Thursday, July 22, 2010

A YouTube Tell-All

John Marine | 7/22/2010 04:56:00 PM | |
In somewhat tell-all fashion, I will explain to an extent about myself on YouTube in recent times. "Making the most of what little I have" has been my mantra. And that's what I am- cheap and low-key. Despite this, however, I have garnered the loving respect of over 300+ subscribers and 300+ friends the world over. So is the mission of JohnMarineTube, my YouTube channel.

Allow me to begin...

--- A Brief Overview ---
I think YouTube, more than anything else, is about expressing yourself through the medium of online videos. You do not have to be a superstar or Internet celebrity to be big on YouTube. Not everyone is going to get subscribers by the thousands. People become successful on YouTube because their video touches people in certain ways. What I think the problem is is that you HAVE to make something even remotely close to or better than what YouTube heavyweights would make. My methods just seem too conventional and boring. I was never given much in opportunity or attention. And as a result, I am slow in making significant success. I question my success when I feel I didn't do that good of a job at something.

--- My One Moment of Relevance ---
Even if at the expense of getting more haters than actual real viewers, I became relevant for real in September 2009 when I made a video about KanYe West dissing Taylor Swift. I made my own video commentary doing most of my videos the way I normally do, and it paid off. My views for the video skyrocketed, and I felt like I was well on my way to finally being relevant. But here's what happened since- I think it got to 76 views after one hour, then went to 4K views in a day or two... then almost stagnated. I wouldn't get to 5K views for my video until just last month or earlier this month. All the while, I had checked to see if my video got any honors from YouTube. There were other videos that got 4,000 or 5,000 views in one day or in a week... and my video was NOT one of them!

That's why I don't rely on current event videos because I want to make material that I think will really be worth watching again and again. I sometimes see current events as a way to get views, but the long-term success of them don't usually last unless you make something truly of great quality. One of the most-commented videos of all-time had to do with

--- How Come I Am Not as Successful as I Deem Successful? ---
Here is an honest answer from me- because I'm not interesting or intriguing enough. If I had a lot of talent or became better accepted by people, I would be in a much better place than I am now. I have been responded to as being boring. My defense is that if I had the kind of talent that makes most other YouTube channels and videos successful, don't you think I would have such better success?

There are two personal reasons why I don't think my channel and videos aren't as great as they could be. One of them is just that I'm not viral material. I take my work too seriously because I consider myself professional when posting material online. It wouldn't do me any good to post anything out of randomness. People want to see something that is so cool that it's shared among family and friends. I've only fulfilled this end of the bargain only a few times. I've seen people on YouTube (such as "sxephil") who speak in front of the camera, have high-voltage personality, and get a hell of a lot more views than me. Many of the established YouTube channels have been around for at least two or three years.

The other personal reason (and I don't want to offend anyone)? I'm not in a glamourous city. A lot of online personalities are either in the New York City area, almost any coastal city in California, or (more importantly) the Los Angeles area. These are places more people care about in the US than my hometown of Houston. Of course, many people just see Houston as a dirty city with no soul or glamour. I'd say we're a character city. Just because I'm not living in the Los Angeles area within reach of many celebrities doesn't mean I can't be significant. Being on YouTube, to me, means being the best at what you do regardless of where you come from. You may be from another city and live in a more glamourous one, but I am not going to leave Houston for Los Angeles (or someplace else) just to become more noticed. Houston will always be the city I will celebrate and honor wherever in the universe I go whether you like Houston or not. I don't have to be in some extremely appealing city just to be noticed and to be a star.

So that's why I think I'm not as successful as I could be on YouTube. Having a camcorder or engaging personality isn't the answer- I'm just not viral video material or glamourous material. Do I want to be viral video material? In my view, I don't really care if I am viral material because I want to be famous on the grounds of making great discussions on topics. Countless others have done well speaking on camera about things. Why haven't I prospered?

--- Some Admittances; Double Standards? ---
I guess a moment where I began to question my status on YouTube was when I saw a video "communitychannel" did about the Google Maps street view man. What I began to question was that if I did a video like that (it's a great video she did, as are many of Natalie's others), it would get nowhere near the views that I would have gotten if I made a similar video. I have respect for other YouTube channels, so I would never make any kind of disrespectful video or something regarding a certain channel. I am just another nobody on YouTube's 1,000,000,000+ member list.

It was a moment like this that made me question ever becoming any kind of significant success on YouTube. For most of my life, I have always been the proverbial bridesmaid. I've watched other people become successful and relevant while I just remain stagnant and just mope along in life. I aspire to success, but have yet to really feel successful in my work. You can prepare and dream all you want, but it all comes down to making dreams reality. No one person can ever become a success if one isn't committed and work towards success. Fact is- I'm not a heavyweight on YouTube. I am not that big of a deal. I am only going to be as relevant as people see fit. I am going to watch other people feel relevant and successful while I wake up and go to sleep knowing I've become a failure. I have the personality and ambition and desire to be at least completely relevant. Thing is, my vision (which isn't a massive vision) and reality are a total mismatch.

