June 17, 2024

Influencing Truth.

Dave over at Blogography recently featured a YouTube video by an astute observer who points out the fibs, deceptions, and lies found in many YouTube Influencer videos. If you have 38 minutes and feel invested in the topic, here’s the video:

The video highlights all sorts of things, like illogical positions of the sun in the sky relative to the supposed time the video is being recorded, inflated rankings in marathons, and inattention to details like digital clocks showing the real time, etc. This woman has the receipts. You’ll see those too.

Influencer culture is rather gross. It’s an extension of the Reality TV generation conflated with rampant consumerism where you should buy what these influencers are saying you should buy. Their lifestyles are amazing because their videos show just amazing they are. But they’re not.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get more people to notice my little videos about hiking, storm chasing, and aviation. Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest. Maybe I should just admit that I’m a boring middle aged man. I’m going to keep making my videos because I enjoy the creative outlet, but I’m realizing I’m doing one thing very wrong.

I’m being truthful. The truth does not begat engagement.

During the storm chasing trip I featured a segment in one of my videos where I show myself in the shower, getting ready for the day, checking out weather websites, etc. Being the “Bewitched” nut that I am, there are a couple of little “witchcraft” segments where I pop on my shoes and magically change my shirt. I’m here to admit right now: those two little scenes were staged. But me getting out of the shower? I put the camera up before I got in the shower, took my whole shower, and then the camera captured me getting out of the shower. Same with the shaving, and the brushing of the teeth, and the packing up my belongings to vacate the hotel room.

Note that at no time did I show a shot of me getting out of bed. Because I was traveling solo, there was no one there to film me getting out of bed and I wasn’t about to set up the camera, set the alarm clock back, get back in bed, wait for the alarm, then get out of bed, and fake waking up. I’ve told many tall tales in my life, but that poor habit was solidly in my youth and something I quickly grew out of. I can’t bring myself to “Survivor” or “Big Brother” my way through the day, taking multiple cuts of the same shot to pick the perfect shot. Maybe it comes from my days of radio, but I tend to grab things live.

Yes, there are times when I’ll say the same phrase multiple times because I stumbled over my words while talking to the camera. Yes, I will hike up a trail, put up the camera, go back down the hill, hike up the hill again, and then grab the camera after I passed by, so I have a shot of me hiking up the hill. I’m actually doing twice the hike for those shots. But I’m not going to be claiming it’s before dawn with the sun beating down on me, or bound out of bed with a sure shot of energy when I’ve already gotten out of bed, set up everything, gone back to bed, and done it for real.

I do my best to represent who I am, where I am, and what I’m doing. And apparently that does not please the YouTube algorithms. OK, fine. Then it’s no engagement numbers for me.

We all know Influencer Culture, and those embroiled in that scene, are tacky. I like to think that some of them are doing it for the creative outlet, much like I do with my videos, but for the most part, they’re there to make money off residuals from you buying what they’re selling.

I guess there’s not enough money in selling the truth.