Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why YouTube Activism Doesn't Work

This doesn't just go for YouTube. It also goes for Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and any other form of social media. There are those in the world that think that pasting a video on YouTube is a viable way to proselytize and win converts. This isn't true. Think about it: YouTube is the site where people go in with the full intention of never having their mind changed whether or not what is being put forth and they disagree with is true. This is a big problem. I see videos of people saying controversial things all the time. The biggest thing is probably the Evolutionism vs. Creationism debate that has been raging even without YouTube's aid for decades.

I have never seen or heard of any instance in which the mind of someone was changed through a youtube video. YouTube can be used by propagandists to bolster the views of those who have already been won, but the noncommittal nature of the site says that if someone is saying something that they disagree with, all they need to do is move the cursor to the search bar and type something that is the opposite of what they were watching to receive validation and reinforcement, especially if the reasons given in the video were a little too convincing for safety. As Jordan Taylor points out, you shouldn't never question your beliefs. They are right no matter what. Of course, knowing the nature of Blimey Cow, virtually everything they say is sarcastic, which might have gotten me in trouble on Facebook once,  but essentially, there is no reason to when on a site like youtube, because you can find anything you want hear.

This is not a problem. It is perfectly fine to look for reasons to believe what you believe. The problem arises when content creators think that they can change the mind of people that already have an opinion.

I think of people like Vi Hart, who used to post videos about math. They were always fascinating and never a disappointment, until several months ago when she decided that she no longer needed to post videos about math for her subscribers, and instead would post videos centering around slightly more controversial topics. I agreed with one of them, and really it was only because I didn't know enough about it before. I would hate to be compared with the person whose opinion is won by the first person to talk to me. This isn't true. I have changed my mind on a number of things after investigating the topic further. The machine I am typing this on is an obvious example. I used to hate Mac and Apple, but now, I still don't like Apple, but I can't help but admit that Apple knew what they were doing when they designed OS X and the current MacBook Pros. Yes, people can be swayed, but there is only so much swaying that can be done in a five to twelve minute video. It is far more likely that you will change their opinion through a book, if you can convince them to read it.

How do we change people's minds, then? You'd have to ask a social engineer. I have some thoughts, but not really anything serious.

I also hate to admit this, but the only way to use YouTube to actually influence someone is through something called the bait and switch. It is a marketing strategy that many are familiar with, where you show someone the big TV and make him think he's getting the big TV, but when he get's the item shipped to his house, it comes as the little TV, that he had seen, but not considered actually buying. In some circles it's considered fraud, but on YouTube, it's something else. It's a form of deception, but on YouTube, it's not quite that, because you see everything at face value. How do we use this without making them run away like in all of the other activist videos?

Once again, Blimey Cow is a prime example of this. What they say is said in an inventive and funny way, albeit, rather sarcastic, but their strong views about the world are always present, but disguised as humor.

This is deceptive, is it not? But it isn't because they are saying all of it. Soft disclosure might be a better term, but at the same time, that's not quite what it is.

I'll just call it the Blimey Cow Effect.

Anyway, if you are a content creator on YouTube, or even better, someone who wants to be a content creator on YouTube, remember that influence is earned. If you want to influence someone, you need to first get in the door, and only after that can you make the truth known to them.

Anyway, that's all for me right now. See you later.

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