We’re far from the pioneering days of YouTube, yet there are a number of habits – many of which are vestiges of the old school broadcasting world – that are still prevalent among modern YouTubers. We’re going to look at three of them.
1: The Mass Greeting
It feels like every YouTube video starts with the words “hey guys!”
I studied radio broadcasting in college. One of the first things they told us is that you’re talking to one person. You want to create a relationship and a sense of intimacy with your audience. Addressing a faceless mass is not the best way to do this. And depending on how you do it, it may even come off as being a bit arrogant or condescending.
The mass greeting is also a throwback to the dominance of traditional broadcast media in the twentieth century. In decades past, you’d have one TV or one radio in the house. You had whole families consuming media together. Today most media consumption is done on an individual level. The mass greeting is no longer relevant, and it hasn’t been for a very long time.
If you want a master class in intimacy and building a relationship with an audience, watch Mister Rogers. Part of his magic was making you feel like the only person in the world, which is incredibly difficult to do on television.
2: The Mic Switch
I remember noticing this in some of the earliest YouTube videos. The host would use a dedicated mic while they talked over images and clips. Then once the host was on-camera, there was this sudden switch to the camera mic. This was very jarring, but I always figured this would go away as people got better equipment and videos became more sophisticated. Well they got better equipment and they made better videos, but somehow the awkward mic switch still remains to this day.
3: The Old News Anchor
This one requires some audio support.
I’m exaggerating a bit, but I think you can hear what I’m getting at and how it can come across as inauthentic. Exactly zero people talk like this in real life. How this habit made its way into the twenty-first century is anyone’s guess, especially when you consider most of the people making YouTube videos weren’t even alive when this style of speech was in its heyday. If you want to build a relationship with your audience, start by being authentic. Be yourself.