October 2014: The Worst of Times and the Best of Times

October was a weird month but a fun one. It brought the absolute lowest point in viewership following the channel’s initial expansion. The last month had made it clear that the fall in viewership wasn’t a summer thing, but a broader problem. This made for a grim September, moving from couch to couch in a still sweltering Istanbul. At the beginning of October, however, I moved into a new apartment of my own for the first time in three months, and my spirits rallied considerably. I was pretty sure I had failed and decided to just finish up what I wanted to do and enjoy the ride.

The month’s first video gives a pretty good indication of my attitude at the time. Rather than weigh in on a weighty geopolitical matter, I decided to use my facial hair as a prop and address the possible phenomenon of “Peak Beard”. For the next one I got back to normal ground with a meditation on Douglas MacArthur and standing armies throughout history. It is poorly named, and therefore little watched, but I think it’s a gem, featuring Caligula, Derek Jacobi and Richard Rorty. Next up was a quick vid laying out the ridiculousness of a War on Terror that includes Saudi Arabia as an ally.

The last four videos were the beginning of my long-planned series on criminal justice in the United States. I began planning this series at least a year prior. The channel was initially founded to address these issues, and I wanted to do it right. It felt great to finally get these out there. I’m currently planning my next intensive series, and the somewhat agonizing planning process feels very familiar. I ended up deciding to release two of these a week, with one vid addressing the issues more substantively, and another either telling a story or playing with the format. Three of the eventual ten videos told the stories of my own checkered past with the law in a series called “Arrested While White”. This month’s vids included an introduction, a tale of a high school non-arrest, a video pointing out the problems with trials and plea bargaining, and an attempt at an anti-cop PSA.

As mentioned above, total views were not great this month. They fell back below 5,000, from 5,049 down two 4,480. The total views were a bit misleading though. There were no bumps for leaders from the back-list like the FATCA video. Three of the top five performers this month were all new. Also, all new videos this month managed to break 100 views within a week or two of being uploaded, which is a lot more than could be said for September’s videos. Total views and subscriber count languished this month, lingering in the mid-80 thousands and 400s respectively. At the end of October, we had 54 videos, all but one of which were watched, 48 of which were viewed over 10 times, 8 of which over 100 times, and one over 1,000 (FATCA). The new criminal justice vids performed decently but not surprisingly well. That happened in November, when I finally learned a basic lesson I should have picked up long before…

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