Youtube, the internet versus Real Life…the two are somehow separate, yet somehow intertwined; parallel universes revolving around your own personal sun.
I been thinking lately. I have been on Youtube for 5 years and 4 months now…quite a LONG time for any Youtuber! I’ve seen people come, stay a little while, do a dozen or so videos and disappear into oblivion once again. I’ve known a very few who have stuck it out and stayed with it, actually about 5 that I know of right off the top of my head that I have followed since March of 2009 when I started actually doing videos. It took me about a year to be convinced to join the vlogging bandwagon, and once on board I decided that I actually liked doing them and have pretty much stuck with it. I have taken small hiatus periods, like 3-5 weeks here and there through the years, but I’ve posted over 1000 videos, some are still up and some are in privately shared space, and some have been deleted now, but I’ve definitely done a boatload!
My videos have ranged in topic from very personal stuff about myself, to answering questions people have asked, to giving my opinion on different things such as news stories, articles, issues within the LGBTQ community, etc – all basically for fun and entertainment, although mostly my own! LOL Hell, I’ve even done some more serious “how to” videos on some minor things like pet care. I have had a blast doing the videos. I have built a subscriber list of 1389 viewers. My typical video garners approximately 130 views in the first 2-3 days, and some have topped 5,000 views over time. I don’t do it for the “views” or “hits”, but more for my own personal enjoyment, for those who are dedicated, loyal followers and for those who come to me with questions or topcs they would like to see discussed by me and others.
I have always tried to be very open and honest in any video I have done. What’s the point if you are not going to be? My view is that if you are going to make videos make them so they have a point of some kind and so they are interesting in some way and that keep the viewers’ attention to watch them to the end. Perhaps I have succeeded sometimes, perhaps I have failed miserably others. Whichever way it has gone, it’s been just fine with me. I don’t lose sleep over it. I just YT because I like it. I enjoy most of the people I have met over the years. I have gotten tons of comments about how this video or that video changed someone’s opinion, view or life in some little way and made their day a tad bit brighter. Those are the BEST comments to get! I have made some friends, so damned good friends and I have made some enemies I am sure. Hey, you can’t please everyone, why even try! If I were worried about that I would either not post videos at all or make all my posts private.
I think my vlogging is something I like to remain positive about. I like to project a positive attitude, even if I am discussing a negative topic like a news event about a tragedy. There’s always something to find positive even in the negative. I try to avoid the negative quibbly stuff, avoid the dramatics and rarely speak about people in any type of revealing way. Viewers don’t want to watch or hear that kind of stuff so I try to keep it real and be honest in voicing my own opinions, my own views and things deriven from my own life experiences. I find it more freeing to be this way. I, and I am sure other people as well, can relate to people who they find are real and who they can share a view with or an experience with in virtuality. I think it’s pretty cool to get other peoples opinions, views and have exchanges that may even change MY view on the topic; maybe change how I thought and that’s what I call growth. We grow through the exchange of ideas.
There is a weird paranoia that does come with being a public sort of figure or being in the public eye. It can and will change your life. As I have navigated the online world I have met many people, some interesting, some funny, some scary, some I liked and some I did not. I’ve made some really good friends, and I have had many great conversations as a result. I have learned as I have gone along, because there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it, there is no instruction manual or care-of guide. Vlogging helps me get perspective sometimes, and it helps others see my perspective, and maybe further think about their own. Viewers see some of their problems and answers or ideas about them through seeing and hearing about how I have dealt with things in life. Sometimes I look back at old old videos and think “what was I thinking!?” because I have changed my view in some way or another, life has gone on and whatever it was became either less important or completely irrelevant.
I started out on Youtube slowly, and became far more open about myself as time went on. I have blended my Youtube with other venues, shared the videos in other places and used them for a variety of purposes over time. Lately I’ve been starting to feel that it may be that time in my life to keep my emotions and more personal things to myself more. The internet is a rapidly changing place.
Five years ago Youtube was a MUCH different place; a whole different atmosphere and way of being. It was much more about personal videos discussing life issues facing each of us at different times and in different places along the path. Today it’s more of hubbub about what the “popular” theme is, how to make money doing videos and who can out wit who. It’s a bit crazy and not as interesting in my own personal opinion. Sure, there are still some great vloggers who have remained true to themselves and still do the types of videos that I continue to do about everyday topics. And I will follow those people until they either drop off the tube or I do. I am finding more negativity than ever before. I am finding more haters and bullies, I hate to see it happening, but it seems to be just the way of the web-life. I don’t feel that mutual respect and the kind of trust that I used to feel when the tubes were a smaller, more intimate community, but that I have to be more careful who I share my personal life with these days.
I will absolutely continue to do videos. I’m not leaving Youtube or WordPress by any means! I find it way too fascinating to leave. But I am going to divide off and make more personal videos available to only a limited, select audience on all of my channels. Same with WordPress; I will be posting password protected blogs when I deem it necessary to protect my privacy and in an effort to be more careful about who I am sharing my life with in these venues. I have watched another very well respected YT vlogger do this a couple of times, have to change channels, go private, use passwords, etc and now I know and understand his need to do this periodically. Sometimes you have to rethink your position and it may lead you to a new choice, a new path or one of better footing in the long run. It’s not a bad thing, and it could be a necessary thing, as I am finding at this point in life.
The weekend is over. Mine was a pretty good one – mostly spent working! I did take some time to relax and accomplish some other things as well. The best thing I did was turn off my email and internet – except for 2 check in’s on Facebook! – all weekend, I won’t even check my email for at least another 12 hours. I’m sure it’s full, but you know, I didn’t stress about it and it will be there when I get to it sometime tomorrow. It’s given me time to rethink these things about Youtube and the seeming “need” for an internet presence by everyone here in 2013…I so wish for the simpler days of much less technology!
In closing, thanks for your continued support and encouragement! I appreciate every reader.