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Meta point: I think that this channel illustrates well the transition from personal blogs to youtube videos.

If you go to his projects blog, https://shane.engineer/ you could see very detailed blog posts in the past that go deeply into the engineering, including code snippets. However, he only really go traction when starting to publish youtube videos, specifically youtube video with a clickbait subject (such as a self aiming basketball hoop).

What YouTube provides is a highly competitive environment that provides creators with constant feedback. This allowed him to identify and his niche as he uploaded more videos. With YouTube, the exposure these projects receive is orders of magnitude higher, while empowering its creators to be self sustainable with ads (and sponsors, patreon, and merch) revenue.

At the end of the day, I think it's a positive change, as it allows more people to create high quality content independently, and in a rewarding way (vs volunteering).

Thank you for sharing the link. I prefer to read blogs.

The key issue here is discoverability. We used to have search engines, but with SEO tricks and Google wanting to prop its platforms higher, that doesn't seem to work anymore.

Then, there is the matter of following the blog for updates. Not everyone knows what a RSS feed is. Heck, I wanted to subscribe, but there's no meta tag, nothing in the footer or about page that gives a link to an RSS feed. I even looked at the HTML, hoping to know which blog engine this was running, then looked for its common RSS feed URLs [1], but that didn't work.

I don't disagree with your other points, but If I ran a blog, I would do it for myself and my readers, not as a billboard for advertisers to show them ads.

[1]: https://github.com/getgrav/grav-plugin-feed

The key issue here is discoverability...

Yet here we are discovering it, specifically because he made the video

That is the point - youtube makes him a lot more popular not because it's inherently better, but because there is better discoverability on youtube than on blogs.

ah, I misread read that :) thanks

Medium exists...

> specifically youtube video with a clickbait subject (such as a self aiming basketball hoop)

How can the subject of a video be clickbait? The essence of clickbait is that an interesting title tricks you into clicking on uninteresting content. If the content is as interesting as the title, then it's not clickbait, you're just making something people want to watch.

That seems a particularly odd use of the term given that, as you say, the title is mostly descriptive.

However, more broadly some people seem to use the term for anything that isn't just blandly descriptive. Headline writers have been pulling out interesting facts or making clever puns or whatever device to persuade people to read stories since before there were clicks. The average headline in The Economist probably qualifies as clickbait if cleverness is off the table.

Agree that I used the wrong term, especially given the negative connotation. The point is that he is now limiting himself to topics that would appeal to the mass audience and solicit a click. If you look at earlier videos in the channel, the diversity of topics is more varied and not necessarily popular subjects.

With that said I think that this is good, it allows Shane to reach a larger audience, and has definitely increased the scope and frequency of projects, which seem like passion projects and fun.

The subject can be clickbait if the quality of the content doesn't live up to your expectations.

E.g. you expected an engineering approach to building a self aiming basketball hoop but the video turned out to be showing only a lame and failed attempt at such by a high school student trying to milk their YouTube channel.

Because it's a lie. He didn't make such a robot.

I found it uninteresting especially thinking you could get your hair cut from a robot.

I think there is a gap between people who have never programmed with electricity and Engineers. If you have never controlled a motor, this is future tech.

If you are a design engineer, this simply doesn't work.

I think youtube has some amazing content and creators, but at least for the kind I like I almost never discover them trough youtube itself but only via external means such as discussion forums, friends, etc.

Scrolling trough the home page or even video sidebar, altough heavily personalized, doesn't feel that much different than apathicly zapping trough tv stations in the past. Sure, YT gets the topics mostly correct, but the results are so heavily skewed towards shallow infotainment that is easily consumable and advertiser friendly, that it has become completly useless to me.

I guess it depends on your goal:

If you want to reach a large audience, you need a platform with a large audience. If you want to just publish something for the sake of archiving it, you don't need a large platform.

It's a bit of a tautology.

Shane wants to be a creator, so he needs to play in that competitive space. Which I guess is part of what being a self-sustaining creator is all about.

I have no evidence to back this up, but it seems to me that trying to make a living as a creator is akin to become a rockstar: far less likely than just putting the effort in to get a job in engineering.

EDIT: After scanning his blog, he has tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, or more. (Yes, I am jealous, but that is besides the point.) Perhaps money isn't a problem for him, but I don't know if this is BECAUSE he is a successful maker/creater, or in spite of it. Some catch-22 there.

It sucks for people aren’t videogenic though.

There are tons of DIY video that didn't really feature the person's face, or isn't really necessary.

Binging with Babish didn't even show his face until he was popular: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHA_jMfCvEnv-3kRjTCQXw

He basically popularized a whole genre of "here are my rolled-up sleeved forearms doing things" video framing.

He has some really nice looking forearms though.

Voice quality, speaking mannerisms, etc. are extremely critical. Probably more so that visual. It's a major boon having a charismatic personality whether you look good or not.

A video with just poor sound quality (bad mics, noise) but otherwise excellent is nearly unwatchable. Same with a nasally, monotone, dry and boring speaker.

Right. For example, the lockpicking lawyer has millions of views. I have not seen every video, but the ones I've seen do not feature any faces, just lockpicking.

I think voice is more problematic. There are a bunch of channel that I would love content wise, but that I find straining to watch for more than a few minutes because of the audio/acoustic quality or their voices and dialects/accents. The latter, not to be mean and it is not the peoples fault, but not everyone has a voice that is pleasant to everyone else to listen to for extended periods of time.

or for people not wanting to watch videos. if a video is a supplemental part of a well written blog, then so be it. however, the video tends to be replacing the well written blog while leaving out the finer details the blog once provided.

I think it's a combination of a lot of people are more biased towards watching a video than reading compared to some of us AND the fact the a lot of people find it a lot easier to narrate a video than it is to write a decent blog post especially if they also have to add photos etc.

I have a theory that half the population struggles with reading. They can read to get by but they find reading an article or blog post to be a struggle and certainly not entertaining.

Even if that's an exaggeration, I think there are lots of people who would much rather watch a video than read more than a paragraph or so.

Have you SEEN ElectroBoom and his monobrow?


I'm looking forward to the day when I can walk, unplucked, down the US streets and not get funny looks due to remnants of my middle-eastern heritage!


As a huge ElectroBoom fan I’ve got to say the monobrow is actually part of the charm.

CGP Grey.

I was thinking that in one way podcasts and videos are better than blogs. You have to put more effort in stealing audio/video content, with blog you can wget all stuff and automatically shove it in some link farm. Even if someone stills your blog by translating it, I assume it would take not as much effort as making video or podcast from start. That said I have seen screen readers on youtube that steal news content from smaller news sites, slapping some photos from article. Text stuff can be automated quite quick, maybe with deep fakes on video it will be soon possible to steal video content as well. But I assume it is still quite harder.

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