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Attend The Anthropocene Reviewed book tour: https://www.johngreenbooks.com/appearances
In which John looks at fourteen years of vlogbrothers history while considering what exactly constitutes a successful YouTube video. Alexandre Daley's vlogbrothers analytics: https://alexandredaly.com/vlog-brothers-analytics/

Playlist of every new book reading since Paper Towns way back in 2008: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e8yczf-oBY&list=PLMs_JcuNozJb17VNiEkCNx7PENmCTaVKD



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Good morning Hank it's Tuesday, The Anthropocene Reviewed book comes out 2 weeks from tomorrow and I am a vast collection of exposed nerve endings.

Today's video comes to you in 3 parts, part 1 what the most and least viewed vlogbrothers videos say about YouTube and about us. So Alexander Daily recently published an analysis of vlogbrothers views by year as well as our most and least viewed video of every year since 2007.

A few things stand out here, first there was this huge surge of views in 2013 and especially in 2014 as the success of The Fault in Our Stars meant that Nerdfighteria drifted closer to broader pop-culture, that was weird. And this also affected the views from 2007-2012 because lots of people went back and watched those videos. And you can also sort of see the moment when in late 2017 after an algorithm update our videos stopped appearing on the trending page.

At the time I was really worried this would destroy the community because it meant fewer new people discovering our videos but in fact, at least from my perspective, the opposite happened. I think the community actually became much stronger, partly because being off the trending page made the comments section vastly more pleasant, and partly because all these Nerdfighter groups have emerged around that same time like Tuataria and other discord communities. And that brings us to the real weirdness on display here, I am heavily conditioned to think of more views as being good and fewer views as being bad, but here our least viewed videos tend to be much more important than our most viewed videos.

Now that wasn't always the case, like in 2007 our most viewed video "Accio Deathly Hallows" was probably also our most important of that year because it brought thousands of new people into Nerdfighteria, many of whom had experience building online communities and developing productive fandoms. Like, we didn't really invent Nerdfighteria, they did, and without Accio Deathly Hallows I don't think vlogbrothers would still be a thing. But then once the community got going it changed, like look at our most and least viewed videos of 2010.

Our most viewed video was "Top 10 Animal POWER MOVES" which like, nothing against it as a work of art, but I don't think it changed the world much. Our least viewed video that year was an introduction to a conference we were starting called VidCon, which would go on to become quite important to us as individuals and also to the culture and business of online video. Since 2010, 9 of our 11 least viewed videos have been about the Project for Awesome, which in that time frame has raised over 12 million dollars for charity.

So I would argue that most years our single most unpopular video is also our single most important video. Of course it's almost impossible to quantify impact, that's why we settle for lesser measures like star ratings and views and watch time and so on, but after looking at 15 years of analytics my main conclusion is that we shouldn't worry much about views but we should be extremely worried all the time about the health and productivity of the community. And it turns out that more views, if they lead to toxic comments sections, are bad for community, and shared projects even if they aren't that broadly popular are good for it.

That's why, unless we want a particular video to reach a broad audience we don't upload custom thumbnails or try to optimise metadata or whatever, we do that on other channels, Crash Course for instance, where the priority is trying to reach the most learners, but here the priority is something else, something that's harder to quantify. And I don't know about you but I really love the vlogbrothers community right now and that's the metric that matters the most to me. Part 2, book tour.

I am going on a virtual tour to celebrate the release of The Anthropocene Reviewed book and to support local independent bookstores around the country there's a special guest each night it'll be really fun. We will discuss the anthropocene and the 5 star scale and much else, and also each night together we will create a new review using a writing strategy I developed for the book, links in the doobly-doo to find out more and get tickets. Part 3, speaking of vlogbrothers history a lovely tradition we have been observing around here since 2008 is that whenever either of us has a book come out the author reads the first chapter in a usually over 4 minutes vlogbrothers video, and that tradition will be continuing soon with an animated video of the opening of The Anthropocene Reviewed.

Ok Hank, as it says on my 2021 vision board, DFTBA, thanks for making Accio Deathly Hallows all those years ago, I will see you on Friday.