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YouTube Supply, Demand And Personal Growth

This is a topic I actually covered on the Day 0 vlog of Solo Disney 2016 which is chronicled on YouTube, but it didn’t make it into the final edit. I was thinking it through live as I was talking about it, the video was too long and it wasn’t direct enough to be worthwile putting on YouTube on its own.

As a result, I’m going to talk about it here as I think it clarified my thinking on the whole YouTube thing a bit.

The Supply and Demand Theory

In my view, with a bit of an MBA / business spin, getting involved in YouTube is about supply and demand. That’s obvious? Why are you telling me this? Yeah, it’s obvious in the sense that you supply content which hopefully there is a demand for and, in this case, that demand, should it exist, hopefully finds the content.

I’m not so much talking about that though, at least not directly. I’m talking about supply and demand in terms of what I hope to get out of the YouTube experiment.

YouTube As a Supply Driver

The key thing for me initially, and potentially for a good long while, is using YouTube as a supply driver. Stop it with the fancy speak! What the hell do you mean? Quite simple. I have numerous hobbies I enjoy, yet for various reasons, even right down to stupid apathy, I don’t engage with them. Hell, one of the reasons I did an MBA was to give my spare time purpose.

Instead of engaging with the hobbies I wasn’t engaging with I replaced them with a grand education endeavour based on personal growth, I’ll come back to that last bit.

Since the MBA finished in 2011 I’ve had the usually on and off relationship with my hobbies and have now fallen back into apathy. Yeah, seperation from my wife of 20 years, etc, probably influenced it, but it had started to happen before that.

Time to re-engage.

So, one big hope of the YouTube experiment is this: it needs content and the content is essentially the things I like doing, but don’t. The need to enrich the YouTube channel will drive me to my hobbies.

It sounds a bit mad I guess: why not just do it? Well, the obvious answer is I don’t. I obviously need some sort of external influence or context for it to work. The MBA worked because I wanted to pass and achieve. When did I engage with my hobbies the most in the dim distant passed? When my hobbies and my social life where one and the same. That was the context. That context is unlikely to return in the same way and I probably don’t want it to. That’s fine. Life changes.

The experiment is can YouTube content be that context and potential social element (but I’ll come back the social element)? I want to have some level of success with YouTube, though how I define it might be different to many. The gives me the context, something new and challenging that I’m trying, that is going to have to be more than a short term burst activity. I like that. It also adds a bit of a challenge element which I like and an element of personal growth.

This sort of approach isn’t unheard of, at least one of the gaming group has started a blog in the dim distant past to enrich and prune his hobbies when he entered a funk. I guess I’m doing in a slightly differnet way with YouTube. Time moves on.

I’m looking for supply rewards in the medium (or long, depending on how measure it) term with respect to YouTube. This is also being realistic, as any sense of success at the YouTube endeavour is not a short-term play even on my small expectations.

This brings me to the demand side.

The Demand Side Reward

The demand side of YouTube is the audience. The unknown mass of people who are just waiting for your channel to exist so they can subscibe and watch on a regular basis. Yeah, right. But you get the idea. It’s the numbers and, if you have really lofty goals, the economics that come with it.

First, I want to get something clear. I’m not even considering the economics of YouToube. It’s not even registering on my consciousness (beyond seeing some of the extreme cases and its odd consequences).

There is no make money goal.

Second, I’m realistic. Obviously, I hope that the channel will eventually have some sense of an audience beyond friends and family. The reason for wanting this is simple though: it creates the potential for interactions, which is the only goal I have in it. I realise there are other ways I can get that (other social media platforms, forums, etc), but I refer back to the supply side objective. It’ll just be good for it to be another way to engage in conversation and discussions which will no doubt have a feedback effect on the supply side.

Am I going to discuss goals about numbers? No, because I’ve not really thought about it too much and I’m perfectly willing to accept a year from now I may be faced with just friends and family subscribers! I guess all I’m wanting is some sense, eventually, I’m not casting content out into the void, whether that be tens, hundreds or thousands.

Essential Personal Growth

You know what one of the reasons is I potentially engage with my hobbies less? They no longer offer as much personal growth as they used to. All of them have reached a nadir in that area. Well, not so much reading novels, but even that can have an air of the familiar. Possibly the reason I played Elite: Dangerous for a while was the challenge of it, especially the Distant Worlds Expedition (though it also hit the ‘right’ time in my life). I’d say many games are variations on a theme though. It’s certainly true that one of the reasons I run role-playing games less is the personal development angle of what GM’ing used to bring isn’t present. Yeah, there are still tools and techniques I’m learning but it’s impact on my personal growth isn’t a thing. It did that a lot, but it’s developed me all it can I think.

This isn’t the case for YouTube. Really? Are you nuts? Nope, even my experience doing a vlog on holiday tells me it’s going to deliver big time.

Let me tell you one thing: everyone one should film themselves to camera. It’s enlightening and confidence boosting. That confidence boosting may take more time with some people than others, depending on how many hangups they have, etc, but for me it’s been fascinating.

I’m an introvert. Some people may find that hard to believe but I’m very confortable on my own (I spend ages on my own, especially now!) and don’t like social events that aren’t overly structured and known. A party full of people I don’t know is a nightmare (hell, even one full of people I do depending on the criteria). It’s easy for people to think I’m not as I can give presentations in front of people fine, but then that’s controlled, right? I can give my opinion quite forcefully in small groups. To superiors. Fight my corner on complex projects against powerful stakeholders. But this is all my area of expertise, that’s fine. In thos circumstances I can appear very not an introvert.

You don’t have to go back far and the idea of speaking to camera in private, never mind in public would have been a no go area. Now…it’s rapidly become less and less of an issue! This has interesting tangental impacts, it just makes you both more and less conscious of how you come across and the things you can do that impact that. It’s not acting per se, far from it, but it is a form of awareness of the impact you can have in influencing people and presenting ideas.

Speaking to camera, everyone should experiment with it, you learn a lot. This is ignoring all the new skills like how to present content, the best way to talk about ideas, editing, lighting, the technology involved. I’ve learned how to do more stuff in the GIMP graphics package in the last two weeks than I have in years. All sorts of stuff.

This is the single most personal growth thing I’ve done since finishing the MBA, and it’s fascinating.

So, Yeah, Hopefully YouTube Is A Thing

I’ll be honest, I’m taking it step by step. There is a chance I’ll see out the Disney vlogs and that will be it. I will see them out though as the memories while editing them together are gold. It has been worthwhile doing for that reason alone. It also really made the holiday. It was possibly its main reason for success!

I’m currently thinking of how to continue with it. Some of the issues I have to deal with. But it’s already driving me to engage with my hobbies. In October I’m going to a PLAY Expo, I’d have never done that before, but what’s driving me to go is I am excited about the next challenge of filiming and vlogging something.

And that’s what it’s supposed to be doing. Beyond that, we shall see!

About Ian O'Rourke

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