Where's the YouTube Video?

I’ve spoken at a few meetups recently where people have asked later where the YouTube video is. Well, folks, here’s the deal. I’m asking for the time being that community events and meetups don’t publish recorded videos of talks that I’m giving remotely - and here’s why.

First: I want people to actually attend these events, live - and so do the organisers. We want an audience, we want questions, we want people hanging around afterwards for a drink and a Zoom chat. The social contact is part of the experience. You don’t get that watching a video afterwards.

Second: as much as I’m enjoying being part of these online events, I’ll be the first to admit that they are very different experience to speaking at a live, in-person event. Even if it’s the same talk; the venue, audience, camera angles, all that comes through in a recorded video. I’ve always been happy having a camera in the room when I’m speaking and sharing the video afterwards, because it’s obvious that watching the video afterwards is like watching sports on TV. It’s obvious that it’s a recording of a real thing that actually happened, and that the folks who were in the room at the time had a very different experience to the one you’re having watching it on YouTube - and, let’s face it, you’re probably watching it at 1.5x normal speed on your iPad while you’re doing emails or writing some JavaScript. Definitely not the same experience.

But with online events, the boundary between “live” and “recorded” gets a bit.. fuzzy. When I speak at remote events, it’s always me, in the same room, doing the same talk, to the same camera. Sure, I change things around to suit the event, wear a different shirt, add slides, take questions from the audience, those kind of things - but fundamentally, it’s the same thing. And I don’t see a huge amount of value in having five different versions of the same talk on five different YouTube channels when all of them are just me doing the same talk to the same camera in the same room. Audience Q&A and live chat don’t come through terribly well on these recordings, either.

Finally: if I’m going to stand in my home studio for an hour, mic’ed up, lights on, talking to a high-definition camera, it seems a little silly that the recording of that which ends up getting published is an unedited single take recorded over the wrong end of a YouTube stream, y’know?

If you’re paying me to speak? Different story. You give me money, you get to make the rules. That’s different. We’re all trying to figure out a whole new revenue model for events and conferences right now, and if you have an audience who want to pay for my talks, I’m more than happy to work with you on producing something that works for everybody.

But for free meetups and community events - I’ll join you live, I’ll give you the best talk I possibly can, I’ll stick around and answer questions and chat… but after that, it’s over. Missed it? That’s OK. There will be another one - and hey, it’s not like the travel will be a problem. 😉