Category Archives: YouTube

YouTube is my life – for real!

So I’ve made a momentous decision to stop messing about with this online stuff and do it for real. Namely, I am going to spend the next six months focusing primarily on YouTube as my source of revenue. I’ll be increasing my activity in other online arenas as well, like this blog and Facebook. But given that YouTube is already a revenue stream for me, that’s where most of my energy will be going.

The YouTube Partner Program is not the most secure way to earn an income. YouTube would be well within their rights to alter the deal or to revoke the Partner Program altogether any time they felt like it. This isn’t something I think is going to happen but it would be stupid to think it’s impossible. So while my initial goal is to raise my profile on YouTube, it isn’t the only part of my strategy.

I will be working with a friend who is a well known comedy director to write some scripts that we will develop into videos. While these will go onto YouTube, they are also being developed with an eye to other possible revenue streams: DVDs, iTunes and selling them to TV stations are all options.  In short, I’m going to be busy. And I plan to be dragging quite a few other people in to make them busy as well.

Stay tuned

And yes, the inspiration for this post’s title is this legendary YouTube video:

Leave a comment

Filed under YouTube

Carbon Trading is probably bullshit

I’ve gone online a few times talking about global warming/climate change, mainly to say how much the deniers piss me off. It’s one thing when people disagree with you and you have different value systems so you think their opinion is crap. But what infuriates me about global warming deniers is that their arguments are direct lies. The crap they spout is literally the direct opposite of the truth.

Their ridiculous arguments have been debunked again and again, there is NO peer reviewed science that supports their position, literally none, and it makes no fucking difference. They simply will not shut up. They even lie about wanting to “debate”. They don’t want to debate, that would involve listening to the other side and acknowledging when the truth is spoken. All they do is launch a non-stop verbal assault and try to batter their opponents into submission.

Every single aspect of their position is dishonest and quite frankly contemptible. Which is why I refuse to indulge them in their little game. Any of their talk about “engagement” is meaningless lies and so fuck them. I’ll just enjoy my time insulting them because that’s all that’s left to me.

A separate issue to the truth of climate change which lying fucktard deniers tend to say is the same issue is whether or not carbon trading is a viable solution. My short answer is I don’t think so. It reeks of bullshit. There’s a good article here covering why carbon trading plans are likely to fail and a really funny one by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone that’s mainly ripping Goldman Sachs apart but also points out the fact that their promotion of carbon trading almost guarantees its failure.

Also, I had fun ranting about it on YouTube.

4 Comments

Filed under YouTube

YouTube causing pain with censorship

People often ask me why I get angry and why I swear.  I’ll fucking tell you why, because science fucking tells me to, that’s why.  A study conducted at Keele University in the English Midlands (which I’ve never heard of but is clearly the best fucking university in the world) has shown swearing helps you withstand pain.

Volunteers who swore were able to withstand more pain than those who didn’t swear during the same test.  Thus science has proved that swearing is not only big and clever, it’s fucking useful. And people who don’t swear are clearly into pain and are probably the sort of sick fucks who like to be tied up and whipped.

This also show’s YouTube’s attempts at censorship (threatening to delete or at the very least not promote videos just because they have some fucking swearing, introducing the censoring of swearing in comments.) means they want to hurt us. If we are allowed to swear we feel less pain. YouTube wants to reduce swearing. Therefore YouTube want us to suffer more pain.

Fucking bastards!

For those who can’t tell, including references to YouTube’s “censorship” policies is a joke. I point this out because I think people are far too casual in their use of the word “censorship” when it comes to YouTube.  To cite the two examples I used, in 2008 YouTube said they would be trying to make videos with profanity appear less prominently on the site by “algorithmically demoting” them.  This does appear to affect big name users – Cory Williams of SMP Films has been affected by it a couple of times but I haven’t toned down my swearing at all and I haven’t suffered for it.  I would get pretty pissed off if/when it affects me directly.

More recently, YouTube introduced a feature that allows users to censor swearing in the comments on their videos. If this feature is invoked and a commenter calls someone a fucking cunt then it will appear as ****ing ****.  It appears that on the first day this feature was live some goombah launched it with “on” as the default setting. This caused quite a few people to freak right the fuck out, thinking that massive censorship had been imposed.

