Sometime this month the 176 videos I have uploaded to my YouTube channel have been collectively viewed more than 1 million times—well, 1,041,448 to be exact. It’s pretty crazy to think videos I have uploaded have been watched that many times, particularly because most of my videos are either joke videos, family videos, video game snippets, or clips from films that I have blogged about over the last five years (that’s right, bavatuesdays turns five years old in less than a month).
And the community on YouTube is vigorous to say the least, I get anywhere from 10-15 comments a day on my videos, and friend and subscriber emails regularly. But I never feed the comment community there because it has always for me been a staging area for the blog where I can really contextualize what I put up there. Which is kind of ironic given how much I use YouTube myself for research, nostalgia, blogging, and general entertainment. I have a weird relationship with YouTube, but of all the Web 2.0 tools I find I use Wikipedia and YouTube far more than any others—save maybe Google search.
What’s interesting is that the most traffic on my YouTube channel has been garnered by two videos. The screencast/demo of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Atari 2600 game I did a few years back which has 126,000 views.
The other one is the “Patriotic Popeye” cartoon I posted as a joke for the 4th of July three years ago which has a 134,000 views.
So these two rather unremarkable videos are responsible for more than a third of all my views on YouTube over the last three years. But where it gets interesting is that the other 600,000 or 700,000 are spread out around various clips of films I’ve uploaded. The views on these clips make up the bulk of my channel’s traffic, which is very encouraging to me. My personal videos and joke videos get a very small amount of traffic, but the movie clips are gold. And one of the things I pride myself on is that I have always tried to upload decent quality clips from good films that at the time I uploaded them did not already exist on YouTube. I felt like I was helping build out the unbelievable open and public archive that was and is YouTube. A public square for good film clips which provides an indispensable service to contemporary culture that you really can’t find anywhere else. Possibly the second best thing—and a very, very distant second—is the Internet Archive. I wanted to help build the archive that is YouTube, and over the last three years I have. Here are some of the movie clips I have uploaded along with their views to give you a sense of how these rather marginal films have a regular and consistent audience of fans on the internet:
The beginning of RIchard Siodmak’s The Killers (1946) —the first film clip I ever uploaded to YouTube (26,379 views).
The trailer for The Miracle Mile (1988) –not the best quality but I actually found the video on MySpace and downloaded and ported it to YouTube a few years ago (51,196 views)
THe Repo Code scene from Alex Cox’s masterpiece Repo Man (1984) with 59,450 views.
The openings of two of my favorite films by John Carpenter, the 1976 classic Assault on Precinct 13 (26,242 views) as well as Jamie Lee Curtis narration at the beginning of his 1981 apocalyptic visionEscape from New York (57,422),
And then there is the internet scene from David Croneberg’s Scanners (14,969).
And even Mario Bava’s The Whip and The Bodywith 41,950 views—a little bondage always helps those stats!
And then I can’t forget the Italian TV vignettes with the great Totò I published. Like Totò Cassiere with a healthy 49,830 views.
So while most of my 176 videos have less than 100 views, the clips I have been sharing out for films and video games have resonated rather widely. As for the final class of videos, well there are maybe 20-30,000 views on all my video art stuff. The only one of these videos with more than 1000 hits is The EdTech Survivalist with 1780 whopping views (I love this video):
After than it gets fewer and fewer. But somehow, some way, what has become a part of my process of posting to my blog–namely uploaded and sharing video I created or wanted to critique—has hopefully fed the same joy I feel every time I search YouTube for a movie clip and hit the jackpot. It is a very good feeling, and I want to share in some of the work.