Youtube is not for me

Sometime ago I talked about planning to leave this and start a vlogging channel, just because it will be easy to just talk to the camera and upload but it is not easy as it sounds. Finally, I decided not to do it because I like writing, not making and editing videos. Its actually a lot difficult and time consuming than 10-20 mins to write these. And what do I want to learn? Editing video and working with cameras and microphones or writing something everyday? At least that was the plan when I started this, but once a week or month is also okay now that I am doing other projects. I wanted to keep track of my mental health and how my thinking process have evolving over the years. Forcing myself to write boring things in a light way, keeps reminding me to take life easy.

I am not against youtube. I think it is far better than watching tv, since most channels are producing more quality content than all of our pakistani tv channels combined. I watch a lot of youtube, I mean I lot. Sometimes I think YT owes me money for watching 10 times more ads than an average viewer does. Most if it is because my hobbies change every few months and youtube is a good platform to learn new things, but its been for to long a time and there are youtubers that a flow who have started to feel like friends, except they don’t know I exist. This is strange, but fun.


Why not?

Everybody is starting a YT channel these days and I can see the temptation. Some do it for the money, some want attention and fame, others think it is easy and want to try. But the truth is that youtube is one of the most unstable jobs around. While making videos while traveling the world or playing games or doing anything you love looks glamorous, it is everything but. YTers spend most of the time editing. You have to post on a regular basis, consistently for infinite amount of time because these days if you stop for a month or more, people will lose interest in you, people have short attention spans and this has been happening to a lot of channels. It is like a job where every upload-day of the week, no matter how your mood is, you have to ‘do your things’ on cue because you are an entertainer. Those who say they YT for the fun of it are not fooling anyone. Enjoyment is when you do something when you want to and not when you have to. If you are doing it for the attention, then you are destroying your personality. Everyone wants attention, its a basic human desire, but it is addictive and its never enough. I already sound like an old man and this is a long post. YTers are celebrities. Anything they do or say can be used against them. The idea of getting famous overnight is seductive when you see so many people go from a few thousand subs to more than a million in a couple of days after their videos goes viral while they were sleeping. This is literally overnight success. But there is a flip side to it to. One controversial act, once bad word or statement or tweet can ruin your career, specially when we are living in a world people get easily offended other’s  behalf and need someone new to criticize everyday. Muslim YTers have lost big brand deals and subs because of an anti-Israel tweet or “Liberate Palestine” FB dp back when they didn’t even started YTbing. God forbid if your funny tweet is perceived as racist or you are attacked by the same community you are trying to support. You can play your life as a saint and still your life can be ruined by a false accusation by an ex holding a grudge or some stranger using you to gaining attention. You will to forced to stay in an abusive personal/work relationship with someone because they are part of your YT brand. For example a comedy duo or a vlogging couple. You have to pretend that life is super okay and fun, because sharing a sad moment is endearing once in a while but if you do it more than once a year, people will leave you, even make fun of you. Then the comment section of YT. It is considered one of the worst and most brutal on the interwebs. It have got a lot better this year but trolls are trolls and most people are doing it just because they think it is funny to be offensive online. The biggest attraction is the money and most people are doing YT as a full time job. But as a job it is very unstable. You can make  lot of money one month and not much in the other. Your video will get demonetized for slightest of issue and YT will one day randomly decide to pay you less for the same amount of views because your videos are not ad-friendly enough. I know views make only 20% of any professional youtuber’s paycheck. Money comes from sponsored videos, brand deals, commission from online businesses for directing your viewers to their sites to buy their stuff. You can get free stuff from brands to test and use in your videos and this is where you make the most money. But no one is going to give you free stuff or sponsorship with a few thousand views. To get to having 100k+ views per video within a year you will have to give it everything. Forget about studies or hobbies because it is your hobby and work now so you will be working more than 8 hours a day writing scripts, shooting and editing videos, planning trips, watching other’s videos and checking charts and stats to see what people are looking for in those days. And you will make less than minimum wage for at least an year. Still, you may not get to 100k subs by the end of the year (But if you are a Pakistani you definitely will, because there are at most 20-30 prominent channels and if you are good, they will notice you.) But what confidence do you have that once you have “made it”, people will not get bored of you even if you keep doing everything right. There is a limit to creativity and sometimes you have to take a break to recharge and find inspirations but YT won’t allow that. Once you take a break, you will have to work extra hard to get back. Rhett and Link have talked about his. For ten years, they have been making videos in advance every time they have to go on a break or collab. A single week (or day in their case) missing from your posting schedule means a few lost subscribers. You can’t be at your best all the time and you can’t be funny and thoughtful whenever your speak. Think of the megastars of YT who ruled the platform 6-10 years ago. How many of them are left? Only a few channels who have giving it everything (like Rhett and Link) have survived. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life and a stable half-boring job will make you more happy in the long run than fame or good money for a few years.

