Writing this is going to be tricky for me. This has all come about since I wrote an article inside the April 2022 volume of TogTalk for the MTog’s that walked through That Photography Spot – the bits behind the scenes that the vast majority of our community don’t know about or haven’t seen. It was really interesting to write about the entire journey over the last 2+ years and see the trends that came from that, as well as the feelings brought to the surface in each stage.
The overwhelming trend for me mentally as I wrote that article and had the time to sit and reflect on it was that I LOVE my job, I love sharing and teaching things, I really enjoy the challenges that we’ve faced here as a team (and individually), but man – I’ve totally fallen out of love with YouTube, to the point that I try to avoid it wherever physically possible. I ended that article by saying that if I did it all over again, I wouldn’t do YouTube because there are WAY easier ways to get from A to B without going through every letter of the alphabet twice before arriving in the same place. This is true, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Every week I create at least 5 different pieces of content:
- A YouTube video for Fridays at 12 noon
- A written blog post to go with the YouTube video
- Deep Critiques for the Premium+ MTog’s
- MTog Monthly Content
- Online course content
The above list takes around 4.5 full-time days of work, ish, sometimes more but rarely less. Of the list up there, there is one thing that I don’t mind creating – indifferent really – but I genuinely dread its release. That one thing is, of course, the YouTube video.
MTog content I adore because it feels like a safe space with less literal pressure on certain aspects, course content is the same although it takes a lot more preparation and discipline. YouTube content is fine to create in theory but every sentence is nit-picked, considered, carefully placed and overanalysed for interpretation, trollability and whether a certain subset of the internet will be awkward for the sake of it. Then the editing is reviewed for the same again, including how I look, talk, gesture and what my hair looks like (legit).
It wasn’t always this way.
YouTube used to be a safe place, a fun spot for me to create and share and inspire (apparently). I remember re-watching a video from early in 2020 and although the video itself wasn’t great with awful lighting and framing and so on, I could tell immediately that I was having a great time – I really enjoyed it! I don’t enjoy it anymore because of the list of things above and it isn’t a safe space for me because of the type of content I’m creating. [If you are a young female creating technical or tech-based content, you’ll know what I mean.]
Therefore, for the last 6 months, I’ve been going forwards and backwards on what to do. Should I just pull the plug entirely? What about giving the entire channel to someone else? Maybe the answer is in creating a different YouTube channel to do different content on that I’ll enjoy as I did before? Should we just stop making new videos and fade off into the ether? All of these were on the table as legitimate options along with a fair few more too.
And then it hit me like a steam train:
A) Every YouTube video helps hundreds, if not tens of thousands, of people. (We know that, because we can see the data on retention and “views per video per user” which tell us that some of you re-watch the same video over and over again to re-cover the same content.)
B) I really don’t enjoy YouTube anymore. (Oddly this came to me one morning whilst I was doing something completely unrelated to photography, YouTube or education. Weird.)
“A” gives me a reason to keep going, to re-find my passion for creating for YouTube and “B” makes it crystal clear that it’s about the loss of that passion causing my indifference and dislike. So how do I relight a fire for something that I did love and now could really live without because of brian-ache and overthinking?
Easy, make it a challenge!
And therefore, “Five Minute Fridays” are the new thing:
Let’s be honest, I won’t make YouTube videos forever, it’s impossible. In 5 years time I might not be creating for YouTube but for now, every Friday, I’m challenging myself to cover a technique, topic, tip or tool in 5 minutes or less. That sounds like a piece of me, actually fun if we’re being totally honest, and I’m going to go for it with everything I have. Starting this week.
- If the content is well over 5 minutes, it goes into the Premium Membership here on the website.
- If the content is over 2 hours in length, it’s earmarked for an online course instead.
Really, the simplicity of it is wonderful for me. So yeah, meet Five Minute Fridays. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do ❤️