Have I Made it?

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

For the past seven years I have been creating content on YouTube, throughout this time I have experimented with many different genres and styles in order to find my voice. From parody music video to toying with special effects. Eventually, I have come to realise that uplifting comedy is really where I would like to leave my impression. However, making comedy videos on youtube requires one to have a whole new set of literacies. For example, on youtube the trolling community is quite large, I have received a number of hateful comments, something which I explore here. Jay Oatway explores this in his discussion about content creation, one thing that he emphasises is to first fully understand your community, to follow them on blogs and social media, in order to understand their expectations. To put it briefly, the reason that hate is often received is because the audience is receiving content that they do not expect. For example, my most disliked video is called “How to get money from vending machines”, when i look at the Youtube Analytics of this video, I am able to see that the audience mainly comes from the youtube search, which are people who legitimately believe that I’m going to show them how to make a buck. However, once they click on the video they realise its comedy and become quite upset, and revert to trolling. I explore this in more depth on my blog post here.

This whole dynamic is quite interesting, it is reminiscent of the Anonymous phenomenon that originated on fourchan. According to the BBC Documentary “How Hackers Changed the World”, the anonymous group has a very strong sense of community and understanding. One of the members while discussing the protests on scientology, explained that suddenly everybody who knew the same jokes as each other were coming together. Not only jokes, but the same set of shared values and culture. Thus, there was such a passion about certain acts of hacktivism which they conducted, such as taking down the Neo-Nazi Hal Turner. It is incredible to believe that something so intangible like the internet can develop such a large network of independant literacies. Andrew Blum, touches on this briefly in his TED Talk “What is the Internet Really” when he states that “my relationship to the physical world had changed”. Memes are a great example of this, they often sit online and are constantly remixed and recycled like on a “petri dish” until they become a subset of internet culture. Rosanna Guadagno also explores this in her study about what makes a video go viral, she explores the importance of emotional impact and found that a video was more sharable when it had emotion provoking content. I would like to compare this to a common stand-up comedy theory, discussed by the likes of Gene Perret and Judy Carter. Its understood that audience expectation and a sense of community is often what makes or breaks an engagement. In my case, because I have been developing my own voice, I often have not provided my audience with consistent content. This I believe it what has opened me up to hate messages. By constantly shifting my content, the audience does not know what they are receiving, and opposes my work.

 

Resources:

YouTube. (2016). BBC Documentary – How Hackers Changed the World [Full]. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfCewYcnSu4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].

YouTube. (2016). Andrew Blum: What is the Internet, really?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE_FPEFpHt4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Oatway, J. (2012). Mastering story, community and influence. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley.

Guadagno, Rosanna E. et al. ‘What Makes A Video Go Viral? An Analysis Of Emotional Contagion And Internet Memes’. Computers in Human Behavior 29.6 (2013): 2312-2319. Web.

Perret, G. (2007). The new comedy writing step by step. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

Carter, J. (2001). The comedy bible. New York: Fireside.

Pohate-o for the Potato

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

As with every professional engagement, being a content creator on youtube comes with its workplace hazards – In this case. Trolls. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to receiving not-so-positive comments, and have started to enjoy the creativity and often hilariousity of them. Last week this gem popped up under one of my videos:


Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.39.52 AM

Ouch, well, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth… In situations like this I cant help but laugh, In a way i feel complimented. Some person somewhere in the world has actually sat down, watched my video, logged in to youtube, thought about a comment, and responded to me, just to tell me how much they hated my video. I appreciate that.

Sometimes Ive felt so loved that I felt obliged to reply to the troll:
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.40.11 AM
Sadly, In these situations their initial creativity disappears and they often dont respond as viciously. Either way, its never a boring conversation.

I suppose what im trying to say is, people often ask me if the hate bothers me. I reply “not really, Ive gotten used to it, in fact I find it quite amusing”

Iv'e Been Thinking

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

Despite all the experimentation that has been happening on my youtube channel, one thing that ive always really wanted to maintain is uplifting content. I want to make people think and be entertained at the same time. Thats why I started the “Ive been thinking” series:

Here are the first four episodes:

It will be interesting to see how my audience reacts, considering they are used to comedy content from me.

