Heart Work (Right Chamber)

My entry about Fortran Caliber came alongside a similar post from another user, this time about the marketing angle of YouTube as understood by people who know nothing about marketing, or learned it from Tom Arnold. That last part isn’t fair, and I’m sorry, Tom. This all carries on from what I said before about the whole Inspiration/Perspiration ratio. One particular form of perspiration that Quora is rife with is people begging for views and subscribers via a format that’s meant for questions and answers, not pleas of desperation.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for feedback. Ergo, the question, “My channel isn’t growing like I’d hoped. What am I doing wrong?” is perfectly sincere. By contrast, “Hey! Why not check out my channel and subscribe?” is not a sincere question at all. It’s not asking for feedback or inviting any kind of discussion.

If you’ve ever had a blog or visited the comments of one, you’ve likely dealt with the following string of words.

“Hey, great post, man! Check out my blog (insert link here).”

There’s no defending this behavior. It’s so transparently opportunistic and exploitative that to see it in this day and age is downright insulting. If you want to talk about the early days of the internet, a la the time of the Please, Please, Please Get a Life Foundation, this kind of self-promotion was almost fashionable. The web was small and pickings were slim. You may still have that one name or two in your contacts that you only really have because the two of you just happened to be the only people in that particular class who had personal e-mail addresses. It may still be disingenuous, but given there weren’t too many avenues for people to advertise or otherwise promote themselves on the web, it was at least somewhat understandable to have to resort to such behaviors.

Also, if you’re reading this and you’re already forming a rebuttal along the lines of, “but lots of people do thi—” I’m going to stop you right there because as impressive as it is that a lobotomized sheep overcame its disability and learned human speech, it’s still a fucking stupid thing to say and is utterly undeserving of respect.

Hey, it tuns out a lot of Major League Baseball players were abusing steroids, so maybe we should just do away with drug tests and let all the athletes shoot up as much as they want, right? I wish I could dismiss this behavior as full-blown “watch the world burn” nihilism.

For me, because I’ve seen a lot of Youtubers who promoted and mentioned other channels. It seems like it only doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but it also conveys an idea of supporting each other.

Damn Fallguy

There’s not that much to unpack here, but is there is buried very, very deep within the mountain of emotional baggage. Fortunately, my armchair was just reupholstered, so I’m just the guy to plumb these depths by the power vested in me by the state of the internet.

The best analogy I can think of for how Damn is approaching this idea goes like this: Damn goes to a race track and walks around the staging area for all the cars. He’s allowed to be there, it’s that kind of a low key event, but he hasn’t necessarily spoken to any of the drivers or managers or anyone who’s essentially the stars of the show. He sees all the corporate logos on the vehicles, some local businesses, some bigger brands, and maybe even some custom artwork by the team’s artist or possibly even a fan submission. Damn has a local business, let’s say it’s a burger joint for no particular reason. It just so happens Damn always keeps a roll of handmade stickers for his pizzeria, because he was like that and who the Hell makes business cards for a pizza place? He remembers that he has this roll of stickers and gets an idea. He then proceeds to put his stickers on each and every car, sometimes even putting more than one sticker on a vehicle. Eventually, he does get stopped and asked what the Hell he’s doing. He says, “For me, because I’ve seen a lot of racing teams who promote other businesses. It seems like it only doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but it also conveys an idea of supporting each other.”

He’s promptly escorted from the track, and told if he ever tries this crap again, not only will he have to remove the stickers himself with his teeth, but he’s going to be charged for every minute it takes him to undo the damage.

Damn is very, very confused and thinks the whole world simply hates his ugly guts, wanting nothing more in the world than for his pizzeria to fail and get shuttered.

To Damn‘s credit, and at the risk of spoilers, he does figure it out as our discussion proceeds. It’s why I’m not using his name here, and Damn Fallguy sounds like a good enough complement to Fret Cavanaugh. It’s important to note, however, that this is very much the exception and the conclusion to our bedtime story is far too often how others react in the same circumstances. This is the pathos of the argumentum ad populum fallacy. People crave acceptance and belonging.

Ok then.. I understand now how it works. Not only it is being rude and offensive, it also makes someone lose courtesy to everyone, being selfish and being impatient to have more audience.

Damn Fawltytower

Whether or not I believed him that he understood his faux pas, I could have just left it there. If he was sincere, then my job was done. If he wasn’t, then I wasn’t wasting my time on him anymore. Bonus points to the latter case because sarcasm never works in text on the internet, so someone feigning an admission to screwing up is a decent moral victory. However, I wanted to try something. You know that math experiment where you pick one of 3 doors, then one door gets eliminated, and then you’ve got a choice to either stick with your first pick or select the other door? That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to push my luck because there was something in the exchange that bothered me.

Treating other people like your own personal billboard is an unacceptable behavior almost universally. Just like in our motorsport example, there are laws against advertising yourself on places not designated for it or if there is no permission obtained from the owner. Of course, it happens because everyone thinks they’re the exception to the rule, what with being the hero of their own story and all, and a handful of them decide to act on that exception and see if they can pull Excalibur from the stone. It’s that whole permission/forgiveness paradigm. As for the Damnation, I wanted to see what was the exception and what was the rule. That is, does basic etiquette about shameless self-promotion get an exception when it comes to YouTube somehow? In a roundabout way, I was asking if he was a dick all the time, or just when it came to YouTube. Was this a misunderstanding about the platform, or did we somehow unearth a crippling character flaw?

His answer was perfect, and as I’ve established, I’m saying that with no sarcasm whatsoever.

Well I get that. Especially I just remembered some public figures in a TV channel who promotes some TV shows from another channel, and product endorsers too. Maybe I was just too delighted on Youtube by the idea of something like “As we are both using the same business model, let’s just support each other. Therefore I would allow that”. And maybe because of that I missed the consent part of it.

DAMN, SON!

I mean it when I say this fucking nails it, and it nails it because I never once mentioned the word “consent.” I mentioned things like choice, agency, and a few synonyms for permission, but I never mentioned consent. That’s a loaded word, carrying a lot of emotional weight for some people. It’s the big gun and I was happy to rapid-fire permissions to make the same amount of holes in the argument. He made the connection all on his own, and I am convinced of his sincerity. I didn’t even put it in bold. The emphasis is his.

This is what it looks like when your heart is in the right place.

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