Response to a viewer’s email
What started out as a typical response to a viewer email somehow turned into “therapy time for Dan Brown” —going on and on about the past couple years of my life on YouTube. If you want a peek into my brain, give it a read. Let me know what you think.
It’s been a crazy couple of years for me, but I agree— I think I’m finally figuring out what makes sense for pogobat again. Having grown up with YouTube, having been a “YouTube personality” for the last four years I somehow got it in my head that I could use YouTube differently than the average user. I was trying to keep track of everything going on on the site, trying to be an “expert”, trying to get views just for views sake. That might have been possible back in 2007, but now that’s akin to trying to pay attention to everything on television— if not harder! I got discouraged when I couldn’t meet my own impossible expectations, when I was only watching vlogbrothers, wheezywaiter, angryfilmsproductions (and other channels of that nature). I think my discouragement showed and turned off viewers.
…this is an oversimplification by the way. There was more going on in my life, but I digress…
Then I began thinking about what was drawing me to the channels that I was watching. Sometimes they were insightful, but not more insightful than a smart commentator on, say, BBC News. Sometimes they were funny, but not more funny than, say, a good standup comic. I wasn’t watching because of any one specific thing they did. I was watching because I could relate to them, see parts of who I am and who I aspire to be in them. Even thought they’re not my “friends,” my relationship with them felt much more friendly than my relationship with anyone exclusively in traditional media could ever be.
Also, in much the same way that real life friends are just kind of a part of one’s real life, internet “friends”— vloggers one watches— are just kind of a part of one’s internet life. When I open YouTube they’re on my frontpage, when I open twitter on my phone while pooping they’re right there, sharing all kinds of strange moments.
With that in mind, I realized that somewhere during Dan 3.0 I stopped being friendly with my audience. Somewhere we lost the trust that any “friendship” requires. Rather than having a conversation I was editorializing everything. I was expecting everyone to listen without bothering to listen back. I also distanced myself from the Internet to the point where I wasn’t a regular part of my viewer’s lives anymore. I took my quasi-fame for granted and it steadily dwindled to the point where I had a less engaged, less interested audience than I’ve seen in over four years of vlogging.
I’ve begun the slow and steady process of reversing that now. I know that trust doesn’t come back overnight, but I’m confident that it will in the long run. For the first time in a long time there’s a guiding philosophy behind what I’m doing.
Thanks for the email :]