This is a revision of a comment post I made on Tim Pool’s YouTube channel.
I have been actively following quite a few YouTube channels since the start of 2017. I learned about one person’s work that I had not heard of before, and he led me directly to others — including Tim Pool. In time I built a collection of loosely related outreach efforts, found on YouTube and Twitter, that reference each other and point me toward more. And that is only one collection. I already had two other unrelated ones that I still follow, though they are not as influential in my life as this one.
The initial reference that started this collection came from a largely unheard of website that I follow because I used to be actively involved with it and because it has been a good source of exactly these kinds of references over the years.
I often hear comments suggesting that YouTube is essential as a site for making these kinds of discoveries. As an individual, I don’t see that. I rarely add a useful channel purely as a result of automated platform suggestions, and I don’t entirely understand why it seems to matter so much that everybody is on the same platform, whether it be content distribution or funding. The YouTube automated suggestions have proven fairly useless because they tend to point to “more of the same” and I have don’t have a lot of use for that. I am looking for DIFFERENT ideas, and those that challenge me personally. I don’t have a lot of time to sit around listening to people I simply agree with. Rather I frequently drop channels from which I am no longer learning.
I can see where content creators might have a different perspective. They see the popularity of YouTube as improving their own chances of success. I’m not sure if I agree with that or not. It might work out in practice to be true, but I am not sure that it is inherently true. The platform that matters is the Internet itself.
The other ways I discover new sources are RSS feeds, via Feedly (which took over after Google Reader was abandoned), and via Google Search itself. The latter is important when I am researching new topics, and potential censorship of search is indeed a very serious concern. Still, I find that the main principle supporting my discoveries is personal networking — primarily online networking these days — and not platform-based advertising, recommendations, or anything of the kind.