This is the sort of blog post that if judged purely on it’s title, could be rather unforgiving.
With this YouTube glitch leaving the community feeling demotivated, but united in a yearning for more views, it may feel extremely uncharitable for me to talk about the potential benefits of temporarily neglecting the working community I reside in. With that considered I urge you to read on before passing judgement, so you can understand the thought process and mindset behind this seemingly peculiar decision.
My blog’s years long dedication to be honest with you, and at times being ugly in doing so, lead me to thinking that explaining my abandonment of the subscription box was necessary, even if it ends up losing me a few followers in the process.
It may also seem ill judged to be open about that fact that you are actively stepping back, or reducing your interaction with, an industry in which you still hope to progress, grow and achieve.
How dare you to expect us to watch your videos if you’re not willing to watch others and in turn support the hard work they’re putting in? I imagine people may say.
But that’s it, I don’t expect you to watch my videos, unless you genuinely, and truly, get enough positive repercussions from doings so. Whether that be a giggle, information, comfort, entertainment, wanderlust….But If you find your overriding reaction to my videos is one that makes you feel worse, I’d ask you to question whether you should continue to click. Sometimes a video can make you feel bad in that moment or for the minutes that follow, because it makes you reflect on something that hurt in your life, or something that’s lacking/painful that you want to change. This isn’t the sort of reaction I’m referring to, because this can be helpful, and these temporary lulls in mood can cause a shift to make you want to make some positive changes. I’m talking about feeling less-than, inferior, judged or that cause you to put emphasis on things that shouldn’t be given such a pedestal – like the prejudice opinions of others for example. For some a haul video may make them feel sad because they don’t have the money to splurge in shops, or perhaps they don’t feel happy in their skin to explore the fashion styles they’d like to. Others will find escape and relaxation via a haul, and feel invigorated in their quest for a personal style that is befitting to them. So this is a very personal thing, and you have to ask yourself what videos you watch enhance your life, and which ones detract in some way.
This year I really want to listen to my body and mind (more than before), it’s reactions – both involuntary and voluntary. I’ve learned that if you want things to change in your life, you gotta make them happen, and that usually you already know what you need to do. But often we ignore the stream of signs, messages, and gut instincts, due to fear or merely the safety of habit. I really want to make my mental health my priority this year, so I am making effort to acknowledge the triggers and the things that worsen my anxieties and mood. I’ve found one of them to be social media, but actually more focused on YouTube videos.
I have found that more often than not the majority of my post-watch feelings are ones that would fall into the negative category.
‘They’re way better than me at making videos’
‘They look far more beautiful without make up than me’
‘I wish I had all their fancy camera equipment’
‘I wish I had a cool space to film in’
‘They talk far more eloquently than me’
‘Wish I could go on that holiday”
‘I wish than brand would work with me’
‘I wish I could afford to buy that’
‘They fight a lot less than us”
‘She’s ripped off my video’
‘Damn, I was going to do a video like that’
Bugger, I can’t upload that video I’ve made as they’ll think I’ve copied them.’
‘Their thumbnails are so much more professional than mine’
‘Why don’t I have loads of YouTuber mates’
As you can see from some of the notions, anxieties, jealousies that would enter my head, many would be due to my inability to stop comparing my life to theirs. Others would be to do with my lack of confidence about the work I produce and upload to YouTube. The rest would be to do with creative conflict and my desire to original with my ideas (and not upset anyone if mine was accidentally similar).
I’ve decided, fairly late in the game of life, that if you realise that something makes you feel sad, mad or bad, you should probably try to reduce the amount of time it saps from your week, or if possible eradicate entirely. With this year’s personal goal of being as positive and proactive as possible I plan to act on my awareness in relation to watching YouTube videos, with haste.
So for the last few weeks I haven’t been watching YouTube videos, aside from ones that will help me in my quest for a firm and peachy ass. I think the only person I have watched is one by Alfie when I was in the bath over the festive period and wanted a bit more festive cheer (which him and Zoella deliver in spades), one by Lily Pebbles and Charlotte Hole, and I also saw a glimpse of one by Helen Anderz on her Instagram, which was an amazingly creative and visually pleasing musical take on a Favourites video.
Now many of you will think that by no longer watching videos I will be stunted in terms of inspiration. I know a lot of people get their ideas for how to progress their videos and their visual editing/filming style by observing the work of other creaters, and that makes complete sense. All artists are influenced by other art, past and present. However, for me I’ve found it affects the flow of my personal creativity. Sometimes videos will end up being derivative because you/I’ve been intensely watching a particular YouTuber, and their style persuasion and the decisions they make when it comes to editing, have subconsciously sunk into the creative sector of the mind. Sometimes you’ll find yourself doubting your natural impulses, perhaps because they differ from some of the successful YouTubers you follow – you figure that if it’s very different, or opposite even, that you couldn’t be on the right track.