Reflection Thus Far

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

Blogging has always been a difficult form of expression for me, probably because of the nature of its creation. It requires one to sit down and write, although writing itself is not difficult, I find it less entertaining than to make a video or post a photo.

 

However, Adrian Miles provided an interesting insight about the uses of blogging which got me thinking. He states that a blog can be used in teaching to “nurture peer support” and “assist in idea creation”. This idea seems very reminiscent of google docs, a platform that allows one to write content and then have others comment, edit and respond to it. However, the advantage of a blog is that it is public, thus it allows a network literate audience to get involved with the idea generating process.

Thus, to find a place for blogging in my own life, I decided to post about the content I am creating in other forms, using it as a springboard to share the content and reach my audience. The reason this is particularly useful to me is because i spread myself thin across many different social media outlets, and blogging could bring it all together; Adrian Miles has acknowledged this: “The key advantage of network literacy is that different services or websites are all able to communicate with each other.”  

For example I used one of my posts as a behind the scenes pinboard, where I placed content about the creative process, production and scripting of a video. The post can be found here. It links together images and video to give a visual overview of the process and facilitate the engagement with the final product.

The issue however is that there is not that much reciprocity in this arrangement, whereas most social media or content sharing sites will provide you with either “views” or a quick and easy “like” feature, blogging forces users to comment – which is comparably less common. For example, I did another post about my song Sick Of Citrus, which brought together audio, via soundcloud with the instagram post of the song, however there was no indicator of an audience response. This is the reason I prefer to use other mediums.

However I do believe that using blogging as a secondary medium could work. Julia Erhart in her ‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back’ study, explores how Chris Lilley uses multiple platforms to communicate with his audience and build expectation. Because he had a large following on TV, its easier to use online content as a springboard. Hopefully I could do something similar between my blog and YouTube channel.

Overall, my blogging experience has been very developmental, I am not yet entirely sold on the idea of using blogs, however I am willing to experiment with the platform at a hyperlink springboard for other contents.

 

References:

 

Miles, Adrian. Blogs in Media Education: A Beginning [online]. Screen Education, No. 43, 2006: 66-69. Availability:<http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=374037672250272;res=IELAPA>ISSN: 1449-857X. [cited 10 Apr 16].

 

Miles, Adrian. Network Literacy: The New Path to Knowledge [online]. Screen Education, No. 45, 2007: 24-30. Availability:<http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=805521387210748;res=IELAPA>ISSN: 1449-857X. [cited 10 Apr 16].

 

Erhart, Julia. (2014). ‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back’: characterizing Chris Lilley’s YouTube audience. Continuum, 28(2), pp.176-187.

 

Finding My Voice – Audience of Jrnwfire

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

Over the past seven years I have been uploading videos to a youtube channel known as ‘Jordan Raj’ (formerly Jrnwfire). Throughout this time I have uploaded around 130 videos, with all sorts of random content and genres. This has been a sort of journScreen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.24.05 PMey, not only of self discovery but also an endeavour to understand and taylor content to a specific audience. The following exploration aims to outline the learnings I have obtained but also reflect on the future of Jordan Raj and where I can take it from here.

 

Firstly, I would like to outline the limitations of my exploration. I will only be looking at my particular audience, this is because I have very detailed statistics specifically on my own audience. Furthermore, I am making assumptions based on very sporadic and inconsistent content, which is only really characteristic of my own individual case. However, in order to validate my claims i will be looking at the information gathered in the context of further research, such as what makes a video viral and what makes an audience engage.

