You Should Be Participating

What a fan-made video game hack taught me about how I tanked my YouTube company

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My first abridged video, originally posted over a decade ago.

You should be watching.

What an incredibly shitty slogan that is.
Not, “You should be participating.”
Not, “You should be co-creating.”
Their directions are, “You should be watching.”

Sit down, shut up, and passively consume what we give you.

This was the company I was emulating. I was telling a community that was accustomed to being co-creative partners in the media they loved, “Sit down, shut up, and wait while we make you more media to passively consume.”

  1. Strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others.
  2. Some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices.
  3. Members who believe their contributions matter.
  4. Some degree of social connection between members, including caring what others think of what they have created.
  1. We weren’t offering support for anyone outside our closed circle to create and share their creations.
  2. There was no system of mentorship whereby we shared what we had learned.
  3. Members felt their contributions didn’t matter.
  4. What social connections did exist were hierarchical; we treated ourselves as beneath the “real” professionals at companies like Funimation, and yet somehow above our own community.

My mistake with Team Four Star was thinking the world needed better media.

It doesn’t.

We’re in a golden age of media. For the price of an Internet connection and a subscription to any of a half-dozen streaming services, I have access to more high-quality media than I could consume if I spent the rest of my life doing nothing else.

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