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Uploaded:2018-07-03
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In which John ponders the end of vlogbrothers and of YouTube, while also making a small request.
The survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8VNH8MX
Molly Lewis's brilliant song "My Hope:" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avxpn_MsPYs

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Good morning, Hank.

It's Tuesday. I'm currently on vacation in the house behind me, but that house is full of screaming children, so I am filming in the vast expanse known as "outside." I recommend "outside," although there is no climate control, which is a little annoying.

And, because I've been on vacation, I've had three entire days away from the Internet, which has left me wondering: how does this end? Like, there's this great Molly Louis song from maybe-ten years ago in which the chorus goes: "I hope that you forget about your MySpace; I hope it slips completely from your mind, and I hope it stays up long enough for the next generation to find." And that song has proved kind of stunningly prophetic, so much so that I suspect a number of young people watching this either won't know what MySpace is or else only have a vague notion of it as a precursor to Facebook. And, yet, my MySpace is still there, a minor museum to my 2007 self, complete with a profile pic advertising the forthcoming publication of Paper Towns.

So, is that how things end on the Internet? Still sort of present, but relevant only as nostalgia? And will that happen to one or more of the social media du jour, to Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube?

Like, YouTube has survived and thrived through many difficult times in the past. The sub feed has always been broken' the new design has always been vile; the relationship between creators and the platform has always been fraught. And I don't think YouTube is about to MySpace, but then again, one never sees the future coming.

Philip Roth called history "the relentless unforeseen," and that's true of so much of life. We don't know how it's going to end, or for that matter, how it's going to middle. I think YouTube faces big problems; I think it's too heavily reliant on flawed algorithms, and I think its monetization system often values advertisers over audience, but I also think that YouTube is amazing, and that there's more good stuff uploaded than ever.

Of course, my real concern is not how YouTube ends, it's how our YouTube ends. Some day, this YouTube channel won't be here, just as we won't be here, and lately, I've been wondering when you want to say goodbye online, and how to do so, none of which is to say that I'm unhappy or want to stop making Vlogbrothers videos, because I don't, I just don't want to be making YouTube videos when I'm 80. Well, or maybe I do.

Like, if you told me in 2007 that 40-year-old me would still be making YouTube videos, I would be both incredulous and horrified. "How," I would wonder, "could I possibly subject an audience to my hideous, 40-year old face?" And yet here I am, so grateful for the 11-and-a-half years of conversation I've been able to have here, and I hope it long continues, but when it does end, I hope it ends well. Hank, you recently pointed out to me that if Vlogbrothers were a TV show, we would be in our twelfth season, which is a very long run on television, and also a fairly long run for YouTube channels. As time passes, even good shows become less broadly relevant and less central to the overall cultural discourse, and more targeted to a smaller–but deeply engaged–audience, and I feel like that happened with Vlogbrothers, and it's been really good news for us.

Like, these days, the people who watch our videos want to be here; they aren't pushed here by the Trending page or whatever. They're here because they're nerdfighters. That is what makes it fun for me.

So, in thinking about how this YouTube channel will end, I'm mostly thinking about how to keep the conversation entertaining and fun, both for ourselves and for our audience. To that end, I have both a question and a request. The question is: what do you get out of Vlogbrothers' videos?

Like, what makes this a meaningful experience for you, and what makes your time with us and other nerdfighters valuable, and what should we be looking to change or not change? I guess that's not just one question; I have a few questions. The request is, uh, well, I've been working for this company for twelve years and I would like three weeks of unpunished vacation per year.

I'm not going to use it right now, or all at once, but yeah. I would really benefit from three weeks of vacation per year. That's it!

That's why I made the whole video, was so that I could ask my employer for three weeks of unpunished vacation. There is a survey in the doobly-doo below; I will abide by its results. I'm going to go back to vacation now.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.