Video, YouTube, and "But what is it for?"


I finally caved and started watching videos from an extremely popular YouTube "maker".

The video style is plain, but communicates the process of making each project pretty well. It has no artistic flair or mood, though. The thing I keep noticing is just how hard the showrunner pushes their brand and products. It's on damn near everything. It's worse than the average New Yankee Workshop for ad-masquerading-as-education.

If anything, it stresses on me just how much YouTube makers are a *business*. You have to do these things to succeed in that world, because the projects themselves are so damn expensive. The tools are expensive. The shop space is expensive.

A lot of channels do videos as a way to advertise their existing business (construction, fabrication, restoration), whereas some do videos *as* their business. Channels with the explicit purpose of education, usually end up with the latter and go the sponsors/patreon/merch route for sustainability.

So what is it that I want out of this? Making things isn't my living, it's not even a "side hustle". I like having projects, and I like writing about them. Sometimes that's with the intent to educate, but that's hard with many of my more complicated projects. There are simply so many fundamentals and prior knowledge necessary; if I had to cover everything needed to build the Switchwire, I might as well write the Infinite Jest of 3D printer how-tos.

At my core, I'm not much of a writer but a diarist. I write to help me process, to think, sometimes to make decisions or solve problems. If it weren't for the internet, I'd probably only keep this in paper journals or notebooks. Yet, there is the internet and it can be fun to share these out loud, as it were. 

In this capitalistic culture, there's increasingly limited leisure time and spending money unless if you happen to be among the wealthy. A lot of people turn their hobbies into side hustles. In the least, this is to support the hobby itself. Others, however, manage to make it into their livelihood. I'd rather be the former, rather than the latter, but I'd rather be neither at all. Yes, some projects or public writing can go on to be actually useful, but I'd rather simply not need the pretense. We should live in a society where such leisure time and activities are seen as a privilege of the wealthy. Still, it is nice to at least have the attention.

The problem is...well, temptation. We don't live in that society (despite it being such a pathetically small thing to ask of it). Sometimes, asking for monetary help is the only way some of these projects ever happen. Other times those projects may remain possible, but make take an agonizingly long time to acquire all the necessary materials or tools. And then there's the attention. Treating all of this as a side hustle provides known avenues to advertise. This is also an on-ramp to all the rest of the undesirable capitalistic ballast which goes with it; it's no longer a hobby, it's a second job.

There's also the fact that trauma plays into this, but that's a whole subject in of itself.

So, what's it all for? Why do all these posts if so many of them are epistolary nonsense and not "something useful"? Perhaps the answer is in this self-same post. It doesn't matter if it's useful. It doesn't matter if it has no reason to exist. There's no need for a reason at all.

It really can be, "writing helps me, and I like to share."