But there is a way to start a youtube channels to test if it is for you, without going though most of these issue. Like every YTer will tell you, dont do it for the money or fame, do it for the fun of it. So start a YT channel if you want to, turn off the likes and comments, do not tell anyone other than a few close friends and do not, do not monetize your videos, then start posting. Be experimental. See if you can keep it up for half a year and still enjoy it. The last thing you want is any of your first 10 or 20 videos to go viral. Let the free-surfers on YT subscribe to you because they know you are not doing it for the money. People like a genuine person these days. These will be your life long fans because they discovered your first. Not many people sub to a channel with one good video. Now go public. Likes, comments, monetize. With 6 months experience and at least 30 videos under your bent, it will be a good thing to go viral or gain some fast traffic because now if the people like one of your videos, they will click on 30 others too, some of which may not be that good but they will still like them because they like you. Congratulation, you are a YTer now. But remember, this was the easy part.

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Weltschmerz

Three weeks ago we had to watch Inside Out for our psychology class. Which I should say is the coolest homework ever, but researching it I came across this one video that makes the point of how compulsive happiness is the reason for increased anxiety and depression in this day and age. As kids we are happy for no reason but I think a part of growing up is realizing that all sorrow is followed by happiness, as the movie suggests but also vice versa. At least this is what I believe. I have developed this fear in the past couple of years that when I am happy, bad things happen. This have led me to constantly try and find a state of balance between the two emotions. When I realized how getting attention from strangers on twitter was making me happy but also a dopamine addict, I quit. I saw how my friends are living “perfect lives” on Facebook and I felt depressed as my life is nothing but a university grind, so I stopped checking my news feed. I already do not watch TV or read newspaper yet universe keeps giving me something to be sad about. Except now I have accepted a little bit of sadness as a part of my daily routine. The Germans word, Weltschmerz better describes this feeling of how the world is cruel and there in no escaping the sorrow. Shoot, this turned out to be more depressing than expected. Please tell me it’s just me.

To leave on a lighter note, I got a question on ask.fm asking if you get stuck on an island with three movie to watch for the rest of your life, which ones will they be? This was a hard one but after much thought I have made my picks:

The Social Network
Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Captain America The Winter Soldier

State of fiction

How can you expect creative minds to emerge from a country with no science fiction or fantasy magazines, no comic books and Spider, the only IT magazines that once was, discontinued two years ago. It’s not that are no people interested in this genera, it’s just more people care about politics so that’s what they get. Not that anyone is bringing a revolution or anything, we just like cursing and blaming others to no end. People are just as politically illiterate today as they were a generation ago and an awakening doesn’t show any sign on the horizon. Few short story competitions like Desi Writers Longue’s Dastaan Award, started allowing South Asian writers because there was not enough quality or quantity for biannual competitions. Ever since it started in 2013, solely Indian writers have won all the prizes. Even if we look at our short story competitions at university level, the given topics are always about terrorism, social issues or any other depressing subject.

Lack of readership is not the problem. There is a reason new newspaper companies are opening even today. Only problem is that people are not interested in creative or imaginative thinking. Spider was not discontinued by Dawn Group for lack of readership but to be replaced with Aurora, an advertisement magazine that apparently has more demand and thus more profitable, coz ads. I have seen Cinepax Rawalpindi sold out days in advance for Fast and Furious 7 but on the premier of Star Wars The Force Awakens, it was a deserted little place. I don’t blame anyone. How can you develop creative thinking when even at university level you are taught from power point slides that you have to memorize by heart to gain marks in exams. My love for reading was only because we HAD to study classical English novels in school and submit a writing on a given creative writing topic every week. It was a slow romance and it inspired many but still there is a greater part of our class that turned out to be just another addition to the herd. The stories in our Matric and FSc English books too are highly inspiring but they again fall victim to our teacher’s teaching style. Rather than telling us to write something similar or what we think might have happen next, they just tell us the meanings of difficult words in Urdu and mark the lines that make up the answers to the exercise questions. Mr. Chips, a novel most people oppose has a greeting literary style to it but again we are only taught the passages about his wife and conflict with the new headmaster and other parts we just gloss over through. Because these are the questions that get repeated in every exam. It’s like academic and examination departments are in an agreement to make it easier for the students to pass English by consistently repeating the same questions, yet many fail in spite of it.

