Horse Race


Moments like this are stressful in the best way possible.

 I woke up this morning to an unusually high number of new comments on my old Magic Band video, and when I hopped into my real-time analytics I came to find this:


When something like this happens, my first instinct is to check the traffic sources. That'll determine how to proceed. You see, if the traffic sources are direct links and external sites it means that the video is gaining views because it's being shared by people. That gives you options, because at that point you can go into the video itself and do some optimizing to help people along to more of your content. You update cards and end slates, maybe even metadata like descriptions and tags. Anything to polish and shine the video as much as possible for all of the new viewers checking out.

If the primary traffic source is YouTube suggested video then you don't touch a damn thing. It means for whatever mystical reasons, the YouTube algorithm has decided to start promoting your video more. In my experience almost any change to the video can stand to upset the algorithm. I've seen my videos go from a climb like this to virtually no views literally within a few minutes of updating my cards.

So I've learned to just sit back and watch. It's kind of like a horse race in regard. I guess any race really. I'm not sure why I picked horses. Probably thanks to binge watching all of The Sopranos this month.

I have a stake in the outcome, but there's nothing I can really do about it. I just have to sit there and watch and hope the number keeps going up and up and up. You hope that out of all the people coming across the video, one will think to share it on Reddit. Or perhaps one of those people puts it on Facebook. Maybe one is a contributor for some big blog or site. All it takes is that one right person sharing it to the right platform for it to go from this to being another Water Smell video.

It's stressful, but like I said, it's the best kind. There are days where I think I'm crazy for trying to make a job out of something so volatile, but then there are days where I feed off of it. The uncertainty means that every next day or week or month can be amazing, or it could be awful.

After four years (and another five before that) going to the same office with the same commute and doing the same job over and over, that uncertainty is worth every penny I'm no longer making.