More Video Views Than People Living in Top 20 US Cities?

When I think about uploading a video to YouTube, I envision five audiences:

  1. The people I know in online video- fellow creators and members of the online-video community.
  2. Permanent record: is the video going to be a tattoo I might regret? Will it cause my kids or family any embarrassment that I haven’t already inflicted?
  3. The folks I know from “meat space” (not virtual). Friends, family, neighbors. Most don’t watch.
  4. My professional colleagues (most who don’t watch).
  5. The rest of the people on planet Earth who might stumble into a video by accident.

So this morning (while in the midst of crunching numbers for our annual Marketing Plan) I’m thinking about how 500,000 views for a recent “scary maze” and why a Pesto recipe video (5,000 or so views) got 100 times fewer views. I’m thinking 5,000 is kinda lame, and maybe I should stay away from recipes. But then I realize that 5,000 is actually a lot of people.

What would it feel like if 5,000 people showed up in my front yard one day to see me?

So’s then I become curious about physical metaphors for the total number of times my videos have been viewed across the globe… somewhere between 30 and 40 million (hard to count beyond YouTube and a lot of my stuff is ripped). These numbers don’t include television audiences when my clip appears- these are straight, measured online views.

Even 35 million is about 1/3 of the total people that watched the last episode for M*A*S*H or the latest Superbowl (which, of course, is far from comaring apples to apples).

Then I run a list of the population for the top 20 US cities. According to Wickipedia, there are about 32 million people in the top cities. Some of my videos are presumably viewed by multiple people at a once, and more are maybe viewed  by the same people more than once. I would imagine there’s a high “abandonment” rate in the first 30 seconds, so although 3O million views at an average 2.3 minutes sounds like I wasted maybe 150 days of cumulative human lives, it’s probably far less.

And here’s the irony. I walk around with my Nalts hat all the time, and outside my own community, I’ve been recognized exactly one time… 2 weeks ago at the LA airport by three young girls. I was speaking with Charles Trippy on my cell, and told him I had to hang up because fans were waiting.

I’m glad I can’t see everyone’s eyes. I used to get stage fright standing in front of an autitorium of 400 people. The thought of the New Orleans Superbowl filled 400 times over is a little daunting.

So even if you have a few hundred views, think of it in physical terms. It’s kinda surreal.

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

24 thoughts on “More Video Views Than People Living in Top 20 US Cities?”

  1. So, to apply your metaphor to my videos, most have been viewed fewer times than my mother’s hometown in far northwestern Nebraska, 20 miles from the Wyoming border and 100 miles south of the South Dakota border.

    God, I feel SOOOOO much better about myself.

  2. colleagueofnalts, you beat me to the punch! I’m usually the one who complains about Kevin’s typos and misspellings.

    It is actually kind of scary; all those people that have seen your videos, even if a lot of them are the same people over and over again, that’s still a lot of people. I don’t even have a viewership the size of a small town in Nebraska. Most of my videos have fewer views than a decent-sized classroom.

  3. Let’s see, the one time I was recognized for my youtube videos was at Barnes & Noble by a kid in a Harry Potter outfit. I’m still not proud of that whatsoever.

    And for the record, I’ve “looked into the eyes” of probably pretty big percentage of all the people who have watched my videos. You see, I’m kind of a big deal here in Wisconsin, but no where else. According to the Youtube Analytics tool, though, Canadians really like my dad!

  4. Oh, on another note, my videos have been viewed 4 more times than the population of Poughkeepsie, Washington, and 400 times more than the population of Humptulips, Washington!

    Take that Nalts! (And yes, there is a real place called “Humptulips”)

  5. Haaa haaa haaa. Reubnick got stalked by Potter, and Sukatra has a small town of Nebraska. And Marquis admits to doing shrooms. And Marilyn is still finding typos that coworker found too. And babysitterofnalts decided not to tell the Internet I wear banana hammocks because I can’t fit the boxers in my increasingly tight slacks (wtf happened to getfatwithnalts)?

  6. I think you forgot to subtract the times where you watch you own video over and over again, that shaves a couple of million off at least.