It may surprise people to learn that I think this is a good feature. So long as it’s set at the video owner’s discretion and not imposed as a blanket rule, that is.  It should be obvious that I’m anti-censorship but within their own domain people should be able set whatever rules they like.  If someone doesn’t like swearing and they particularly don’t want to cop volumes of abuse directed at them on their own channel I say they are well within their rights to block swearing.

And I don’t give a fuck if that offends some purist libertarian streak in people.  If someone imposes limits on my ability to express myself within my own domain I’m gonna get really pissed off.  But it’s absolutely hypocritical to say “I demand liberty for all and nobody is allowed to disagree with me.”  If YouTube enforced this level of censorship across the site I would be leading the user revolt but as an option I think it’s perfectly acceptable.  I may even use it myself on some of my videos.  For instance, my kids are in a few of my videos and they like to see what comments people are making on the videos.  I don’t want them exposed to the typical lowest common denominator profanity that’s common on YouTube so I might censor the comments in that case.

Another way I can see it being good is the sort of no life fuck-up who makes a regular practice of leaving hater comments on people’s videos is easily frustrated.  The main reason for this is the useless pieces of shit never produce anything of their own – the only thing that they have is trying to upset people who are actually doing something.  Take that away (for example, by deleting any swearing in their comments) and they have nothing.  So the whiny little fucks chuck a fit and wet their pants over how unjust it all is and I, for one, laugh right in their ugly fucking faces.

This is why I frequently delete obnoxious comments and block the perpetrator.  Fuck censorship, I just want it to be clear that these sniveling little fuck-knuckles that they have no power in my world.  And I want them to be upset.  I want to know that they are bitching and whining about their “rights” being infringed.  Because fuck them.

So yeah, most of the hyperbole about YouTube going mad with censorship is overblown (not least because of the number of idiots who conflate copyright claims with censorship).  It does seem clear, however, from their public pronouncements that YouTube see themselves as becoming some sort of new broadcast network.  And they aren’t even a little scared of blanding things out if they think it will make them more money.  Even if science proves they are reducing our capacity to endure pain.

10 Comments

Filed under YouTube

Fred in 30 years

“Fred” is the user name of the most subscribed channel on YouTube.  He was the first person to pass one million subscribers.  Rumour has it he makes $US5,000-10,000 each week just from Adsense revenue via YouTube. There are Fred branded shirts on sale at Hot Topic in the US (an probably other places).  I try not to let these facts depress me.

I frequently get asked what I think of Fred by people who say kind things like I deserve more success than him. The truth is, I have nothing against him. He’s not really my “thing” but good luck to him for his success. Rather than wasting time obsessing over the idea that he doesn’t deserve his level of success, I prefer to look on his success as a positive example of what is possible.

This video is my idea of what Fred will look like in 30 years.  By this time he is sure to have one billion subscribers.

And I have been warned about the “Fred Army”. Like I give a shit. If people can’t tell that this isn’t done in a mean spirited way then they are fucking morons. As Shakespeare was fond of saying “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”

3 Comments

Filed under YouTube

YouTube in the news

There’s an interesting article in today’s New York Times about YouTubers who are actually making a living doing videos. Prominently featured are two of my friends from the site, Michael Buckley of “What the Buck” and Cory Williams of SMP Films.

It’s good to see some non-hysterical coverage from a mainstream media outlet, pity the same can’t be said for a lot of the people who read the article. The comments from the readers are amusing in their bitterness and ignorance. My personal favourite said :

Nice to know that someone making amateur Youtube videos (they are a bit entertaining I admit)makes more money than most people I know, with advanced degrees that work 60 hour weeks in offices.

Time to think of a new career path or at least a way to pay off those undergrad and graduate student loans.

No shit, Sherlock!  If you know people who spent years at university racking up massive debts only to end up in dead end jobs it’s fucking obvious they should wake the fuck up!  It appears they didn’t learn many worthwhile lessons in their studies.