Now that I have established what my limitations are, its time to begin, who is my audience. The best way to answer this question is to look at my youtube analytics:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.25.45 PM

Here i’m choosing to look at the statistics for the lifetime of my channel, therefore im capturing the most general overview of the audience. From simply looking at this basic statistic it it is blaringly evident that the majority of my audience is male. This alone however is not enough information, luckily youtube offers me more:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.26.41 PM

From this further information we can identify my audience as mainly male and located in the United States. However, there is a very important piece of information which needs to be considered; 41% of my views have come from a single video.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.27.27 PM

The video titled “How to Money from Vending Machines” has received 140,000 views, and has mainly been found through the “Youtube Search” or “Direct sources”. This video is intended to be a light parody of our vending machine habits, however it is evident from some of the statistics that this is NOT what the audience expected from the title. It has quite a low audience retention and an overwhelming number of dislikes:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.28.32 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.29.25 PM

It is quite clear that in this case I have attracted the wrong auience. Regardless, I have gained a valuable insight; title is important. This is an assumption which further proves to be true when we look at the second most viewed video, “BEST PUNS EVER – Vine Compilation”. This video is responsible for 16% of all my channel views and has arguably the best title, it is accurate to name and entices a click from the audience. Unlike the previous video it actually has a significantly higher retention rate and much more positive feedback:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.30.19 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.30.44 PM This video would have to be my most successful video, simply because the intent aligned with the results. Yes, I have other videos that people have found interesting, but this one seems to stand alone in terms of original intent to success ratio. By this I mean the video was made as a comedy, and the positive feedback suggests that is getting viewed by people who want to enjoy it as a comedy. Thus at this point I would like to discuss what makes a video go viral and what makes it popular, I’m looking at any possible correlation between the success of the puns video and the results from the following study:

 

Guadagno, Rosanna E. et al. ‘What Makes A Video Go Viral? An Analysis Of Emotional Contagion And Internet Memes’. Computers in Human Behavior 29.6 (2013): 2312-2319. Web.

 

The above is a published study that aimed to mathematically analyze the factors which determine a videos ‘shareability’ or what causes a video to go viral. The central hypothesis suggested that the video would be shared more if it created an emotional impact on the audience. Within the scope of emotional impact it also suggested that a video conveying positive emotions was more likely to be shared than one conveying anger or disgust. In order to conduct this study a number of videos were selected and then showed to a sample of undergraduate students. The students were then to give a quantitative answer on how likely they were to share the video. Not surprisingly the hypothesis was in fact proven, people tended to share videos that had a positive emotional response.

This hypothesis does agree with the idea that a comedy video would receive a positive response, however it does not directly address the idea of audience retention or engagement. Regardless i feel it is safe to assume that if a video is creating a positive emotional response people would be more likely to maintain interaction. Likewise, if their expectations, which they may have gained from the title, are being fulfilled they would not feel cheated and click out.

It is also worth noting that the audience for the study were undergraduate students, lets reffer to the audience age of the puns video:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 2.31.59 PM

Unsurprisingly the majority of the audience is university age, between 18-24. This is also the age of the students being surveyed for the above study, allowing our assumptions to be more accurate. Certainly the emotional response is one very important factor in what makes a video have high response rate. However the actual personality and mindset of the viewer needs to be considered; their personal susceptibility etc.. Additionally conducting a study and presenting viewers with media is very different to the way that they would otherwise organically receive it. Overall, the idea that emotional connection with a video directly links to its shareability was a very valid and worthwhile investigation, however in order for this research to be applied there needs to be consideration of many different factors. For example, the expectation and means by which they are recieving content.

 

One way in which the youtube audience in specific responds to this phenomena is by creating subscribers. Subscribers are those that commit to receiving your content when you release more and are constantly kept up to date with your news. By employing this system one ensurees that the audience that they are delivering to has an expectation, based on previous content and familiarlity with a channels personality and style. Over time this has a two-fold effect; the audience becomes more loyal and consistent, with a relationship being formed, and secondly, the content creator starts to curate for the expected audience. The following study on predicting audience gender speaks to this idea:

 

Predicting audience gender in online content-sharing social networks

Xiao, Chunjing ; Zhou, Fan ; Xiao, Chunjing ; Zhou, Fan ; Wu, Yue

Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, June 2013, Vol.64(6), pp.1284-1297

 

The above article focused on a study that aimed to measure the accuracy of different prediction methods to determine the gender of an audience. The method involved comparing early audience and late audience as well as the trend of gender for a particular media content creator. It was found that the more content a creator had produced the more accurately gender could be predicted. The main use of this study would be to optimize searches and advertising. However, it is useful in the sense that it can provide content creators with confirmation that the gender of their fan base will maintain consistency as long as they deliver the same type of content.