If we want to grow as a nation, we have to let creative minds grow. We need to develop creative thinking in our kids and for that we need a kids and young adult magazine for science fiction, fantasy and latest technology news. However small, there sure is an audience for that and it will grow if someone dares to stand for it. Laters 🙂

Understanding Fear

The only thing a man fears is not having control. In the heart of every fear, be it God, demons, supernatural entities to street dogs, heights, water or being stuck in life, the only thing humans fear is the feeling of not being in control over your own situation and/or someone else having the ability to hurt or effect you in any way and there is nothing you can do to stop him/her/them/it. This applies to every fear a human might have that I can think of at the moment, so this seems like a solid theory. If true, this says a lot about humans in general. Man wants to be god, one with all the control, except world doesn’t work that way. The only people who are afraid of what lies in their future or fear things they don’t understand are the ones who haven’t accepted their reality. On the other hand, people who have accepted their place as not the God but His creation are the ones truly fearless.

Just a random thought. Later 🙂

Trump won

For better or worse this Trump vs Hillary drama came to end with Trump winning the presidential election due to the Electoral College. Looks like Americans will be spending the next 4 years under a terrible administration; something I can relate to. From a non-American’s perspective it didn’t affect me, but it so really does. Not like in a world politics or economy way but only because this presidential campaign has been going on and on for like an year now and it was turning Twitter, YouTube and what-not into a battlegrounds for political trolls. Not that they weren’t active before but it really put the spark in them. Even the non-American trolls, well specially the non-American trolls were very actively supporting Hillary. 4 years will pass but the question arises is that will Trump be re-elected.  Americans have proven too be more racist than expected. 95% or white people both male and females have votes for Trump while the rest voted for a dead gorilla. The reason being white Americans are insecure after foreigners are filling in for ‘their jobs’. The minorities voted for Hillary but they now feel more alone than ever. 45% of the population didn’t vote. Nothing they can do now. This won’t come as a shock to anyone that white Americans are racists but the funny thing is that they are always the first to label anyone racist on a slight tint of it. Hillary won by popular vote but lost due to electoral college. A fancy term meaning votes in some white states are worth 2-3 times more than the rest. Again no surprise that such a non-democratic system exists in a country that can’t shut up on lecturing other on democracy. Anyway four years will pass but what troubles me is that a lot can go wrong in 4 years. Trust me I know.

3 game changers in human war and civilization

Here I am after almost a month when the plan was to write something every day. I can blame it on the sessional exams but that won’t be the truth. This whole month I found myself thinking and researching modern cinematic techniques and other topics which I think do not comply with the theme of this blog. Today’s topic is one of those.

I recently came across this article explaining how gun powder changed the course of human history. I disagree. I think the cannon is just a better version of the catapult. Catapults came to the battle fiend far before arsenals did but we should start at the beginning. I think in all of human history there are only three things that really changed how humans fight a war; Wall, Catapult and Atomic Bomb

The first stage was obviously the invention of weapons. Early humans fought with arrows and spears. The clan with more fighting members and better weapons mostly attacked and plundered resources from other clans.

Wall: The idea of building walls came itself from the caves and mountains that the ancient man lived in to stay safe from the wild. This lead to different families coming together to built walls to defend themselves and also their food and animals against the attackers. These walled colonies grew into fortified cities. Walls provided great protection as they were easy to defend with less army against the invades who now had to meet rain of arrows and boiling oil and burning wood at there feet. These techniques make possible only due to the existence of wall made up for lack of numbers on the defending side and the size of armies decreased. The invaders now only had one choice, bring the defending army out of their fortified walls. For this they can either besiege the city -surround the city and cut off it’s resources – waiting for them to come out but this is the most inefficient tactic as fortified cities were mostly self sustaining and could survives for years cut of from the world. A famous story is Trojan war when Achaeans (Greeks) besieged Troy for ten years and still couldn’t succeed in forcing out the Trojans. (Read more on this here.) The second way was to attack the surrounding villages that come under that city state’s influence, destroy them and enslave the people to humiliate the fortified forces into coming out and defending their honor. This was more practical and was usually the path taken but still at any sign of war the people of surrounding villages mostly fled to seek refuge in the city walls and even if the villages were destroyed the army knew it was only good defending the city than the villages. Thus the time of invaders halted and cities thrives with in the walls. This was the time of independent city states and rise of many great historic cities.

