I think it’s now safe to say that my “YouTube Drama” experiment has been a rousing success. I took this past month off, and I was surprised by how little the traffic dropped off without new videos. I didn’t drop below 1,000 views a day until the very end of the month, and it was my video critiquing the YouTube channel Whatifalthist that drove the majority of the traffic. It zoomed past the 25,000 view mark I had set to produce a sequel. That 25K makes it my most viewed video in two years. So with my first produced video back I’m starting out with a part two on whatifalthist. Rest assured, I intend to alternate more serious content with YouTube diss tracks going forward, but it’s clear that the diss tracks are what is driving the channel’s renewed growth.
A number of months back I ran a poll asking which of a selection of geopolitics YouTubers I should do a review of. I was surprised to see Whatifalthist win the poll dramatically. The few videos of his I had watched had struck me as inoffensive and vaguely amusing. Having now done a deeper dive, it’s clear I was missing a lot. This kid, and I do mean kid, I think he’s like 22, does delightfully nerdy deep dives on European history, but his takes on countries and events outside of “Western Civilization” are sometimes… problematic. As I looked into it further, I was surprised to find that he has a lot of the same educational gaps and right wing ideological hang-ups that I did when I was 22. It’s an odd artifact of our age that he is working out his ideas with an audience in the hundreds of thousands. I don’t think he should be pilloried for it. This was an interesting video to write. If I were criticizing someone with serious institutional backing, or over the age of 25, I think I would have been a lot harsher. But this kid literally seems to have grown up on-line, starting a YouTube channel half his lifetime ago to answer fun nerd questions. I’m not sure I got the balance right. Let me know what you think.