 

In my particular case i find this intriguing because of my drastically skewed male audience. Im aware that my audience is 70% male and mostly between the ages of 18-24, therefore if I want my content to be more shared and appealing it only makes sense that I should start curating it to this audience. But, what if i dont WANT this to be my primary audience. What if I want to establish a male-female 50-50 split, and i want to deliver content that is appealing to both genders. It would be necessary in this case for me to embrace other elements of content curation, elements which regard consistency and expectation as important while at the same time trying to redefine my audience. The following essay discussing the work of Chis Lilley on youtube raises some interesting points:

 

Erhart, J. (2014). ‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back’: characterizing Chris Lilley’s YouTube audience. Continuum, 28(2), pp.176-187.

 

This essay looks at the impact of Chis Lilleys Youtube audience and how having content on both TV and the internet affect his audience response. It looks at numerous user comments and discusses how expectation and loyalty is being built up in the fan base. However i found the following quite interesting:

 

“Let me look closely at the example of the upload ‘Ja’mie Bloopers Summer Heights High’. The title of the YouTube is self-explanatory. The frequent motif that comes up in posts attached to this upload – as elsewhere on YouTube and indeed throughout critical responses to Lilley – concerns his acting prowess”

 

This brief excerpt from the study confirms what I have deduced up until this point; titling is very important. Throughout the study it’s clear that the audience always knows what to expect and they associate some familiarity with the titles and expect to see a particular type of content. The audience is drawn in by a reason to click and a desire to investigate the topic further. The key idea here is that expectation is transformed into delivery.

 

Therefore what I believe is that expectation is always going to be the key to creating audience retention. Expectation must always inform the entertainer and allow for them to curate the content, responding to the subliminal vulnerabilities and requisitions of the audience. This is even an idea which is explained at length by entertainers and writers such as Gene Perret, Bob Hope and Judy Carter, all of whom are expert comedians and writers. They understand that entertainment is essentially the process of allowing an audience to realize and experience what they truly desire.

 

In conclusion, the YouTube audience is not unlike any other audience. Their expectations must be met by the entertainer in order to receive positive response. Thus in order to reach them, a content creator, which in this case is me, must continue to deliver consistent content that establishes clear expectation and eventually delivers upon it. Over time this will create a fan-base which will continue to return and further build up expectation which will lead to my further curation and tailoring of content. This cycle is essential to any audience, and is what leads to success.

 

Sources:

 

Alphabet Inc. (2016). Youtube Analytics. Youtube.

 

Carter, J. (2001). The comedy bible. New York: Fireside.

 

Perret, G. (2007). The new comedy writing step by step. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

 

Guadagno, Rosanna E. et al. ‘What Makes A Video Go Viral? An Analysis Of Emotional Contagion And Internet Memes’. Computers in Human Behavior 29.6 (2013): 2312-2319. Web.

 

Predicting audience gender in online content-sharing social networks

Xiao, Chunjing ; Zhou, Fan ; Xiao, Chunjing ; Zhou, Fan ; Wu, Yue

Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, June 2013, Vol.64(6), pp.1284-1297

 

Erhart, J. (2014). ‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back’: characterizing Chris Lilley’s YouTube audience. Continuum, 28(2), pp.176-187.

Clickets

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms
Dear Friends! I have gathered you here today to make a proposition, a proposition so grave that many of you will disregard it as foolish. Now, im sure many of you are aware with the word nepotism, however if you are not, I have provided the defenition below.
nepotism – the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.
My proposition is that we start using the term ‘Webotism’
webotism – a closed circuit environment of hyperlinks that keep a user experience within one website. ie.”keeping it in the fam”
This week during our tutorial we were playing a little click game. We basically started on any webpage that tickled our fancy, and then we clicked ALL THE THINGS – meaning we clicked around on links until we ended up somewhere interesting.  However, being me, i got slightly distracted and asked myself. “How long would it take for me to get from a random page – to a page about a topic of my choosing.  So i chose cats. Within 5 minutes of clicking around on links I traveled from Wikihow – How to be a Youtube Star all the way to Cat faces existential nightmare over electronic kitty bank. Basically, I succeeded.

