• Michael T. Christensen

The YouTube Video I Didn't Make

I'm getting back into the swing of making YouTube videos, so I'm always keeping an eye out for potential content. Recently, a PDF of a document written by a prolific and popular writer has been circulating Twitter. The document, a Letter to some of his fellow writers, is full of useful writing advice, and I'm glad it's being shared.


I was planning to discuss this Letter on my channel, but that is no longer the plan.


I was actually really excited to make this video. The Letter contains not only good writing advice, but a lot of personality, and it would be fun to structure a video around it. In fact, I considered maybe doing something different with the sections where I read the letter. Maybe I'd use a different set, sit in a smoking jacket (well, a bathrobe) and run those shots through a black & white filter.


Then I thought, Man, it would be funny if I could make myself look a bit like the writer. Does he have a distinctive way he dresses? He has glasses, but what else does he usually wear? What sort of costume could I cobble together for this Bit?


I went to YouTube and looked up the writer, and saw a few videos that made me pause.


One was an hour-long interview where the writer was on Ben Shapiro's show.


Um...


Another was an interview with a caption about "no longer being a brain-dead liberal."


Oh boy.


And another was an interview where he discussed "the truth behind the COVID lockdowns."


Uh-oh.


I did some more Googling, and it turns out the writer, as recently as 2020, said President Trump was a "good President," a thing I strongly disagree with. While I didn't see anything that suggested he didn't believe COVID was real, he didn't seem to see the point in lockdowns, which I also disagree with pretty strongly.


So, with this new context, I decided to scrap the video.

I mentioned this on Twitter, and someone very rightfully asked, what does the writer's political belief have to do with his advice? Isn't the advice still good advice?


Yes, it is. If you find the PDF of the Letter circulating around your Twitter feed, it's worth a read. I plan to print a copy to keep near my desk as a reminder. It's got a lot of good advice.


But taking someone's advice is totally different from promoting their opinions on a YouTube channel. Yes, he's a famous writer, and my video wouldn't open any new doors to him, but I'd still be giving him a platform. And as a small creator, someone who already knew what I learned - that the writer was pro-Trump - might see his name in one of my thumbnails and not click on the video, assuming things about me that I don't want. And I wouldn't blame them - I'm going to be very wary about clicking on any writing advice videos that evoke this writer's name going forward.


I don't want to turn off potential audience members to my content, especially if they assume I have very different politics from my real ones purely over a video I posted.


And besides, I haven't watched a ton of the writer's content, so there's a real chance that I might object to even more of his beliefs than I do now. It's just not something I feel comfortable endorsing, and it's honestly not worth it.


So, back to the salt mines for more video content!

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