I know. I KNOW!
Last week, I did say that I would return with an essay stuffed full of still more book recommendations, and you were counting on that- you, my mighty horde of readers, you teeming host of ten. But no! Here come I, the blog author, with an ego the size of a city, switching right after I bait, offering up an essay all about how you - YOU! - you should start taking YouTube seriously.
It is upsetting. And I apologize. And I will eventually get around to recommending some more books to the two of you who (possibly) care about reading lists of book recommendations. However, we are down to the last two weeks of the school year, and as someone heavily involved in the education of children at this point, my mind these days is an absolute pile of exceptionally squishy mush.
Therefore, I instead seize this open-ended opportunity to write on a subject I care about deeply, despite my mushy minded state.
Yes, really. YouTube.
I have been subscribing to YouTube channels for years now, and my life is significantly the better because of that happy fact. And yet, it has lately come to my attention that many of you are unaware of what a YouTube channel even is. (Those of you who do know, feel free to ignore this next section.)
Basics first! YouTube is a video sharing site. At this point, as it is owned by Google, it is pretty much THE video sharing site. If you are reading this diatribe, you were probably routed here through Facebook, which means you have definitely seen a YouTube video before. People share them on that platform constantly.
YouTube channels are simply the collected uploaded videos of a single “content creator,” which is fancy speak for the person/people who makes/make particular videos.
I am covering these intensely elementary facts first, just so as to not leave a single reader of mine lost and alone in the howling wastes of ignoble ignorance. (Remember I work with children now. End of school year! Brain = bread. Ding! The toast is done.)
Anyway, when you go to YouTube, and you find a video you like, chances are that was uploaded to the website by a channel, and chances are that that channel has other videos they make on a regular basis.
You see, several years ago, YouTube had the nifty idea to partner with the people who were already uploading videos to their site.
“Hey,” said YouTube, “If you agree to partner with us, and agree to our community standards, we will literally share with you the ad revenue that your original videos earn.”
“Sweet!” said the World.
This inspired concept of splitting ad revenue with the People (capital “P”) has spawned a whole world of content that would never be produced by other means. Now, anyone with a camera can start a channel with couple of clicks and can immediately get their personally produced products out before the masses. Today, there are innumerable YouTube channels generating simply staggering amounts of (mostly) original content.
Some of it is rubbish. Much of it is ok. A significant amount of it is truly special.
And you should pay attention to it. Now, let it be said clearly that I am not someone who looks always to the Future, crying out that the Past is dead, that traditional television is to be tossed sobbing into the streets, and that we ought to hoist streaming services such as YouTube on to our shoulders and go parading out into a Brighter Day beneath oh so much bluer skies. I think there is still a place for television. And cable. I just think that services like YouTube are the Future.
Strike that. YouTube is the Present. You should pay attention to your present!
What are you interested in? Odds are, there are already three YouTube channels making stuff about that very interest of yours. One of them might even be your new favorite.
You should subscribe to that channel. That way, new videos from that channel are placed into your subscription feed whenever you are on YouTube.
Feeds! Channels! Uploads! To think there was a time when these words meant other things, or where simply nonsensical! What a magical world this is.
A brief caveat before I start recommending channels that I enjoy.
If you are aware of YouTube, but are not numbered among its actual hordes of in-the-know fans, chances are you have noticed a recent uptick in articles decrying YouTube for various scandals involving advertisers and content creators and various problems with both.
I am not going to go into all the details of those matters here. (If you already know details, and want to know my views on them, please comment below.) All I will say, is that 1.3 billion people now use YouTube. Every minute 300 hours of new video content is uploaded. Each day, people watch 5 billion videos on the site. The good people of Google - I give them the benefit of the doubt - are doing their best against inhumanly impossible odds. Obviously, with those kind of numbers, sometimes things will not go as you would wish. My point is, mostly things do go remarkably well for this company that uploaded its first piece of video just 13 years ago.
Let’s take the long view, people. Proper perspective!
But, let’s not stray from the main thread of this post, frayed though that thread may be.
Time for some recommended channels which will appeal to the broadest possible spectrum of my audience. This week, I am actually going to embed links. These are a few channels I thoroughly enjoy and that I recommend. The links will click you through to the channel homepage, which you may then browse at your leisure.
(If any creator listed here does not wish to have their video linked through my site, simply let me know, and I will remove the offending link. To my mind, this is simply free advertising for you, but I respect other views; what is more, I respect your work. Keep making stuff!)
Bad Lip Reading
I would be surprised if you haven’t already seen one of this channel’s awesome videos already. They float around the internet like Dickensian ghosts of good cheer, brightening our days with weirdly specific humor.
The gist is, they overdub videos with the wrong words, but no one - NO ONE - has ever done this trick better.
Cowboy Kent Rollins
A thoroughly legit chuckwagon cook, Kent is completely Western and all around hilarious. And the recipes I have made of his are delicious. Cook them sparingly, though. They are tabulated for the dietary requirements of hardworking people out on the range. Most of us sit for a living these days - but in a chair, not a saddle.
Ignore the terrible iMovie camera work and the frequently bad sound design. I just love the authenticity of Cowboy Kent Rollins the walking cartoon character.
This bizarre channel features an (Australian?) man who seems to spend half his time in the jungle working out how primitive technologies functioned practically. He films himself, then mercifully edits the footage together, thereby sparing us all hours of backbreaking labor. Curious about mud bricks, grass huts, bows made of tree bark, or axes made of stone?
Wonder no longer. Know.
This channel is made up of quick, clever video essays created by a professor, CGP Grey. Hear him hold court on a large number of topics, which he has helpfully illustrated with the use of stick figures. These sound boring, and they simply aren’t. They cover many topics which you never realized you wanted to know about. Highlights include geography and history.
Just check it out. It is difficult to do it justice.
Binging With Babish
This is a cooking show brought to you by a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who each week cooks foods famously mentioned in movies or tv shows. The more ridiculous the food, the more fun it is.
The production quality on this one is fairly high. And, the man is quietly hilarious to boot. Excellent use of voice over.
Yoga with Adriene
Let’s end with a simple sell. It is late, and I am tired. If you, like me, are on your feet a lot at work, your back is no doubt killing you, just like mine is. Which, of course, means you should be doing more yoga.
But who has the time? Or the extra moolah?
Meet Adriene. She is a certified yoga instructor who has found the time to create dozens and dozens of original yoga sequences of various lengths which you can watch on YouTube for free. New to yoga? There are videos. Been doing yoga for decades? There are videos.
She is also quite funny in a dry, self-deprecating way, which I appreciate. Yoga is a fairly ridiculous thing, but it is still quite helpful.
Do yoga. Feel better. And don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
Back next week.
(All YouTube statistics listed herein were sourced HERE.)
DISCLAIMER: I have thoroughly reviewed the legal stipulations of using the YouTube logo on the site’s Brand Resources page, but if my use of it in the above blog header violates fair use, simply let me know and I will happily remove it. I am simply a huge fan of the site, and I would love more people to recognize its true potential.