The Only YouTube Channels Worth My Time…and YouTube Connect
I have a real love/hate relationship with YouTube. Okay, let’s be honest, I have that relationship with a lot of things. But in principle, other than the fact that it’s not peer-to-peer, I think YouTube is a fine idea. And YouTube Red–which gives you Google Play Music All-Access for free–is a steal at $10 a month. It’s a great value. And the combination of social aspects with Google Hangouts and online videos in the abstract with YouTube makes for a wonderful service. But…it’s connected to everything else that Alphabet/Google does, so I’m annoyed as fuck by it. Your video watching habits all gets tied into Google’s profile on you, and I’m not okay with that. Also, some of YouTube’s “Terms of Service” changes are definitely a negative for creators and artists.
That said, YouTube is home to some content that you just can’t find anywhere else, and likely wouldn’t exist if YouTube didn’t provide its services largely for free. And I’m glad it’s out there. And over the years, I have subscribed to hundreds of YouTube accounts to get their latest creations.
But recently, with various changes to the YouTube app and the addition of notifications, and even the way that YouTube displays “what you may be interested in”…well, I was feeling overwhelmed. Sure, I can turn the notifications off, but then in my mind I say to myself that if I don’t want to get notified about it, I must not really care about, and it’s not really worth my precious and scant time (and it is scant, I’m creator myself, after all).
Pairing Down On Channels
So I decided to go through my YouTube channel subscriptions and get rid of the all the ones I don’t give a shit about. Amazingly, I went down from over 300 subscriptions to…only 6 channels.
SIDE NOTE: Obviously, value is subjective, and I’m sure you have tons of great YouTube channels that you love, and you may disagree with me. I think that’s just wonderful. Seriously. You go right on enjoying your channels and disagree if necessary. I’ve never asked you to see everything my way. While my writing can come off as harsh, keep in mind I fully support your *informed* (key word, there) opinions and you being you.
That’s right. only six. Here’s the list:
- Star Wars Official YouTube Channel: This is quintessential if you’re a Star Wars fan. Video series like Rebels Recon are shockingly crucial to understanding episodes of the fantastic animated show, Star Wars: Rebels. Really, it is must see stuff. And while there’s some unfortunate childish fluff (c’mon, it’s Disney), some of the other content is fantastic. And the previews for…whatever…are well done. This is probably the best channel on YouTube, in my opinion.
- Cinemassacre: The Angry Video Game Nerd is, next to Lindsey Stirling, the only “YouTube celebrity” I give a shit about. And he’s brilliant. While some of the jokes get tiresome, and some of the non-AVGN content doesn’t match the entertainment of AVGN, it’s still incredible stuff. This is the kind of show that should’ve taken the old TechTV/G4 by storm. Awesome stuff. I’d go to YouTube for this channel alone.
- Lindsey Stirling: Do I really to tell you why? She’s fucking amazing. What a music, and her music videos are classy as Hell. Despite her being a Mormon, I think she’s amazing. And one day she might get over that and take her music to the levels of sexiness it deserves. By the time she’s 30 (a couple years away), she’ll snap out of the Christianity bullshit, likely (and technically, she has two YouTube Channels, but the one I linked to is the one that matters).
- Official Nintendo YouTube Channel: I used to love the Nintendo Channel that you could only access through the Nintendo Wii back when the Wii was the systeme du jour. It wasn’t on YouTube, and it had exclusive content, and honestly much of it was pretty weak pseudo-advertising. But when it did some kind of video content right, it was beyond great. The Nintendo YouTube channel is great for covering a lot of new games and other news. The 1990s version of me would have slaughtered many goats to get the content that’s on that YouTube channel. And in case you didn’t know, I still fucking love Nintendo. They’re like Apple, but they actually deliver on their promises and innovate, instead of just flapping their yap like Tim Cook does.
- The GOG.com Channel: My favorite game provider also has a really fun YouTube-based podcast (which I generally hate those kinds of podcasts), and has some cool videos displaying new releases, classic releases, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s a great channel.
- Hak5: Darren Kitchen and the beautiful and brilliant Shannon Morse deliver the real nitty-gritty aspects of security and genuine hacking in the tech world. I love this show, and there privacy/security news show ThreatWire, and can’t recommend watching this show enough (and you do need to watch it, audio alone doesn’t cut it here). There tutorials are second-to-none.
