viewers - his main channel currently has 457K-plus subscribers and his videos have had over 43 million views so there is definitely a group who likes his stuff. But, this video was not expected. I do share his opinion that the Youtube community has changed quite a bit although there are still some youtubers who do actually interact with their viewers in a meaningful way. He mentions several that I am subscribed to in the description box of the video that I do notice actually talk to their viewers.
One glaring exception is of course Ray William Johnson who is currently the most subscribed channel on Youtube. Ray does talk to his "forum" or viewership during each video but beyond that he doesn't seem to interact at all with his audience. Actually after a while he closes the comment section on each video which makes commenting on his videos essentially pointless because all the comments are deleted. Now I don't have any insight into Ray William Johnson's personal or business finances, although I have read that he claimed to make a million dollars a year from his activities related to the website. But good for him and hopefully he does "give back" to the world in some way. Personally I have drifted away from watching every "Equals 3" video that gets posted because I just don't find it very funny anymore and like many, I also have a bit of a problem with his practice of using the videos of others and making a ton of cash without the original poster getting any real credit or views. Some might say that's the same thing I'm doing here, except that when someone watches a video on Bradshaw's Blog, the original uploader (like Swifty in this case) does get the views AND gets any advertising revenue, which is as it should be. I can sleep well at night.

But what is your opinion about Swifty's video? Do you agree with the points he raises? Lately I have been mulling over taking a more active role in the Youtube community and this video is food for thought from an unexpected direction and if he continues posting thought-provoking videos I may have to rethink subbing to him. There are some (tons actually) of channels that I avoid because they are painful to watch because they pander to a very low denominator of viewer and some of them are in the top 100 or 200 most subscribed channels but it is my opinion that simply because a channel or anything else in this world is "popular" does not necessarily mean that what they post can be described as "good" or of high quality. This particular video is very good and raises questions about where Youtube is headed and where it came from.

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