But what we learn? and How does this link to Webotism?

Well – Lemme just say, it was incredibly difficult to leave that Wikihow website, all the links were kept internal; to other guides and profiles. The only way out was to find their social media, and even then they were sharing all their own links. Eventually I found the name of a random person who had commented on their post, using them as a springboard out of there and serendipitously landing on cat videos! YES!

Sick of Citrus

Creator, Music, Networked Media, Performance, RMIT Media Comms

This is a post that is almost BETTER out of context than in context.  So I’ll just drop this on you:

Original Song “Sick of Citrus” now on SoundCloud… @jrnwfire #SickOfCitrus #OriginalSong #Guitar

A video posted by Jordan Raj (@jrnwfire) on

Ok, now that you are sufficiently confused, I will explain. Arriving back in Brisbane after three from the Czech Republic I was eager to get down to business, take the Australia of opportunity by its throat and make it boogie. I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle at the time and was asked if I would be interested in working for their food stall at the Falls Music Festival. I agreed.

Long story short, I started getting sick during the festival, and quickly made sure to cure my sore throat with the lemonade from the stall next door to us. With the words lemon, citrus, sick and sugar-free floating around, suddenly the phrase “sick of citrus” popped up. My instant reaction was “that would make a great song title”, and so promptly upon return to Brisbane, Sick of Citrus was written – with the sole intent to use that phrase.

Here is the full song:

is Hypermedia Fragmented?

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

This week we started looking at hypermedia and hypertext. Firstly to define these terms, for those of you less inclined to be NERDS. Jks. Hypertext is basically the little blue links you see all over the internet. Its linking a whole heap of ideas, or pages together to create a whole piece. Hypermedia is an extension of hypertext, its when you put together more than simply text, but you link in videos and images and sounds, basically other media, through embedding.

One thing which caught my attention was the suggestion that this is a fragmented approach, however I disagree. Perhaps it is essentially a generation gap or difference in perspective, but i believe the bring together of lots of mediums to create something is actually more wholesome than having a singular source. Hypertext can be likened to references in an essay, you are using all the sources to come together to make a seasoned whole. Having the sources kept separately is compartmentalized and dichotomized.

The hypermedia experience seems reminiscent of the ‘Google now’ protocols, this is a software that runs on my phone, it reads my calendar, emails, searches and location and puts together a curated field of information which is basically a field of hypermedia. Often it can appear creepy, but once you get used to it, it becomes amazing, because all your stuff is in one place. so overall I would like to say im a believer in Hypermedia being the way of the future and I cant wait to see where it takes us.

Late Reaction

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

This week im working on a video regarding the new reaction videos on facebook, you know the ones:

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 5.07.00 PM

Without going into too much detail about the video itself (I will post it here when it is complete) I wanted to touch on the making of Process. The video is filmed in what i like to refer to as my studio, which is really my bedroom and some coloured paper. I set up three lights, one camera and a microphone and hit record. I then roll the camera for sometimes one and a half hours simply capturing footage of myself talking to camera. I usually follow  rough script which is on a laptop just out of frame. Im alone in my room and this means that i can be as silly as i need to be to get my point across and don’t have to worry about embarrassment, i simply cop it all later. Here is a video of me getting distracted in the 12th minute of footage:

 

I am saying “In Cheeye” which is Farsi for “What is this?”… Im learning Farsi… I then say “In Kheily cool bood” which i believe means “This is very cool”… I was alone.

Once I film, the process involves me copying all the information onto a single folder onto my computer, since this video does not have many scenes I can copy all the information into one folder without it getting too confusing:

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 5.16.21 PM

As you can see, the audio and the video are seperate files that need to be synced together later. The editing process starts here, I use Adobe Premiere Pro to go through all the footage and cut it into a final product.

When the editing is complete and I export the video in 1080p and upload it to my YouTube Channel, making sure that I have a cool Thumbnail for the video. Something like this:

Thumb

Once all this is done I share the video link to Facebook and beg my friends to watch it… Simple…

I aim for the final video to be posted by this Sunday the 20th of March… I hope… Now that I have written this post I simply have to follow through…