30 July 2012

Now You See Me

You know you can deep link to specific times in YouTube right? Just add "#t=3m40s" to the end of the link. The best use of this is avoiding the stupid ads by adding "#t=0m1s" onto something when ads start popping up. YouTube is wising up to this so it doesn't always work, but I pretty much automatically append the #t to any video I watch just in case it can save me fifteen to thirty seconds.

So lately I've been cruising through book blogger videos. Lest there be some confusion, these aren't just bloggers who also happen to do vlogs, but book bloggers whose main online presence is a YouTube channel. They call themselves "BookTubers." I don't know when this happened, perhaps last month when I was on a lake without Wifi -- the horror, the horror. Otherwise I don't know how such a phenomenon could have slipped by me.

I mean, I hate it when an online community springs up and I'm totally behind. Who are the right people to stalk? How can I figure out where it all started? Is there a handy list of participants somewhere? Actually, there is! Liz from elizziebooks has a directory of BookTubers on her site. Most of them are just bloggers who also do vlogs but if you click on all of them -- not saying I did that, but maybe I did -- you'll find out which ones are true BookTubers, forgoing Blogger, Wordpress, or Tumblr, and just relying on pure YouTube. Brave souls.

This is probably the wave of the future/present. Who can be bothered to write things out these days? We should just be happy people are still reading right? What I'm trying to figure out is what video adds to the experience. Having a talking head doesn't do it for me. I'd rather read the words and get it over with quick. If you have pictures, just line'em up and I'll take those too. But I hate having things dictated to me. Of course, this is because I'm strictly a visual learner and I can't even really intake audio books. "Wait, what did it just say?" Rewind.

Of course I can see why video is appealing to people, especially for the generations after me who grew up on YouTube, but I need a compelling reason to watch anything over a minute online. Is this a sign of old age, summer nights spent reminiscing about the days when you could barely upload an animated GIF, much less actual moving images? Despite my personal preferences, I'm gonna give BookTubing a whirl and figure out which ones I like best.

The message is the medium, blah blah blah.

I'm starting with This Week in YA. TWIYA is a nicely produced BookTube series that showcases movie tie-ins, does cover reveals, highlights publishing stuffs, and covers the general young adult scene. It's like an E! News hosted by identical twins Jeffrey and Jeremy -- one of them wears glasses, one does not. Devyn Burton of Teen Author Carnival is also involved.

I would love to know how long it takes them to produce each of the videos, which run for about ten minutes each. Impressive work, impressive time commitment. TWIYA also does a New Releases Tuesday feature with elizzie -- who also does a separate BookTube news segment on her own that introduces new BookTubers.

xObsessedReaderx did a "10 Quick Tips for New Book-Tubers" video way back in December 2011. I feel like she had to be way ahead of the curve. Or I'm more behind than I thought. And here's gregglies with "Why I Love the BookTube Community." He also did a "YORO not YOLO" video which I found amusing. I just found out what YOLO meant the other day -- don't laugh -- but YORO doesn't really work does it? You don't only read once. You can reread forever. Still, I like gregglies' enthusiasm.

How about Anosmic Aussie, who I'm recommending on the strength of name alone. I had to Google "anosmic" to figure out what it meant. Apparently it's the inability to perceive odors. Anyone smart enough to know that word is someone I should probably listen to more. Plus Casey recently covered The Eyre Affair which George and I need to read soon.

This has to be a first: A minority male recommending a YA book with a minority male on the cover! Applause all around for booksandbits. Tell him what he's won Jack: "A brand new diversity prize pack!" Finally, I'm following CassJayTuck and The Book Chronicles because both have a lot of viewers so that has to mean something.

And there's already been a BookTuber semi-controversy, set off by "5 Reasons Girls BookTube MORE Than Guys (A Discussion)." I'll highlight two of MathomBooks' reasons for you. Number one, girls like talking more than boys. Number three, girls are more indoorsy. Okaaaay. I couldn't tell if this was a parody video or actually serious. Pretty much I stopped watching at reason number three. However, I did watch a few of the responses so I guess people did take his incredible (sexist) insights for real.

While the majority of BookTubers are indeed female, I've already seen a whole lot more males doing it than those who have YA blogs. Why this is I couldn't tell you. Maybe Kaleb Nation is having a trickle down effect?

You won't believe how much time I just spent writing this post. I could have read so many longform.org... Perhaps BookTubers are onto something, it's simply faster to make a video than it is to type stuff out. Also, it's dawning on me that a lot of BookTubers are foreign, which means maybe I'm not that behind. Or maybe I overreached a bit describing the whole thing as a phenomenon. Well, until I see the NY Times article on it, I'm never going to know if I was ahead or behind the curve.

Actually my number one question concerning BookTubers, who seem to be primarily high schoolers or just entering college, is where they find the time. Is nobody studying in our universities? Aren't there classes to attend, homework to do, parties and social things to feel awkward at? I applaud the tech savvy, forward thinking, youth of today, they are totally going to take over the world.

If they haven't already.