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Uploaded:2013-05-04
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Just some thoughts on the process of signing up for a YouTube account...as I sign up for a new YouTube account for a potential new project:

http://www.youtube.com/vidthoughts
Hello and welcome to a new and special edition of Hank Green observes and is informed by and curious about YouTube. That's, uh, basically one of my primary jobs. So I've just created a new Google account, which I haven't done in a long time, and now I'm going to turn that Google account into a YouTube account, because I wanna know what it's like to be a first time new YouTube user. So I wanna see what that experience is like so that I can understand when people are signing up, and they're just becoming fans of Vlogbrothers or something, what they might be doing. So I don't remember what - I think that this was that password - so, hopefully this will work.

So I have just signed up for YouTube for the first time. Here's what's happening: It says, "Welcome to YouTube, let's get you started. Thanks for signing up! When you subscribe to a channel, its latest videos will appear on your YouTube homepage." At least sometimes they will, anyway. "Click on the categories to help us recommend some channels to get you started. Click next to continue." So I can check out - so here's what I got. I got Smosh, under the comedy with Epic Meal Time, there's a sports thing that I'm not interested in, film & entertainment, JacksGap sits right on the top of that... Uh, over Jimmy Kimmel, of course, uh, Justin Bieber under music, automotive... science and education! Hannah Minx? I'll click on that to see what happens. So there's that, and I click on that, and I'll... do news & politics, where apparently they want me to subscribe to an Arabic language channel... Timothy DeLaGhetto and Elle Fowler. These are just obviously... if I wanted to subscribe to Timothy DeLaGhetto, I would also want to subscribe to Elle. (Sarcastically) That makes perfect sense.

How-to & DIY..., um, beauty & fashion, um, okay, cute girls' hairstyles. I mean, I told this thing that I was a man. And that I'm thirty two years old. So I would have assumed that they would have taken that into account but apparently not! So now we have we've signed up and I've clicked on some things to add to my subscription box and now I'm going next and it's like oh, 'cause now I get to pick individually. Also, it's rec-recommending, uh, some channels... that are not channels. It's recommending the YouTube spotlight channel, and the news worldwide channel, and gaming and movies and TV shows. It's recommending channels from ''the best of YouTube", so best Minecraft channel. Best Minecraft videos: Sky does Minecraft. We also have channels... channels from the best of YouTube, is topic focused except for comedy central, movie trailers, become a bro- oh, PewDiePie, and Sky does Minecraft. So that's... wow. That can't be a bad deal for PewDiePie and Sky. I... not that, again, I begrudge those guys anything, because they're very talented and I like their content. Um, but I have, I have Minecraft and Minecraft and PewDiePie, here, and they're just automatically when you log in and sign up for YouTube it just... sticks that into your feed. So that's interesting! Fascinating.

You know, I kinda wanna go back, but I don't think I can. Can I go back? "You're almost done!" It's saying to me. Uh... can I go back? I wanna go back, I wanna - I wanna know more. But, I mean, so I'm looking at these things and it's not - like I'm not seeing a strong focus on any of the YouTube original programming, which is nice, 'cause it means they're not waving that stuff extra. Uh, I think... as far as I can tell... I wanna go back now and think about that while I'm looking at it. But I can't. I can't do that. So I'm just gonna leave the - the defaults and click next!

And then... there's my subscriptions! Now I can click on Gaming! Just the best gaming videos; we have CaptainSparklez, RoosterTeeth, le - just the LetsPlay channel which is a new... and we've got Toby... yeah... so yeah, no- no- no- yeah Yogscast, like nothing you wouldn't be surprised to see in here.

And then over here we have other subscribed channels. So this knows nothing about me, except presumably that I'm a 32 year old man. So it's giving me Mike Chang, it's giving me CrossFit, Ultimate Fighting, SeaNanners, Yogscast, Barack Obama, Lil Wayne, Dubstep, Pop Music, and the Young Turks, or the Young Generation I guess is a Young Turks spin-off. 

"See All!" What happens if I click "See all?" It's just everything that's reco to me- recommended to me: Pop Music, Yogscast, - get deep down in here and we've got, I just, I, I'm very curious as to how these things are, are uh-, are, are selected. The one thing that I've noticed here is that my uh, my, my name here is my email address. Now I wanna, what of my YouTube channel? Where is my YouTube..."My Channel!" What is the- Oh! I haven't created a channel yet! "How I'll Appear". So this is now me creating a channel! So I have a YouTube account right now but I don't have a YouTube channel. Before that was just the same thing, this is things I need to know!

So yeah my name is "Hank" "Green" But! I don't want that to be my channel name! I want my channel name to be -hopefully this'll be available- VidThoghts. Is it available? It is! So I- This is part of me setting up a new channel and, uh, and sort of sneakily announcing it. So I'm creating the VidThoughts channel right now, it is being created. It is created and- Ah! You're loud! Oh god, sorry everybody.

Related channels! So there are channels that are related to me - including Smosh, Ray William Johnson, Jenna Marbles, nigahiga, Rihanna and Machinima. It is nice actually to see those people being promoted because those, aside from Rihanna and sort-of Machinima, are all independent creators.

