This is a necessary post but not one I take great pleasure in writing. This is in no way an admonishment of people in the anime blogging community that are making the move to video, nor is it meant to discourage them. It’s also not declaration that one type of content is intrinsically better than the other. However, it’s necessary for me to write in full about my problems with YouTube and why I feel my own content works better as written word.
I’ve been asked often since the inception of my blog about whether I’d be making the jump to YouTube. My inspirations early on were anime YouTubers and thus my answer was always “eventually” and “soon.” However, I felt that YouTube became a truly volatile platform in the past year. The idyllic nature of tapping into a massive user base and– if lucky– turning video-making into a career was once tantalizing to me as it is to many others. But as YouTube began to cut ad revenue, double down on corporate-friendly copyright practices and otherwise ignore the issues content creators took with it, my perspective on it quickly soured. Furthermore, Patreon began implementing policies detrimental to content creators and supporters, diminishing a potential safeguard against the deflating revenue potential of YouTube. No longer did I see it as a career path I wanted to even remotely explore.
Alongside this, my written work is continuing to evolve. I’m constantly exploring new authorial voices, styles and formats. In my best work, I push myself to convey ideas in new ways. What word or phrasing do I use in this sentence to have the most impact? How do I weave a narrative throughout my piece to keep the reader engaged? What’s the reader experience in general? These are the elements I like to think about.
I feel I’m good at this, too. For years I’ve honed my writing chops and Thoughts That Move is my playground to put them to the test. More than any topics I write about, this is what most drives me to keep doing what I do. Meanwhile, my experience with video is virtually zero. I’ve watched way more than my fair share of YouTube so understand editing and delivery techniques, and the only way to learn is to do it yourself, but the question I ask is why cut short the progress I’m making as a text-based writer to jump into a medium I’m not comfortable with? Why stifle the evolution that I’m currently enjoying? Why go from what I’m passionate about to what I’m currently not?
You could say that YouTube is a place to make any sort of money and you’d be correct. I’m very likely not going to make significant if any income off of this blog. You could also say that it’s a place where your audience inevitably expands and you’d also be correct. I’m effectively making myself a relic as the community moves towards video, and with that my numbers will inevitably dwindle. It’s not likely that I ever see the success that I did in the middle of 2017 ever again on this particular venture. Does this cause me some level of consternation? Of course. It is frustrating! And yet, is it worth forcing myself to do something that I’m not at present interested in for the sake of views? My current answer given the state of YouTube and Patreon alongside my own creative ambitions is “no.”
I recently wrote about how I lost my drive to blog near the end of 2017 and while I’ve now gotten it back (this is the third post in three days), I’m sure it won’t last forever if readership dwindles out. As much as I do this for the love of the craft, I also don’t want to be screaming into a void. This isn’t to say I’m going anywhere any time soon; as I said, at the present I’m excited about blogging even if I’m not thrilled with recent traffic. Hopefully I can build things back up by supplying more of the type of content people want while simultaneously fulfilling my own desires. Yet with my optimism comes a heavy dosage of realism. It’s clear that the people I came up with are less interested in written content these days and while I’m definitely a bit disappointed, I don’t hold it against them. But it does mean that I’m likely to be left behind by sticking to my guns.
So, to recap: I’m sticking with text blogging for now because of problems I have with the YouTube platform and my own content creation ambitions. To be clear, this isn’t to say I will never make videos. I certainly have the software and equipment to make a go at it if I so choose. But it’s not something I have any interest in pursuing at the present.
Of course, I hope you’ll stick with my written content since there’s a lot to come. By not needing to edit videos I can theoretically produce at a faster pace. I don’t think you’ll regret keeping me in your WordPress reader, RSS, Twitter feed (okay, you may regret that) or whatever else you use to get your content. I’ll always appreciate your readership. Thank you for taking the time to hear me out and I’ll see you in the next one.