Catapult: Projectile throwing siege engines made walls useless. Now the invaders came directly for the walls and break enter the city. The rules have changed. Now the defending party’s best approach had to come out and meet the army face to face in a battle before the attackers could reach the city and destroy it. Thus the balance again shifted to numbers. More army, skilled fighters and better weapons. Gun powder weapons came later in this race for better weapons. Maintaining a large standing army for years of peace was a burden on the economy. Thus the cities formed alliances to form combined armies that will protect each in event of war. This lead to more powerful armies, but mainly nations were formed. The nations with better armies invaded and destroyed others, take them under their wing. Now independent city states could not last without pledging elegance to the strongest nation of it’s area. The era of city states is over, the age of invaders have returned. This was the time of great conquerors like Alexander the great and Mehmood the conqueror who ruled half of the world. This was the age of great empire states like the Ottoman empire and even later till the British.

WoMD: Weapons of mass destruction, mainly the atomic bomb is quiet recent in human history. It again along with the formation of UN changed the rules of war. It is said that the atomic bomb is not for war but to stop war. While this may partly be true the beginning of it was not. We only realized this after it made it’s point with a horrifying display of it’s destructive potential. But war cannot be stopped. It is a part of what humans are. It goes on while the rules change. The balance again has shifted to strong defense rather than attaching numbers. There are no more invaders. Now nations do not fight face to face in a battle. The attacker is unknown until it attacks. This type of war is the most difficult to fight as the enemy attacks from within. Be it war on terror or any other military based conflict in the world, this is modern warfare. Now countries attack others by funding terrorist groups to fight wars for them or invading others under the banners of democracy, peace and justice. There is a new form of online warfare which might be the new stage in this but that is only if there is no nuclear war. Sadly we may delay a nuclear war but it is inevitable. War is a basic human instinct and  even the existence of atomic bombs is a time bomb counting down to earth’s doom. Will there be a next stage or will the cycle start from the beginning? we can only wait and see. I see hope. Mankind will prosper. We always have. How? I don’t know.

Vloggers’ Trap

A newly wed Punjabi couple sounds so funny being all romantic talking in Urdu for at least the first few weeks of marriage. This type of romantic Urdu that sounds like Punjabi is not a dialect/accent limited to a geographical area. Rather it is a small phase many couples go through. Then there is the holding hands in public part. This is what can be called Yes we are nikah-fied, a classic sign of arranged marriage. Newly wed couples however are not the topic today.

Yesterday a weird path of Youtube algorithms lead me to binge watching Alex Wassabi vlogs. Not only most of the day was ruined but by evening I stopped halfway into a vlog and asked myself, what am I even doing? I am turning 22 in a few months and I am doing what is equivalent of 22yo girls watching celebrity wedding videos. I felt ashamed, repulsed and disgusted of my existence, almost guilty as if I just drowned a kitten.

It all started an year after Youtube got banned in Pakistan. Since it was still accessible through my phone, I decided to get the most out of it. For a long time, the only vlogger I was following was Louis Cole (FunForLouis). Then came Jesse and Jeana who were always around in Louis’ videos so it was only natural to subscribe to them too. That had it’s run for a while but didn’t end well. Meanwhile an american woman who also often appeared in Louis’ videos turned out to be his girlfriend and became a regular dull and boring part of his videos. I had to unwillingly unsub.

Which brings us to the point, why we watch vloggers? They have no creativity compared to other content creators and for that they hate vloggers. I have always tried to stay away from them but they get you somehow, starting with just a video or two. The truth is that famous vloggers have a better life than ours. They are prettier, richer and more successful than us (or there parents are). They have a perfect life, a better life with no issues like ours (at least not on camera). Any time there is an issue or disease or anything, all that fame goes out in smoke. We don’t want to see someone like us. These people also have adventure in their lives. Imagine a channel where a person films him/herself all day using laptop or playing video games or going to uni or doing chores. There are such channels out there but only as daily video diaries. They have no chance of ever being famous. People want to see what they don’t have. That is why movies and TV shows are not based on real life. I bet many would have come up with an idea like this but never got a green light. Even Seinfeld, the show that was supposed to be about nothing is about something. The comedy is relate-able but no one can ever relate to all the adventures these characters had. Which brings up the question, is human brain attracted to the feeling of being miserable and boring. Is this why Facebook is famous? to see our successful friends in the perfect version of themselves and feel bad for ourselves. Why are humans built like this?

Notice how these blogs are getting worse and pointless everyday? This is because of the daily blog schedule that I have decided to maintain and already regretting after a week. This won’t last, partially because I can never be consistent and mostly because this is just miserable. I don’t have a clue about what to write or anything fun to say and still I am writing. Later 🙂