Despite approaching my forties and working with websites and computers for almost all of my working life, I'm a relative newcomer to the video sharing website, YouTube. In fact, it's fair to say that I deliberately avoided it for many months. During that time, whenever I happened to see clips posted around the web, in forums, and on television, they seemed to be of teenagers who still find the fun in falling from a skateboard, farting to a camera, or, for the really talented, combining the two acts at the same time. Regardless of the act, I found it all a little puerile.
However, I was teased from under my cloak of avoidance by some really good dog-training videos, particularly those of AaseLange and yolle555. They convinced me that YouTube can be a tool for the greater good - educating and inspiring others to do better things. Since getting my camcorder I've become hooked; I am submitting videos like it's going out of fashion. Though, I should mention that will slow down as I become more selective in the future. At the moment, I'm treating it like a repository to house all of my efforts, until I decide which efforts are worth housing. Make sense? But anyway...
Obviously, as the Queen and I do not fart, and the only skateboard likely to find its way into the house would be for Ellie's use, I was unable to join the legions of teenagers and post videos of my farting from a skateboard, and so I've posted videos of Ellie and I working and playing together.
Overall, things have been positive and I'd quite forgotten the reasons for my initial dislike of YouTube. But then.....
Yesterday, for reasons that I'm afraid I have no knowledge of, one of our videos was "featured". I have no idea who features such videos, why they do so, or really what it means. What I do now know is that it's like waving a red flag to a bull in terms of bringing out comments from idiots. I receive email notifications when someone comments or subscribes to my videos. Yesterday, my e-mail inbox was pinging like a microwave during a teenager's three-course meal. At first, I felt quite proud, until I started reading the comments, that is...
I don't like acidic or caustic people at the best of times. They strike me as bitter, small, and very shallow. They need the energy that an offended response brings about, in order to feel worthwhile. They will go out of their way to search for posts and videos that they can respond to. They have to, as they need the "fix" that a good argument brings about. If left unchecked, they quickly suck all that is good out of everything that they infest. I've little time for these people.
I'm also struck by the futility of it all. What is supposed to happen after I read these comments? What does the author REALLY want to happen when I read his or her comment?
My guess is that I'm supposed to feel angry and pencil a rage-filled response. That's never going to happen as time is too precious a gift to waste on fools. Maybe I'm supposed to take the comment to heart and feel bad? Again, that's never likely to happen either. I read them, I wonder about the author's mental state at the time of writing, and I delete. I have found, over the years, the best way to deal with such people is to starve them of a response. That is, after all, their oxygen.
Out of well over a hundred comments, I was able to retain about twenty or so of them. That's how petty, bitter, and juvenile the others were. In fact, many of the ones I've kept aren't great, but I felt a little mean in some cases, in that perhaps I wasn't getting what they really meant.
The main theme of the comments was to ask me how the hell my "stupid dog video" got featured, as though I might have the answer. (If I did, I'd ensure that none were ever featured again, I can tell you.) One of my favourites, that I kept was:
It might be cool to train a dog to fetch like this, but I think it's not really something the dog would enjoy doing. I'm sure that border collies are not bred for this.
I can only presume that this is as opposed to the Golden Labrador, which, as we all know, has been bred over generations to retrieve remote controls.
I was going to reply but really, life is too short isn't it? Aside from that, someone else did it for me, and in a much more succinct manner than I would have:
WTF are they bred for? For some random family to feed and occasionly take for a walk?!?
That was something else that I noticed through my experience: the vast majority of people who post comments to YouTube, cannot spell.
So, there you have it, my YouTube experience. For the record, the comments are still coming in fast and furious. Though more furious than fast now.