Confession: I do a daily screencast on youtube, but hardly ever read the feedback.
You know that sensation you get when you receive a letter, a bill perhaps, and you know that it can't be good, so you just don't open it? Well, that's me and youtube comments.
For one, I suck at taking criticism. But frankly, a lot of the criticism from youtubers amounts to nothing more than "You're a horrible person." There's nothing actionable there.
But oddly enough, I find I can't really handle the good feedback either.
As bad as it is to sometimes feel like the whole world hates you (or at least some youtube commenters would like you to believe that), for me, having positive feedback can actually be similarly overwhelming.
See, most of what I do is off-the-cuff. There's no way for me to really guarantee that I'm going to have a consistent performance. Especially once I decided to make an arse out of myself by speaking in foreign languages regularly.
So the negative feedback makes you want to quit because everyone hates you, and the positive feedback makes you want to quit because there's no way you'll ever top what you've already done.
All of these things are reasons why I put off reading the comments. Well, that and the fact that the comment notifications go to an email account that I don't read.
Today though, I noticed I had received a new comment and I was just struck with this sensation that I would actually feel better if I read the comment rather than to do nothing and dread what was in it.
I ended up reading my whole backlog of comments.
This is where I say that, despite the daily frequency, I don't actually get that many comments, which kind of sucks, because I learned something today.
It was far easier to tolerate the good and the bad when I just read them in a huge bunch.
Part of me wishes I had saved some of the bad ones because on some level, they were funny. Just the sheer level of vitriol. Like, did my voice really have that much of an effect on you that you really want to go kill yourself?
It's also in cases like these that really makes me wonder what goes on inside the mind of some of these commentors.
Like, the daily information I'm sharing isn't exactly unique; it's something that they can easily get from elsewhere. So if they hate my voice that much, why don't they just click on something else? Instead, I somehow manage to provoke them enough that they feel the need to stick around and leave a nasty comment.
Frankly though, with so many of the hate-filled comments being so non-specific, I almost wonder if it's just that some people have a document open and ready to go that's full of nasty comments suitable for posting to youtube.
Right now, I'm sitting on a new "Let's Play" series (that crazy thing where people watch other people play video games). Some of my hesitation is just sheer procrastination due to the amount of raw material I have to work with.
But some of my hesitation is based on the fear of finding out how many people will come out of the woodwork to hate me.
In reality though, I expect my let's-play career to not go very far due to a number of things, like:
- let's plays are already a crowded niche and my daily, barely-watched youtube series is proof that I don't know how to get viewers
- who wants to watch something where the game is in a foreign language but all of the commentary is in English?
- can I really carry a series based around this joke of "haha, I have no idea what they just said"
But in going through all of the youtube comments today, for a brief flickering moment, I felt empowered. And felt like I should start work on editing/uploading my let's play series.
Then the moment passed.