In her video essay YouTube: Manufacturing Authenticity (For Fun and Profit!), Lindsay Ellis casts a very self-conscious, very critical eye on YouTube vlogs as an “authentic” phenomenon + livelihood… starting with, of all things, an analysis of the evolution of a couple of cake decorating channels.
I realize this one sounds like it’s a lot heavier on YouTube-specific geekery than most people would appreciate, but I recommend this video to anyone who recognizes that forging a connection with your audience (whomever and whatever that audience may be!) is an important way to get people coming back for whatever it is you want people to come back to you for (be it your videos, your music, your writing, your art).
And I especially recommend this video to everyone who has experienced the heightened trickiness of this territory whenever your livelihood depends in some way upon a public image you must therefore maintain.
So many insights into these juicy topics in this video. And in a stroke of brilliance, Lindsay interviews YouTube darling (and one of my faves) Hank Green, in a textbook tactic from Google’s YouTube best practices playbook: Create, Collaborate, Curate!
There’s a really great section on the history of emotional labor, leading into the impact of trying to maintain an internet persona, starting here. And she gets Hank to talk about why he does what he does here:
I want people to get excited about the universe and the world and… thinking critically and hard about stuff. More and more I want to foster some kind of better communication among people, and also more and more I feel like that needs to happen a lot more OFF of the internet than is happening now… we need to occupy the same physical space as other human beings.
I could not figure out how to get a transcript from this video. 12 points for anyone who knows the trick!