Friday, November 10, 2017

Jaws of death: or, why no one watches my YouTube channel

Has my bizarre experiment with primitive animation come to a close? Apparently not. This is based on my childhood fear that old cars would bite me. They had such. . . teeth. They even had faces. All cars have faces, even the bland modern ones, but in the 1940s the phenomenon reached a peak. I don't have a sound track for this, as I haven't learned how to do sound gifs yet. I may be getting tired of the whole thing, at last. It ain't exactly Disney, is it? - but making a still picture move still fascinates me.

I want to start doing mashups of gifs with still pictures and slide shows. This will take more work and concentration, and I am not sure I am up for it because my blog views are back down to about ten a day. The bizarre thing is, about a year ago I had a huge (for me) surge in views to about 800. Made no sense at all, as I don't think I was posting anything different, just the usual strange and eccentric stuff on a variety of topics. Back in the days when I really wrote - I mean, short stories and essays and stuff like that - I was lucky to get five views. So what happened?

It's capricious, like videos "going viral", when most of them are either offensive or dangerous or sicky-cute, or just damn dumb. I am dismayed to see YouTube views in the millions (and some are now reaching BILLIONS), when more worthy entries are virtually ignored. 

The video above is a case in point. Hey, I love the "double rainbow guy" as much as anybody - but is this stoned ramble really worthy of 44,709,406 views?

Meanwhile, I stumbled upon this jaw-dropping natural phenomenon, a complete rainbow (and yes, it's a double rainbow too) filmed in Ireland back in 2012. In five years it has attracted 60 views. The counter must have frozen, because I have revisited this one many times, and it still says 60 views. I have a feeling YouTube stops counting after a while, or at least decides that you don't count.

So it's pretty meaningless how many views you get, but the internet brings out the fragile heart of the forgotten child in each of us - well, in SOME of us - a few of us? - oh all right, in me. The child who wasn't invited to the party, for reasons that make no sense at all, except that she just wasn't liked.

I still go back and forth between really not giving a rip (which is true most of the time) and feeling bruised. Here all this hard work is going to waste, and nobody cares. You don't write something and then bury it in the garden to make sure no one sees it. But that's kind of what happened. I had three novels published which barely sold. What nobody tells you, when you decide you want to get published, is that your books MUST sell, or you will not really be considered an author. If you opened a restaurant and nobody came, it wouldn't speak well to the quality of the food. People would stay away because people were staying away.

And if you're box office poison, a publisher would have to be a fool to take you on again. 

But I've kept this blog going a long time. I don't want to think how long, but six years comes to mind. There is something entertaining just in the act of putting a post together. It has to amuse me, first. I guess then I just set it out there. I don't look at stats for months at a time. I am not trying to make money with this, not trying to make anything, really. When it's working well, it's fun. No one would expect a concert pianist to play in an empty hall. But if you play for the sheer pleasure of it, because you want to, because it feels good to do something you know you're good at - maybe there's not so much need for paying customers.

But the inequities are baffling. The above short video of my adorable grandson Ryan has so far received 72,810 views, but lots of my stuff is still at zero (including, most unfairly, videos of the other kids' birthdays). Though it's a cute video, I have no idea why it seemed to draw so much attention when the others didn't. I have one blog post that still racks up attention, and I don't know why that is either: 

"I see dead people": Victorian post-mortem photography

I know there is much more interest in this subject now than when I wrote it in 2012, and even whole Facebook pages are devoted to spotting "fakes" (which one quasi-historian claimed most of my photos were). But that still doesn't explain the 118,490 views it has received. So far.

But then, who's counting?