But Golden Stallion…where are all the libertarian/anarchist/voluntarist channels in your list? What…you think I watch a lot of that nonsese? Yeah, there are some channels I’m subscribed to so I can help good friends with their numbers, and the “liberty shows” I do enjoy I listen to more in audio form (relax, I’m not saying it’s all shit), but I just can’t stand sitting in front of a screen to see something that could be simply only listened to just as easily. YouTube is (largely) a waste for podcasts, in my opinion (though I don’t want to take anything away from podcasts that make video an additional part of their format, I know some of you are doing serious hard work, and I applaud you for it). And you’re welcome to disagree, feel free to do so. And that doesn’t mean that there aren’t “liberty” video ideas in the works that aren’t exciting, I’ve already heard about a couple that sound brilliant really, but they’re not here yet.
SIDE NOTE: “But what about those great TED Talks, Dr. Sovryn?” Are you kidding? Those are so fake, inauthentic, and set up that I don’t believe a word or care what these people (generally) have to say. If you want to see actual great talks that matter, check out my friend Ryan Taylor’s YouTube channel here. Awesome stuff.
Also, when I was doing a cleansing of my YouTube subscriptions, I was amazed at how many channels/projects, many of which I remember at the time were being touted as this very serious project, or show, or whatever…and many of these haven’t been updated in YEARS. YEARS. With some of these channels, I remember being reached out to by the channel operators to talk about the show on my own podcast, Sovryn Tech, and go to check out their channel now–years later–and it’s lucky if they ever even made 5 or 6 episodes. It’s insulting to them and to me. So many, so many YouTube channels I saw that either haven’t been updated in years, or they never really delivered or did shit. It’s ridiculous.
SIDE NOTE: There are great “web series” that often popularly air on YouTube, but I really don’t consider them YouTube content. These are great shows. “Mortal Kombat Legacy”, “Star Trek: Renegades”, and the amazing “Star Trek: Continues”, while available on YouTube, would never have required YouTube to be as popular as they are. They could easily air on their own websites. And really, I think they should.
So I feel it bolsters my decision to pair down my YouTube account and subscriptions. Now I get notifications and I want to watch it right away, because it’s content that not only I care about, but the creators obviously care about. But for me–and granted, I recognize I am not the demographic that YouTube is going for in a million ways–most of YouTube’s content sucks ass. It’s crap. And it’s not serious. And I know how hard it is to deliver quality content, and so when I don’t see creators taking their content seriously, I don’t want to take it seriously. Also, the narrative that YouTube can make anyone into a millionaire is madness. Even many “YouTube celebrities” aren’t making much money at all and are working day jobs. Content creation takes talent, and I don’t see much serious talent on YouTube overall.
Now all of this could change when YouTube rolls out its supposed “YouTube Connect” feature which is designed to take on Twitter’s Periscope live video streaming app…and while Periscope creamed the originator–Meerkat–YouTube Connect will likely crush Periscope. And frankly, the Periscope app sucks ass. I’ve tried using it a few times for Sovryn Tech, and it’s never really worked very well. YouTube Connect will be wildly popular (if it gets released), and will definitely be a major paradigm shift in YouTube content. Hangouts already does much of what I could imagine Connect could do, but this will hopefully a be a quicker and dirtier version of Google Hangouts.
Admittedly, I think YouTube Connect will become as unused as Periscope already has (and Meerkat has completely tanked) because actual “YouTube celebrities” suck live. They’re only good when they do those ridiculous quick cuts that make them seem intelligent when really they’re absolute dolts. That’s why live video streaming hasn’t taken off the same way Vine or YouTube itself has: “viral content” needs to either be 7 seconds long, or it needs to have high production values. YouTube Connect won’t allow for any of that, so it’s likely just a play for Alphabet/Google to try and dominate another online market (much like Google Play Music All-Access, YouTube Red, etc., are all designed to “destroy” Spotify and Netflix, etc.).
SIDE NOTE: YouTube Connect, if it can solve Periscope’s reliability issues, will likely be popular with activists, athletes, and the like. But keep in mind, that is a fairly small group of content creators/recorders.
Anyway, there needs to be a lot more competition in the storage and streaming of independent video space. Vimeo doesn’t cut it, and at this rate my long prediction that Alphabet will eventually drop the Google business and become an entertainment company straight up with YouTube will be a forgone conclusion.
And for now, there are only a few channels I even bother to watch, and even those could easily (even with bandwidth concerns) just run on the same servers as the primary website they are based off of–as in the case of Star Wars.
May the future bring on more choices, and decentralized (perhaps even P2P) online video choices.
DISCLAIMER: The ZOG Blog is the part of this site where Dr. Brian Sovryn can talk about anything. From pop culture, to philosophy, to just sharing updates with what’s going on at Zomia Offline Games and with other projects.