Anyway, this is as good an excuse as any to post a video I made with the fabulously wealthy Cory while I was visiting him in the US recently.  Oh, and for those who are interested, I make more like $100 a month from YouTube rather than the $100,000 per year Mr Buckley is lucky enough to be making!

11 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging, YouTube

YouTube Censorship

So, YouTube have announced changes to some of their policies regarding the content of uploaded videos. Many in the mob are screaming “censorship!” and technically they’re right. It does qualify as censorship but it’s hardly new – YouTube has always placed restrictions on what they regard as acceptable content. It hardly seems like the end of the world to me and I’m even hopeful that one or two of the changes might actually improve the site.
Breaking it down, YT seem to have two main goals. First is to randomly generate the thumbnail for videos to fight what’s commonly referred to as “thumbnail cheating” and second is to remove or at least demote the more “adult” content from the “most viewed” etc. lists of videos.
The change to thumbnails isn’t going to generate a significant outcry. For those who don’t know, prior to this change, YouTube chose the exact centre frame of video to represent that video as a thumbnail. Once you knew that you could edit your video in such a way that you controlled what would appear in the thumbnail. People have been complaining for years that showing boobies (or the suggestion of boobies or something similar) automatically grabbed a huge number of video views and many high profile YouTubers were accused of gaming the system.
I know from my own depressing experience that this works. My most viewed video was one where I exploited this. Horny desperadoes who were fooled by the hot babe in the thumbnail and/or the deceptive description were instead lectured by me on the perils of excessive masturbation. Two millions views later I wonder why I bothered. That statistic is really depressing to someone who puts a lot of effort into most of their videos (my highest views for non-thumbnail cheating video is about 300,000). It will kind of suck to not be able to choose how a video is represented (a grey blur does not attract many viewers) but if it stops the boobie thumbnails I guess it’s kinda worth it. [update: I've noticed YouTube is giving the opportunity to upload a specific image as the thumbnail but they threaten to cane you if you break their guidelines]
The demoting of “adult” content is where it gets interesting. One of the main ways to get your videos seen by new and/or casual YouTube viewers is by appearing on one of their “Most…” lists. If your video is “flagged” as inappropriate then you don’t appear on these lists (or the video may be removed altogether) and so your video is likely to get viewed less overall. Admittedly, this has a bigger effect on people who are already reasonably popular. YouTube hasn’t said they’ll be deleting more videos but they have said they’ll be broadening their definition of “adult” and any videos identified as such will be removed from the listings.
The fact that prominently displayed boobie cleavage and booty shaking will disappear from the “most viewed” videos will be a massive relief to most YouTubers. By “most” I mean those not blessed with nubile female bodies that can attract crowds simply by parading around while scantily clad. There, I’m jealous, I admit it. Also to fall under the hammer are videos dealing with sexually explicit topics. No more hot blondes giving instructions for the perfect blowjob appearing on “Most viewed videos”.
YouTube have also decided to demote videos with excessive profanity. Oh fuck. Several people have sent me messages asking “Won’t this affect you?” To which I have responded “Derrrrrrrr!”  After thinking about it for a while, I’m not hugely bothered by this so long as YouTube only “demotes” swearing videos and they don’t remove them entirely.  Me saying “shut the fuck up” 20 times in 60 seconds may not be the most suitable viewing for children.
 
There is no shortage of people shrieking hysterically about this.  By and large, they are fucking idiots.  The drama queens calling for mass boycotts crack me up.  “I’m leaving YouTube,” they wail, “join me and we’ll teach them a lesson.”  Fucking idiots.  If this is a step too far censorship-wise for you then refusing to participate in the site any longer is a perfectly valid choice.  But for the love of the baby Jeebus stop being such a fucking drama queen about it.  Go.  Do it.  Stop fucking talking and clamouring for attention and GO!
 
Go ahead.  Leave.  You know what the effect will be?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Fuck all.  Those hundred people who say they’re joining you?  They’re lying.  They don’t give a fuck and they’ll come back to YouTube simply because it has the videos they want to see.  Even if they’re telling the truth and they never come back, the effect on YouTube would be zero.  The number of people who would give a shit if I packed up and left is statistically so close to zero I may as well have never existed.  For fuck’s sake, Fred (the number one subscribed person on YouTube) could leave and that would barely be a blip on the radar.  The site would continue without noticing and other people would take his place.
 
