I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately. It’s not the most productive use of my time, but knowing that has not dissuaded me.

Mostly, I’ve been watching solo essayists: people who sit in front of their computers, and talk about…stuff. I’d much rather read their essays; it’s harder for me to concentrate on speech vs. the printed word, and difficult if not impossible to stop & think about some point the author’s just made. I’m not a big fan of audiobooks, for the same reason.

Alas, transcripts are not available, so it’s YouTube or nothing.

Some people are much better than others at working in the video essay format. But production quality is invisible, until it’s missing: faint / ratty audio; stiff presentation; awkward speaking style.

Some opinions are better than others, too. I’ve seen too many videos that were muddled thinking, laced with artless profanity; these people aren’t nearly as interesting or persuasive as they think they are.

There’s a whole ecosystem of opinions on YouTube. People post their own, respond to others’, get into arguments. They compete for subscribers & comments. It’s a bit like a multimedia upgrade to the newsgroups I used to read, back in the early 1990s.

Back then, I participated. Some of my old posts & comments are still available from Google. But on YouTube, I am strictly a lurker. You’ll never see me in a YouTube video. I know my limits.