Before YouTube ,when I was studying Fine Art or working within creative industries as a stylist or artwork assistant, YouTube wasn’t around, so it was never used for the function of inspiration and sparking of ideas. But I was never lacking for ideas. So I personally don’t think the fact I’m not watching YouTuber videos will stall my ability to create videos that are unique, fun, visually appealing, innovate, relaxing, informative or any of the different positive things you try and achieve with the different videos you make. My imagination, and love for the feeling of satisfaction created by pleasing composition will be continually ignited by the movies I watch and the music videos I catch on music channels when I switch over in the advert breaks of TV shows. The topics I want to cover in videos will be inspired by my own thoughts and issues, friends, family and topics covered on the news or in documentaries. I’ll still be listening to music, old and new, and lyrics and the atmospheres the soundscapes create will spur concepts for Look-book visuals.
I know I will be missing out on some incredible art that is being put out on YouTube. Creators are putting out incredible content these days – videos that that rivals music videos you see on MTV, documentaries you’d watch on Netflix, and movies you’d see winning awards at film festivals, but I know for me right now I have enough other formats, platforms and mediums to consume inspiring and motivating content, so that for me, right now, the decision to neglect YouTube for a bit is right for me. I know in my decision to ignore YouTube for the time-being will also mean I will fail to see the videos with powerful, uplifting or life enhancing messages too. A lot of my YouTuber friends are creating videos that are incredibly life affirming and positive and gifting viewers with valuable information or tools to make their lives a little happier, even if just for the brief time they are hooked into the video. However, right now I’d rather seek that sort of education and fulfilment from those around me, the people I can engage with in real life and have a two way conversation with. I believe we all have people in our lives that can enrich us, teach us something, push you to grow, so if I can gain that through a 3D experience, I feel that has gotta be more beneficial than through a screen with a stranger. I think it’s wonderful that for people that need it there are people online who can offer this sort of support, encouragement and therapy, and online interactions have a power and beauty of their own kind. But if we can get ourselves off our phones and computers and gain the same sort of remedy in real life, then that has surely got to be the preferred route.
Digital detoxes have almost become trendy in the blogging/YouTube community, probably because we know how bogged down our noggins can get when immersed in the tech/social media for so long, and we know just how beneficial it can be to take breather from it. When people refer to digital detoxes though, they generally focus on taking a break from Twitter of Instagram, and many are still choosing to watch the videos that pop up on their subs feed on YouTube.
When you consider the effect that twitter and Instagram has on our self esteem, confidence, FOMO, individually, innate creative persuasion, (and so on) and these are just short 140 statements or predominately still images, imagine the affect these lengthy videos may be having on the aforementioned factors (which all contribute to our overall happiness). I argue that for a lot of us, taking a break from watching YouTube videos may have a more significant affect on our contentment, stress levels and creativity. At the very least it may mean that we use our down time more effectively. Instead of watching a video we could give a friend a call that we haven’t spoken to in a while, or even reach out to someone we know needs it. Perhaps we could partake in some much needed self–care whether that be meditation, a relaxing bath, reading a book, acupuncture. Perhaps we could explore one of our hobbies or passions, whether it be cooking, drawing, jogging, knitting, or whatever it is that gives you that wonderful satisfied feeling. We could venture outside and away from the humm of electricity and go for a walk, do some volunteer work, or go to a class. This one’s directed at me really…but maybe we should use that time to tidy and create an environment that is conducive to a more peaceful mindset.
Now I don’t expect everyone to be on board with this, and nor should you (maybe). This is a decision that’s right for me right now, and it will probably change. Many of you will feel that watching YouTube videos is consistently helpful or uplifting, and if that’s the case then why would you want to change your online habits. But maybe some of the things I’ve mentioned may make some of you think and compel you to want to adapt your schedule and the level or predominance that tech/social time has.
Now I’m fully aware that my reaction to watching videos says more about myself and my own issues with confidence, self esteem, envy, insecurity, than it does about the YouTube community and their possible faults. I need to work on myself and get to a point where I find an inner strength that means than watching videos doesn’t leave me with all those negative feelings or responses I mentioned earlier. I need to find contentment in my life, and my self, so that my natural tendency is to acknowledge the positive aspects of that given video, and that I no longer get pushed into a mental headspace where I start to doubt myself as a human, or as a creative. I really feel I will get to this place faster without the regular feed of videos, but in time I’ll be able to return and view videos again (probably more sporadically though) and find greater value from doing so than before this chosen break.
As I said at the start of this post, I know it sounds very odd to raise awareness for the benefits of not tuning in to the content I and my fellow YouTubers are making. But sometimes you’ve got to consider the bigger picture, not just the picture encompassing my career and my goals within in. Yes, it may not be in my best interest of my finances/career to encourage you to do other stuff over watching mine and other people’s YouTubers videos, but in terms of striving for a world filled with trailblazers, individuals who think and create out of the box, and for a population who find beauty in simple things and the things that already possess within themselves, it’s got to be a valuable notion.
So I hope this year brings videos untainted by thoughts of what I should be doing, saying, wearing, thinking. I hope they will be purer than before, a true capture of me, because they unchanged by the osmosis of other YouTuber’s work. There’s a massive chance I may lose out on growth due to not being clued in about what trendy or hot in YouTube, but I’m hoping my natural instinct may lead me to being on the right track…or more importantly my track.
That’s pretty much what we should all be trying to do, riding our own track on our own journey right?
H&M stripey knit dress
Forever 21 Beanie
New Look Boots