Hi. It’s your old pal/YouTuber-you’ve-never-heard-of/dude-who-was-almost-Twitter-famous-once-upon-a-time FamiComplex. It’s 2021. We’re all pretty much still stuck at home.
So yeah, everything still sucks. But this isn’t a political rant, nor is it a rant about the pandemic.
Let’s talk about YouTube. And let’s get really vulnerable about it. That’ll be fun.
So, I did have a YouTube channel 10 years ago, but I enjoyed far more success on blip.tv. Yeah, I know, no one remembers blip, but trust me, it was a thing. There was even actual ad revenue. Not a lot, of course, but I did make a little money. At the time, posting to YouTube was an afterthought.
We’ll call that my first mistake.
Blip was bought out, then it changed drastically, then it was just gone. Losing blip wasn’t a huge deal, at first – I just switched gears and moved over to YouTube. But the luster started wearing off. Over time, it became harder and harder to get my videos seen.
My show wasn’t very professional, or, really, even that great, but if we’re being honest, working on my show was an escape from a nowhere, unfulfilling life. A doomed marriage. Undiagnosed ADHD costing me job after job. A life spent trapped at home, unable to see friends, unable to make new ones.
Until I burned myself out and suffered a pretty serious depression, that was the life of FamiComplex. I just up and disappeared into that great internet ether for quite a while.
But hey, let’s not think about that. It’s 2021 now! I’m a new man. I’m a successful-ish software developer. I have a real adult relationship with a supportive, loving woman. I’ve got a shitty apartment in the big city. I have real ride-or-die friends. It’s a life that’s truly enviable by any reasonable measure.
So why am I putting myself through this YouTube thing again?
Let me be clear: I do actually enjoy making videos. I love to educate, to entertain, to share my insane passion for this stuff with anyone who’ll listen. I truly love talking about video games. Anyone who’s held a conversation with me for more than a few minutes knows that.
But as I mentioned earlier, I have ADHD. With ADHD comes a symptom that people rarely talk about, but that we all have: RSD, or Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Seriously, if you have ADHD, look it up. It’s a game changer.
The short explanation is that when someone with RSD is rejected, is negatively criticized in such a way that it’s perceived as rejection, or really, perceives literally anything as a rejection, they feel an emotional pain so deeply that it translates to actual physical pain. Even worse, not meeting one’s own goals or feeling that you haven’t accomplished enough can hit in the same way; it’s basically a rejection of oneself.
With that in mind, back to the topic at hand. YouTube. That mystical algorithm. And let’s be realistic. There are currently more than 31 million YouTube channels. 31 million. So, unlike most, I won’t blame the algorithm as if it’s some kind of demon or beast that hates YouTubers and must be defeated. Google’s search and the algorithm are doing their jobs, and they’re doing them as well as our current technology allows.
But your videos still don’t show up in a search, even on the last page. And they won’t.
So, you start looking for answers. Universally, you see the same response. That simple math that supposedly makes YouTube tick:
Good content + time = views.
So, you keep putting out more content. Then you wait. More content. Wait. More content? More waiting? The views don’t come. So, you take a step back. Do more research on what brings views. You’ve got to have good audio, they say. You’ve got to have good video, they say. You need better editing.
So, why the hell not, we’re having fun, right? You drop some more money on better equipment.
New gear in hand, you press on. You’ve got a hook in the first few seconds, your sound is clean, your video is semi-professional. You’ve got decent thumbnails. You’re doing all these things that supposedly work… and the views still don’t come.
As they say, don’t quit your day job. No, really. Don’t. But if you want success, you’ll have to. Supposedly. Because as they say, you have to be posting at least a video every week in order to be seen. More if you’re able.
So here’s the thing… a show like Channel 3 takes time. A lot of time. It takes weeks of recording gameplay, writing, re-writing, shooting, editing, re-editing – even if this were my full time job, I wouldn’t be able to put out an episode every week without having stocked several episodes in advance. So, I barely manage an episode every month. Multiple videos a week just ain’t happening.
And of course, let us not forget the supposed basic math at the core of all of this: good content + time = views. What’s still left after all that? Well… the only real answer left is that your content is shit. This is why I mentioned RSD above.
That’s where you’re at. You’re out thousands of dollars on equipment, putting on a smile for an audience of maybe one or two people. Your brain is constantly telling you that you’re kidding yourself. That your show is garbage. That no one wants to watch a man who’s barreling towards his forties talking on the internet about his childhood.
Then, you look at what others are doing. You see YouTube’s “stars” doing their thing. You see people earning six figures just reacting to things. You see people earning literally millions of dollars for just, like, shrieking into the camera. Then you see people doing exactly what you do – but with less care and effort – getting multiple play buttons.
Then, it isn’t just pain. Then it’s rage. Then it’s full-blown depression. And, of course, here you are, late with your next episode.
But who are you disappointing, really? No one but yourself – it’s not like you have an audience. You know that feeling this way is silly. But you can’t help it. It’s exhausting.
You’re not trying to make millions. You’re not looking for stardom. It’s as simple as validation. You just want people to like what you’re doing. That alone is enough.
I don’t have solutions. Hell, my show probably IS shit. Whatever.
I know me well enough to know I’ll keep doing it.
…after a brief hiatus while I get my head back in order.