So please, all the people proclaiming their outrage at these changes: get your hand off it.  I mean it.  If you pull your (metaphorical) cock any harder you’ll rip it right off.  Take whatever action you think is right for you but do me a favour and shut the fuck up about it.  Nobody gives a shit.  To paraphrase Yoda: “Do or do not.  There is no pointless shrieking like a whiny little bitch.”
 
The one thing that concerns me is the likely abuse of the flagging process now that YouTube has broadened what content will be flagged as “adult”.  This doesn’t bother me because of any new standards, it bothers me because of YouTube’s established track record.  Essentially there is a parade of fucking idiotic decisions in their past and I would expect this to get worse, not better.
 
To clarify, this isn’t about me.  Almost none of my videos have ever been flagged (maybe two or three).  But I have seen flagging decisions in the past that simply beggar belief.  YouTube claims that someone on staff reviews all videos flagged by viewers and only takes action if they decide the video truly breaches their guidelines.  Given the number of times I have seen videos flagged that definitely DO NOT breach their guidelines (YouTube later agreed and changed the decision) there is one of two conclusions to draw.  One is that YouTube is lying and they don’t have any comprehensive review process.  Two is that they employ complete fucking morons to fulfil this role.
 
YouTube NEVER respond to the community.  Not even to say “No, you can’t have that.”  But if they were going to listen, I’d like them to respond to these suggestions:
  1. Explain EXACTLY how the flagging review process works.  How many flaggings are investigated each day?  How many staff are employed to do this?
  2. Develop and publicise a review process for flaggings.  Tell people who believe their videos have been unfairly flagged exactly what steps to follow and what response they can expect in what timeframe.
  3. Give Partners the benefit of the doubt.  Give them someone they can go to directly if they feel they’ve been unfairly flagged.  If they’re willing to put their partnership on the line over it then listen to them!
  4. Give registered over-18 users the option to see flagged videos in the “Most…” lists.  Preferably with the ability to filter (e.g. I want to see profanity but not boobies)

Actually, all my suggestions to YouTube always come back to one thing: would you guys PLEASE fucking communicate with us?

28 Comments

Filed under YouTube

Reggie Watts – Fuck Shit Stack

Here’s a little moment from YouTube Live (some two weeks in the past now) that I feel compelled to share.  Who says swearing indicated lack of intelligence?  Lots of people but fuck them – they’re wrong.

I wandered around outside the YTL venue quite a bit before the show.  Partly because I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing and partly because there was so much to see.  And one of the things I saw was the performer I christened the Post-Modern Beatboxer.  Because I had no idea who he was and the way he deconstructed language was brilliant.  It turns out his name is Reggie Watts.

When I first saw him starting I was dissing him as another bloody beatboxer.  Then the lyrics started.  He had me at “Yo, where my gerunds at?”  Then the swearing started.  At that point, I wanted to have his babies.

8 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging, YouTube

Tube-Vember retrospective – the community OWNZ YouTube

Those who have been paying close attention would know that I christened November “Tube-Vember” due to the large amount of YouTube related activity I had that month.  And because I am almost totally unembarrassed by using stupid neologisms.

To summarise: we had a mini-gathering in Melbourne on Nov 15th, I flew to the US for YouTube Live a week later and was in Sydney for the big Australian gathering fo the year the week after that (landed home in Melbourne on Monday).  That was a lot crammed into about 2 weeks which ended up feeling like both a long time and a short time.

Long because there was so much activity crammed in there it gave the illusion of much more elapsed time than it really was (this was essentially a year’s worth of partying for me crammed into one month).  Short because 2 weeks really isn’t a very long time.  And I would have liked to stretch out the US trip in particular for a month or so.

My one feeling at the end of all this is that it’s all about the community.  People are fond of bemoaning the lack/death of community in YouTube (I’ve been know to muse on this myself) but I have to say, the community is alive and well.  People who feel like there’s no community need to look inwards for the answer rather than outwards.  Or better still, piss off as they’re clearly part of the problem rather than the solution.

