The Algorithm Had Me!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll be aware that I started a YouTube channel at the end of June this year. I do reviews of comics mainly, with some book, TV and movie reviews sprinkled in. I was delighted when I hit 100 subscribers at the beginning of November. My goal is to reach the magic 1000 over the next couple of years, but I realize how difficult it can be to make any kind of progress on the platform. Goodness only knows how many YouTubers there are in total. Let’s say more than ten!

My videos usually get between 50 and 300 views, and I’m always delighted if they reach triple figures. By a rare stroke of good fortune, my recent review of The Matrix Resurrections got noticed by the infamous “YouTube algorithm” and reached ten thousand views on the day I uploaded it. This was down to luck and very good timing. For once, Japan got a movie release earlier than the rest of the world: December 17th. (I think it was out in Thailand, too.) We have to wait until January 7th for the new Spider-Man movie, though. Doh!

From what I’ve heard, if people are watching and commenting on your video in high enough numbers, the “algorithm” kicks in and starts recommending it to viewers. So if someone searches for the subject of your video, it shows up near the top of the results. This is very difficult to achieve if you’re a small channel like mine. As I said, very fortunate timing.

I gave the movie an “average” rating and said I was disappointed by it. That’s all. I probably went in with my hopes too high, that’s down to me. It wasn’t an angry rant or a praise-filled rave. What surprised me the most–apart from all the views–was the amount of “harsh” comments I got. Most comments were fine with some very interesting perspectives and theories, as well as background “lore” about the previous films and video games. But I obviously upset a few people with my thoughts, despite trying to focus on the positives in my review.

Now I’m not completely naΓ―ve to the world of social media and its darker side. I was well aware that putting myself out there would leave me open to this kind of reaction. Even so, it was still quite surprising when it happened.

What I’m trying to say is, why does this seem to be happening more and more these days? (Don’t get me started on Twitter!) Especially over something as trivial as a movie review. I’ve seen it happen to much bigger channels that I follow and watch. But little old me with my tiny comic review channel got a few people mad enough to leave a comment telling me why I sucked. It’s funny thinking back about it. Of course a lot of it is down to the anonymity this platform allows you. Also the distance. You’re not face to face with someone, so you don’t have to worry about the consequences of your actions.

Don’t worry, it didn’t bother me. I made an effort to reply to as many comments as I could, even the “brutal” ones. I gave positive replies and thanked people for commenting. I got into some good mini debates and conversations about the Matrix franchise. I also received some very kind and supportive comments. Yeah, it was a wild couple of days.

It’s calmed down now that the movie is out around the world. My views are dropping back down to “normal” levels. One bonus of all the attention is I got a few more subscribers. Now I just have to keep them!

I’m still trying to get my head round the whole “algorithm” deal. It sounds a bit like something out of the Matrix. Sentient A.I. comment-bombing my video. LOL! Someone told me that some of the comments don’t even come from real people! Now that really is a mindjob! I know about spam bots that drop links to “certain sites”, but fake YouTubers leaving comments on my video. Bizarre. It’s probably just a glitch in the matrix. What do you think?

Thanks so much for reading!

-Wakizashi, *doing my last day of work before the winter break. It’s Christmas Eve as I type this and the sun is shining outside. It feels like spring.*

I made a follow-up video giving further thoughts about the movie if you’re interested. It’s only 7 minutes long.

15 thoughts on “The Algorithm Had Me!

  1. Funny! It reminds me of a year when half of our blog’s views were from Germany…for some reason Ola’s review of the Moomins was really popular there for some time…did not translate into long term popularity there, sadly. Algorithms are mysterious, these god’s steering us from afar πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an experience, what a ride! 🀣 As a one-off it can be enjoyable and interesting, I guess. Now, imagine that more posts would need your attention the same way. Iβ€˜d gladly waive that experience and stay calm with my low figures and friendly supporters. Life is hectic enough without social media hiccups!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you got that thrill ride but am even more glad you are ok with settling back down. Getting addicted to the “numbers” game is a big issue for content creators 😦

    And once you start dealing with people on that scale, well, the odds are against you for it all being nice. Unlike having a little blog with just a few commentors who like what you’re writing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a wild ride with all those views and comments — and so fitting that non-human YouTubers left comments on your review of a “Matrix” movie! Maybe this is the lesson: One must be careful when criticizing the Matrix, for the Matrix will know.

    Liked by 1 person

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