Holy. Crap. I just found an email argument between me and some random internet person about evolution and creationism. Apparently I thought this was important enough to print out and save for TWENTY YEARS!!!
Cannot tell you how many times I’ve been on the phone with Hank and it’s clear he isn’t listening and then I say you’re not listening and then he says, “Hold on someone on the Internet is wrong about something.”
WALL OF TEXT ABOUT ONLINE VIDEO!
Everything about online video is different from television (aside from the fact that lots of images are displayed in sequence in order to create the illusion of movement.)
The way the content is made is different, the mindset of the audience is different, the way social structures and fandoms are built is different, the kind of engagement is different, the barrier to entry is non-existent, the rate of change is at least doubled.
But humans are not good at thinking about things differently. Something new exists and, unless we are very young, we attempt to put it in an existing box…or some combination of existing boxes. Online video looks like television, so let’s create “Networks.” Let’s call the page of each creator a “Channel.” Let’s call the thing they do a “Show.” And the people themselves are “Stars.”
Of course this is what we do…creating new words is a hassle, especially when you’re trying to convince existing structures (like your mom, Hollywood executives, and Madison Avenue) that this thing is legitimate and interesting. So you use those old boxes.
The problem is, the more we use those old boxes, the more everything starts to look like the thing that came before it.
If we call collections of YouTube channels “Networks” everyone thinks about them like they’re Networks (especially in legacy media.) Then eventually creators start thinking about them as “online TV networks” when really, the needs of online video creators are completely different from the needs of TV creators.
Suddenly, online video starts looking more like TV not because it should or anyone wants it to, but just because we lack the collective imagination to think of it differently.
This is an old problem…and not one that can be completely avoided. People aren’t very adaptable. It’s like complaining that it snows in Montana…it’s so expensive to plow the streets, and there are more car accidents, it’s a drain on the economy! But, like, you can’t make it SNOW LESS, that’s ridiculous.
But to some extent (and maybe not a huge extent) you can change social structures and you can change people. Not to match precisely what online video would be in it’s purest state, but to let some of its unique properties shine through. This will happen no matter what, but I think it will happen /more/ if we’re conscious about it…AND if we put people who actually understand it in charge of some of its more influential structures (YouTube, MCNs, Awards Shows.)
But that’s not what we’re doing. For a few years, YouTube has been led by a guy from Hollywood…so has Maker Studios…so has AwesomenessTV. YouTube is now in the hands of a stronger CEO who is at least from the tech world, which has much less in common with online video than TV does.
That might seem like a bad thing, but I don’t think it is. I think coming at new media with fresh eyes is much better than coming at it with pre-defined boxes. Thinking, “Oh, I see, so this is kinda like a channel…but different in a few ways,” gives you a much less accurate picture than thinking, “This is like nothing I’ve ever seen before…what exactly is it?”
I (and probably you) came at online video with entirely fresh eyes. I knew nothing about hollywood structures or the roles that networks or agents or awards or channels played in the creation of media. I knew media existed, but the structures that surrounded them were entirely unknown and opaque to me.
But most people in the online video business did not enter with that innocence, and I think that’s too bad. There are very few people who understand online video solely within the framework of online video in this industry, especially people who have differentiated themselves and gained enough experience to not only /be/ experts, but to be recognized as experts (which are two very different things.)
We’re headed into a world where the people who really get it are getting old enough to differentiate themselves and bring both authenticity and expertise into this industry, but it’s a bit of a battle at the moment…especially because a lot of the bigger companies have already got it into their heads that TV and online video really are very similar.
And if they think that for long enough, my fear is that eventually, it will become true. Not because it is, but simply because we lacked imagination.
So if you’re into this…figure out ways to differentiate yourself as an expert who should be recognized as such…then please, send me your resume.
I LOVE THIS POST edwardspoonhands!!! (bold emph and italics mine) Change the world! Go work for Hank!
I also love it. Go work for Hank. (Or go work for Kenyatta!)
DFTBA’s most important product of all time: The Hannah Hart Carrot Onesie.
Vote for which team you want Hank and John to root for!
The FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow with Brazil vs. Croatia! Follow the link above to vote for the teams you want me to throw my support behind in the upcoming matches. $1 = 1 vote.
(100% of donations will be granted by the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck to the Sarcoma Fund of America.)
Happy Birthday Hank Green!
5th May 1980
Happy Birthday to my amazing brother Hank.
I’m celebrating his birthday with a donation to Partners in Health, but I also got him a present on nerdfighteria’s behalf that he’ll hopefully see later today.
Also Hank’s (truly excellent) album Incongruent comes out Wednesday, so now would be a good day to preorder your signed copy!
Hank is a huge inspiration to me and to many. A lot of cool things have grown out of vlogbrothers over the years, but my favorite will always be a closer relationship with my brother, whom I respect and admire so much.
Sometimes when I’m making a video, I realize that I’m forcing myself to have a unique opinion on a topic when, in fact, it isn’t an honest opinion….it’s just me searching for something interesting to say. That’s OK, I guess, but I’ve been trying not to do it as much.
Sometimes I’m not interesting. I like science fiction books and taking pictures and watching the same TV shows as everyone else. It’s exhausting to try and make every single part of your existence interesting. I hereby give myself permission to be boring.
Come on over. We can be boring together and you can kick my ass at Tony Hawk again.
I am /very/ good at Tony Hawk.
Just reblogging this to note that I am much better than Hank at Tony Hawk and on his wedding day, I had to pretend to be worse than I actually am so that I wouldn’t humiliate him and make him sad on his special day.
Today’s video is very different from usual. One of my favorite things about Vlogbrothers is not having any set format so we can occasionally jump out of our normal boxes and try something completely new.
I really enjoyed making this video, I hope you enjoy watching it.
What a great video. Gosh, Hank is so much better at making videos than I am.
Talking to My Brother
- Hank: Did you know the earth's core would be solid if it weren't for the heat generated by radioactive decay of nuclear isotopes?
- Me: That's kind of beautiful.
- Hank: hahaha
- Me: No, but the idea that decay is what makes life possible is deeply resonant.
- Hank: Well, it isn't decay in the traditional sense.
- Me: Shut up. I'm having a moment.