Was very interesting to me because, uh, you see how the people are being, how like people are being introduced to the way YouTube works and now you've logged in and, now, e- there was a time when Twitter would do this, when every time someone would sign up for Twitter they would get a list of people they might want to subscribe to and now that's being done with YouTube and so now your sort of, sort of pushed into the idea of subscribing to something and you might subscribe to some things that you have... no idea what they are and you're sort of asked to. You're like: "Ok, you want comedy?! Here's some comedy." "You like, you like education?! Here's Hannah Har- Hannah Minx." Like, that's weird. Um, and you click on one thing and it gives you three channels, uh, and so, so in general I've been feeling lately like the entire idea of YouTube subscriptions is being devalued because it's asking you to subscribe much more frequently, it's giving you like a lot of pushes to subscribe to new channels and new content, and especially as a new, uh, a new, a newcomer to YouTube you would be introduced to the idea of YouTube and never have the opportunity, um, you know you've created your account and the first thing that happens is you are basically by default -not quite but you have to uncheck a lot of, uh, checks to not be- you are basically by default given a huge number of, uh, yeah of, of, of, sub- of subscriptions that you might not even know what those things are, you might not be interested in those things and that's something that's interesting because I imagine SciShow shows up in that a lot because we get a lot of subscribers but our viewership doesn't increase that much. So there are these new YouTube accounts that might- that, that are experiencing YouTube in a very different way and feel very differently about YouTube and as they're signing up they subscribe to these things and they're not that interested in it, they just- they don't know what SciShow is, they're subscribing because it's suggested to them. They're subscribing because it would take an action to not subscribe to them and that's pretty intense, right? That's a pretty, you know, significant change to how YouTube used to work which was you started out with no subscriptions, you found something you really like and that you really resonated with you and then you subscribed to that thing, and make that thing something that's important to you. And as we've all seen, uh, as the die-hard users when we're looking at the "What to Watch" versus "My Subscriptions" we've all felt a little bit of a, you know, frustration when it comes to, you know, the, the, the devaluation of subscriptions in our feeds, uh, because we think of that as a very significant, uh, significant thing, like we care a lot about the things we subscribe to and subscription is a significant act whereas it seems like in the future it may not be, it may be a much more, uh, much more, sort of default thing, a much less significant- more of like a data point among many other data points when it comes to what YouTube is going to choose to put in your feed. 

Now I think since that first initial thing happened, I have seen a significant number of, you know, improvements, where I am seeing more of my, my stuff in the "What to Watch" feed versus the "My Subscriptions" feed.

I worry about the devaluation of subscriptions because I think that subscriptions are obviously very important and I care about them a lot and watching the numbers go up on the subscription feeds without watching the viewership go up is concerning, uh, because it feels like the channel is shrinking despite growing and obviously viewership and engagement is much more important than the subscription number because the subscription number used to be, it used to mean a lot more I feel like. It used to mean more. And now there all of these one- more- million subscriber channels and of course Vlogbrothers has benefited from that and we are now a million subscriber channel but, um, I feel like that doesn't, it doesn't mean as much and not just because the people who used to subscribe maybe don't watch any more - so, you know, of the people in our first 100,000 subscribers we probably only have 10% or less of those people actually still watching. But also because the new people who are subscribing aren't actually watching, don't realize the significance of what a subscription is, don't feel that, and so they get this feed that's based on, you know, some defaults that YouTube suggested to them the first day that they signed up, um, and that's very interesting; the entire, uh, YouTube situation is very interesting. I feel like maybe the, uh, the days of the, of the growth in the YouTube power user community are, you know, not, not over but I think that that, that kind of thing is, is slowing down whereas the more uh... you know the more superficial, surface-level YouTube interest is going to continue to grow.

Um, and I think that's probably, in the end what YouTube itself is more interested in which is a shame because it is certainly not what I am more interested in. But, of course, the base of people who can be casual, uh, casual, you know, viewers of YouTube content is much larger than the base of people who want to be die-hard, very interested viewers of YouTube content. So we are going to end up in a world where there's a lot more of, of, that and where YouTube is trying to grow into that community, into the more casual viewer community because that is where the growth is and so I understand from a business perspective why that's interesting to them but from my perspective as a creator and from my perspective as the owner of VidCon and DFTBA Records and, um, you know, and as a die hard fan of a lot of YouTube channels, obviously I'm much more interested in the, uh, the, the thing that YouTube doesn't seem to be tailoring itself to at the moment.

And that's, you know, I'm not angry about any of this. I understand all the different perspectives here but it is very interesting and it is something that, you know, that we are going to have to consider and, and uh, and, and, you know, have that be a part of our- how we think about YouTube in the future.

So thank you for listening to this, uh, if you are at all interested in this sort of thing you should go to youtube.com/vidthoughts; the channel that I just created to do this very kind of thing, discuss all sorts of online video, um, things, all sorts of online video, uh, strategies, um, news, new features, new things happening in the community and, uh, and also, uh, how to try and make a go of it actually creating YouTube videos somewhat professionally, which is something that we'll be talking about, I believe on this channel. Me and probably, hopefully, other people.
So that you for listening, uh, and, um, I have no, no catchy sign off for this channel yet, so goodbye.