At YouTube Live I met both the high flyers (a significant chunk of the top 20 were there) and the average folk – people I interact with regularly through subscriptions and comments.  While it’s easy (and a little cheesy) to say the “real” people were the soul of the event I have to say, the “A-listers” I spoke to were universally nice.  Even people I didn’t “like” were nice.  I put “like” in quotes because these were people I didn’t actually know but I had formed opinions of them from their activity on YouTube.

I’m still alternately amused, dumbfounded and frustrated with how badly YouTube misses what the community wants.  The scale of what they have achieved with a video sharing site would have sounded impossible only a few short years ago and now we take it for granted.  They got the hard stuff right and they still don’t seem to understand how easy it would be to keep the community happy.  And they don’t COMMUNICATE!  YouTube Live seemed to succeed as a community event despite YouTube rather than because of them.

But still, when I say “OWNZ” I mean the community is the best part of YouTube, not that YouTube has to do whatever some amorphous “community” tells them.  YouTube can do whatever they want.  Besides, what the community is and what it means will vary from person to person.  Communities are like that.  It’s completely pointless the way some people try to force their interpretation of community on everyone else.  Even when they are a part of a community, people remain individuals.

The best advice I can offer is know what you want for yourself and stick to that.  If you can’t find like minded people then maybe you need to reconsider.  Or maybe you simply don’t need other people.  The idiots who do the bleating about other people not meeting their standards of community behaviour are usually losers that nobody wants to associate with anyway.  Leave them to their delusions.

For all its shortcomings, I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities YouTube provides.  And I know that I’m part of a fucking awesome community.

6 Comments

Filed under YouTube

Internet self-analysis

I’ve commented/joked before that the internet is essentially the largest human behavioural research laboratory in history.  I sincerely hope there are a few PhDs being worked on that analyse the group dynamic we see at play here every day.  I’m sure some great truth about the human condition is waiting to be illuminated.

While being immersed in the horror that is the internet is more than enough to make you completely lose faith in human nature, taking a breath now again and stepping back can be very helpful.  Even the worst, most infuriating behaviour from morons can help you learn something if looked at from the appropriate angle. 

For instance, people’s tendency to slip into paranoia and conspiracy theories freaks me right out.  From high end 9/11 “truth” whackjobs to the insane conclusions people leap to when interacting on sites like Facebook or YouTube.  There are days when I think the majority of the planet have their brains set to a default “crazy” setting – it’s the only explanation for the leaps some people make.

It would be one thing if it was only paranoid schizophrenics having conversations with the saucer people who made these crazed dives into deep chasms of illogicality.  But perfectly rational people (or people who are good at covering a lot of the time) will frequently indulge in paranoid responses to perfectly straightforward situations.  One example is they way people respond to a glitch YouTube has been having recently.

I suspect this actually coincides with the last “upgrade” to Flash as YouTube (like most video sites) uses a Flash player for their videos.  Whatever the source, this bug has gone unfixed for way too long (at least a month)  What happens is that videos frequently fail to play.  When you click “Play” you see a little spinny thing that suggests the video is loading but nothing ever loads – the screen goes black.

Actually, not quite nothing.  YouTube make it worse by displaying an incorrect error message: “The video you have requested is no longer available.” Speaking as someone who occasionally takes on controversial topics, I am frequently receiving comments along the lines of “OMG what did you say? They’ve taken the video down!  Big Brother is silencing free speech!”  Well, no actually.  It’s just a shitty site with a shitty glitch.

But a LOT of people leap straight to a paranoid conclusion.  I’ve learned to be less stunned by people’s tendency to descend into paranoia.  Besides, with the US Government making it clear they’re indulging in wholesale surveillance of the entire population, CCTV cameras on every street corner in the UK and an internet overrun with idiotic trolls determined to fuck up your enjoyment of life, paranoid may as well be the new normal.

And then there’s the tendency of people to lie.  Most rational people have a healthy suspicion of authority figures and the media.  Great pronouncements of truth have a disturbing tendency to turn out to be self-serving lies.  And the internet has been a valuable tool in exposing many of these lies that would have otherwise escaped detection.

