Reiterating Engagement

Maybe it’s weird to talk about online engagement when my blogging has been so spotty over the last few weeks. We’ve just been traveling around so much lately that I’ve been using my blogging time to catch up on work and actually accomplish the things instead of setting aside the time to reflect on and blog about the things.

Two weeks ago, I put up that Letters to July video. It’s the most fun I’ve had putting something together in awhile. First of all, I’ve just been dying to shoot something in the anamorphic style 2.35 aspect ratio. I don’t know if that sounds ridiculous or not, it’s just the truth, and seeing my final footage all 2.35 cropped made me so happy. Plus, playing in a tone I don’t typically employ was a nice break as well.

But when I talk about engagement, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about. YouTube communities do different types of themed videos all the time. Many times they revolve around a certain YouTubers temporary creative crises and then everybody weighs in with their own thoughts on the platform, but sometimes everyone makes a video about charities, or everyone talks about a list of 5 particular things, or everybody gives a tour of their room. Just a fun thing to do.

I think Letters to July is a particularly addictive formula. It’s quiet and lovely; everyone loves distilling their lives into a series of nicely rendered images, just look at Instagram; and it has a very particular timeframe. You can do one anytime in July. Since it’s annual, it’s also a nice way to check in every year and see how you’ve changed and where you now are.

But engaging in these kinds of community-oriented videos is exactly what I’m talking about when I tell people how to connect with online communities. Whenever people ask me how to become involved in online communities they basically want to hear THE TRICK that will get people to WATCH THEIR THING. But this is all part of that. I actually follow other people in the online communities and engage with them when they draw me in. Other people within those communities recognize that I have a common interest with them and they might check out my channel based on our mutual interests. It’s probably a very small part of how we got our audience, but I think it’s pivotal. The problem is it has to be genuine. You have to have an active interest in the content and the community in which you are engaging, because it’s pretty easy to spot a vlogging phony. So, it’s a commitment. If you dive in though, and you actually start becoming a part of these communities and comments conversations, it’ll probably stop feel mercenary and promotional relatively soon. Because it’s just participating in an excellent and ongoing conversation with some really great folks. Over and over.

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

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