In some ways, I wasn’t surprised to see my son on YouTube trying one of those pickles you see in convenience stores.
You know the ones.
And I watched the whole thing – not for the stupid voice he uses, not because he’s my son, not because it’s a “challenge”, but because I was curious. I’ve seen these pickles all my life, and I’ve been idly curious about them.
Idly. Not enough to actually buy one. So I was interested to see the reaction of someone who actually tried the thing. (Judging by his reaction, yeah, I made the right choice.)
But I wasn’t surprised because he’s spent a good amount of time watching other people on YouTube. And he’s right at the cusp between two big trends in making videos.
The first is exemplified by the voice he tries to use. It’s an over-the-top gimmick, aimed for maximum “loudness”. Sometimes that “loudness” is literal (like in omg so many videos in the “let’s play” genre), sometimes it’s figurative outrageousness, like that shithead Logan Paul. And the thing is, that kind of loudness does get positive reinforcement. After all, despite the crassness Logan Paul has done recently, he’s only been “grounded” for 18 days and is on “probation” for 90. But it’s not surprising that the platform’s CEO doesn’t think he should be banned – he gets attention for YouTube, not just himself.
Let’s be clear: What I’m commenting on here isn’t whether or not I think his stuff is “offensive”. I’m commenting on the insidious idea that being “loud” and outrageous is the way to succeed.
Obviously, it’s possible. But it is also fleeting, temporary, and a complete race to the bottom. It’s not a surprise that after Logan Paul got a smack on the wrist for being outrageous he immediately turned around and found other ways to be “outrageous”.
The second I’ve already commented on: It’s finding content (and a style) that others haven’t done before. It’s creating content not just creating noise.
Maybe that content is trying pickles. Maybe it’s playing games I’d never try, or explaining science, or makeup tutorials, or board game reviews, or, or, or!
The content doesn’t have to be anything crazy fancy, overproduced, or even loud. It doesn’t even have to be something that lots of people are interested in. Even though this spot was made for Community, I would watch the heck out of this channel:
So I’m going to ignore my son’s attempt to be outrageous in this video, but I’ll definitely keep encouraging him to be creative.