Mind you, the internet is also obviously a massive source of the most outrageous lies imaginable.  And a horrifyingly efficient distributor of lies.  Like most people, I spent a lot of time being appalled at the most egregious lies being circulated.  I’ve spent time trying to debunk some of them.  But you know what?  Sometimes it’s enough to take away the lesson “Wow, a lot of people tell lies.  A lot of the time.”

I’d love to tear down the houses of lies that the politicians live in.  I’d love to expose the venal media hacks who lazily and shamelessly circulate these lies without applying any critical analysis.  And I’d really love to make the gutless scumfucks on the internet take responsibility for the vicious lies they peddle.  But I can’t.  There’s too many of them.  Accepting that simple fact can be incredibly liberating.

I see people lie about petty, trivial things all the time.  I see people tell lies that are absurdly easy to prove are lies.  Not differences of opinion, not misrepresentations, not mistakes.  Deliberate, premeditated, calculated lies.  And when so many people do this over completely meaningless things, how much more likely is someone to lie when there is something serious on the line?  As much as the liars I’ve been confronted with online sicken me, they’ve helped me by ensuring my bullshit detectors are usually turned up to 11. 

Just because it’s on the front page of the New York Times doesn’t mean it isn’t a lie.

So the downsides of the internet have actually helped me balance my worldview.  Learning those things about human behaviour is helpful.  But a helpful lesson I frequently forget is that it can tell a lot about me too.  How I respond to negativity can be a very good indication of how balanced my mindset is.

The worst of the negativity is always on YouTube.  While I have had the occasional stupid troll on this blog, they’re few and far between compared to the cavalcade of idiots on YouTube.  I strongly suspect this is because interacting on a blog required the reading and the reading is more challenging than the looking YouTube requires of you.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the looking.  But there’s no denying the reading requires an additional level of commitment.

My reactions to YouTube trolls have varied wildly over the last two years, something that may well have a relationship to my mood swings over the same period.  I’ve gone from grinding them into the ground, trading insult for insult until they give up, to having zero tolerance and deleting abusive comments instantly and blocking the worst offenders.  At the moment I’m leaning more towards block/delete but indulging in the occasional slugfest when it seems funny.

But I’m very conscious of how much it consumes of my mental and emotional energy.  Case in point: a little while ago, there was a particular YouTube dweeb who was really pissing me off.  He was going the whole way, indulging in truly insane conspiracy theories about the motivations of myself and other people, telling pathetically obvious lies that weren’t even worth debunking.  And he would not shut the fuck up.

I spent a bus ride to work thinking of a way to get back at him and came up with quite a good idea for a video.  I never go after individual people in videos so this would have been going after his sort of stupidity generally rather than him specifically.  But it would have been obvious that I was going after him.  And that made me pause.

While I have a lot of fun going after the hater mentality I’ve been careful not to make it about them.  When I have a go at haters it isn’t from some deluded idea that I’ll make them change – it’s a message of support to the other victims of their stupidity.  Giving someone the message that they aren’t being attacked because they’ve done something wrong, they’re being attacked because their attacker is a fucking moron can really make  a difference.  It’s easier to bear stupidity when you have a sense of solidarity with other decent people.

So I didn’t make the video.  Yet.  I’m still going to make it because it’s a bloody funny idea (IMHO) and I think people will enjoy it.  But it needs more distance so it’s about me doing something funny rather than simply me biting back at someone who pissed me off.  The moment I made that decision was incredibly liberating.  A huge amount of stress left me when I realised I wasn’t letting this mentality control me.

And I didn’t even have to say anything to the fuckwit in question.  Because they don’t count.  That is something that I really hope decent people understand.  Sometimes, not responding is the most powerful thing you can do.  Because then you’re living life on your terms, not theirs.

Living well really is the best revenge.

22 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Internet, YouTube

What happens when YouTubers get together

I swear I’m planning to write something substantive soon.  In the meantime, here’s a roundup of what happened at the recent gathering of YouTubers I helped to organise in Melbourne:

It started with balls and it ends with dick!

Leave a comment

Filed under Video Blogging, YouTube