Maybe what makes me upset is that through my old-fashioned style and methods, I could only achieve only so much. Maybe I think that you don't need to make any intensely funny and unreal videos to be a hit. And what if I did make a video that makes me relevant again (meaning, a video that gets to 4,000+ views in a day or two)? I guess someone who takes his/her work on a serious tone is nothing compared to someone who posts a video of him/her and his/her friends acting stupid... and gets 100,000+ views in a few days or a week. Also, I would never lower myself to posting a controversial video just to get views. When I think controversial, I think of certain videos of illegal acts posted online, like a fight at school, for example. One example of trying to get famous with an offensive video was when two girls at a high school in Ohio (I think in Akron or Cleveland) a few years ago wanted to become famous online by filming a fight in the girls' locker room.

I would never lower myself just to get famous. If I want to be famous, I want to be famous for being myself and expressing myself the way I want to. Something I believe in is in being yourself online as you are offline. There is somewhat a questionable link when you post something on the Internet that you lie about and don't be geniune about. Chances are, with the exception of some of my friends, I may never get to meet everyone who loves my videos. So in case I never get to meet the people in person who love my material, I exhibit myself in a respectful way so that if you WERE to meet me, you'd see that I am the same person with the same personality even without recording myself in a video. I don't consider myself overly popular or funny, so I don't waste my time trying to become seriously funny. Why would I try this hard to be somebody that I am not? I just act myself... at the expense of dwindling view and subscriber counts. But at least, I show how real I am. Real means real to me, rather than being brash and boastful.

--- Casually Professional and Independent ---
If I come up with a video that I don't think will generate any great ratings or get a lot of views, I wouldn't attempt it. That's why I canceled my video project on the 2010 Houston Auto Show and why I ditched a video idea to talk about Gran Turismo 5 at E3 2010. How can anyone else be happy with my videos if I'm not happy with my performance? I am my own director, editor, and evaluator. I have a professional attitude while being very casual. This is why I say I am casually professional- had I been part of some film company and make a lackluster effort in a video, I'd be fired. That's why I've chosen to be independent in my work. Because I just don't know what I want to devote the rest of my life to with a Bachelor's Degree, I have stuck with YouTube and blogging. Blogging and YouTube are basically my life and my only real form of relevance in this world. Most people my age have been or are becoming successful. Myself? I'm basically a guy in his house making videos and posting blog entries (like this one).

Being my own person, I think only I can make my material work. I have never been a great school student, so I've chosen online media to be my only arena of relevance and respect. Not a good long-term decision, but I need to do SOMETHING to become relevant. Otherwise, why even put myself on the Internet?

--- YouTube Studies I've Done ---
I actually wanted to make a blog entry some time December 17, 2009 or so when I wanted to do a study on popular YouTube channels. Earlier this year, I did my own experiment as to WHY certain popular channels are so popular. This was to see what they had to offer as opposed to what I was offering for my videos and channel. One thing I have realized is that no one formula works for every channel. Everything comes down to what you provide for your own channel and for your own audience.

One of the studies I've done on December 17, 2009 was a meditative look at many of the really popular YouTube channels have been around since 2006. Some have been around since 2007. Maybe a key to me was that I looked at Partner channels on YouTube. Those are the ones who get paid for their work. Maybe the most surprising YouTube heavyweight to me was Nalts. I don't know... I consider Nalts to be a big deal, but he doesn't have tons of subscribers or a lot of highly-watched videos.

Another study concerned actually WHAT made certain YouTube channels so good. I actually seen some of their most recent (at the time) videos. Also, I checked out some of their very first videos. The thing I discovered is that so many of these channels and their topics are SO far off-base of what I try to do. It may make my material boring, but at least I'm happy with my work the way I do it. Just to show you that I tried to look at some of the bigger channels, here were channels that I looked up in my own field study back on December 17, 2009:

* VenetianPrincess
* WasteTimeChasingCars
* sxephil
* Nalts
* nigahiga
* lisanova
* hotforwords
* HappySlip
* Fred
* communitychannel
* kevjumba
* smosh
* NDTitanLady
* ShaneDawsonTV
* ijustine
* RayWilliamJohnson
* TimothyDeLaGhetto2

A lot of these channels are very talented and make great videos. However, many of them and their videos are too far off-base as to what I try to bring to my own videos. So the best course of action is to just do what you do and not be so concerned with what other people do. Still, it feels bad that I can not aspire to any level of success that most of the channels I've listed above have had.

This is why I've recently decided to stop trying to achieve greatness. The average YouTube watcher cares too much on major channels and hates any lower channel that doesn't meet the standards set by YouTube heavyweights. Not as many people look for diamonds in the rough and those who don't have a whole lot to make quality videos with. I didn't get my own camcorder until back in January. I've used THREE different webcams in recording myself. I really begin to question why I am even trying to become seriously relevant on YouTube. Fact is, I've never become fully relevant in almost ANYTHING. I was always the bridesmaid- NEVER the bride. I was never seriously popular among friends, never seen as a big deal... this has been the life I've lived among peers. I keep trying to pursue success because I have such a big heart and loads of hope in all that I do. But really, I can only be as successful as I eventually become.

To everyone who has given me and JohnMarineTube a chance, thanks so much! You all are my great fans. Most of you know I'm not one of the greatest YouTube channels, but I am great to you. And for this, I am most certainly thankful. That concludes this blog/rant. Keep supporting my material!
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