  7. The only time I get views higher than 50 or 60 is when someone else helps me out. I’m scared to get recognized in public. they may have seen the videos I took down.

  8. Ooooh an opportunity to brag about the time I got recognized in a big city!

    I got recognized in the Apple Store in Chicago by some dude who looked to be early 20s with a hot girlfriend that was very disinterested in both myself and everything else in the Apple store.

  9. I get recognized all the time in my town. I can’t go out in public without hearing “Hi, Mrs. Case!” That’s what happens when you are a teacher. It even happens in the locker room of the community center. Which is why I stopped going.

  10. I never get recognized, even Nalts forgets who I am and I work with him. But then again so does my mother and my wife….Hmmm…there might be a pattern to this.

  11. I’m gonna rant to fill in some space then slide off topic, maybe, probably.

    There are two ways to look at online media.
    1. The stuff you want to do and share.
    2. The stuff that will make you money.
    A combination of the two is the ideal.
    So that makes almost 3.

    What I’ve observed outside this medium is, most of the world (the US) has no idea who any of you people are. I have yet to find one person outside the inside of online circles who have even heard of ze frank let alone Smosh, everything just moves way too fast, but there is something to be said for sticking to it, slow and steady…

    Basically, you are all just entertaining each other. For all the exposure You Tube gets the core or guts of You Tube or any online media is still an insider’s joke and the only way for anyone to actually become a “huge hit” or make the transition is to have, find, build connections and get on, ugh, yes, TV. TV is still the king and tells the masses what to do and where to go. I think the amount of money the two political parties spend on television makes this assertion a solid claim. However, I do believe that will change. There is a new generation of viewers that have never-not-known the internet; what present day 14 year old never heard of You Tube?

    Robonick can you do a scientific survey for us in the middle of Nowhere WI and ask your peers? Impress your social studies and math teachers with the results.

    Demographic-wise, that’s the core audience and unfortunately, few 14 year olds have the kind of disposable income needed to support this medium. Most of the ads you see on You Tube are only preparation for that future market. The money makers, those with real disposable income are busy watching the Nightly News and fill in the reality show. [Viagra and Lipitor Ads Here]

    The potential of online and for online communities has barely been scratched and the approach seems to be more of the same old boring business model of dog eat dog; though the potential could be so much more.

    In many ways it’s truly American, combined with a still sloppy and unorganized grass roots murmur.

    You saw Obama’s Ditsy Girl, Nader digging up Anarchist and an Older Super Cool Punk Rocker Patti Smith, Gravel grabbing some of that Obama Girl, well catch Ron Paul! The most unsexy guy ever to run in a presidential race wins the sexiest video and catchiest tune of the year award:

    Too bad we don’t pick our leader according to one of the best music video on You Tube. Freedom is so damn sexy!

    Still, there are some great stories and wonderful connections to be made online, but no matter how many meet ups or gatherings people hold there will always be that invisible wall between the creator and the audience, and the power grab being made by Comcast, AT&T, MS, Google, Viacom, CorporBehemoths… the future of the Internets seems to be headed towards, merely, TV on Steroids [click] <– predicted by 2012 – mdj was right!

    Dystopianly Yours,

  12. My videos have allegedly been viewed by the equivalent of two San Antonios. If only I could get all those people together at Camp Bullis, we could start the revolution.

  13. Jan comes in with this sober wakeup call… hope this changes or that she’s wrong! 🙂

    Basically, you are all just entertaining each other. For all the exposure You Tube gets the core or guts of You Tube or any online media is still an insider’s joke and the only way for anyone to actually become a “huge hit” or make the transition is to have, find, build connections and get on, ugh, yes, TV.

  14. I was far from sober when I wrote that, no, wait, that was sukatra I was completely sober, never mind.

    anyway, I had second thoughts about leaving that line and a few others in there, but I felt since there is this huge power grab going on from big corporate media and of course the Telecom Immunity Bill that passed in a Democratic Congress, it’s something that needs a serious discussion and I hope there will come a few ideas, plans, or some new paradigm in the future that will avoid these all too controlling forces.

    BUT, It’s been a few weeks since Google got the Viacom ruling, there was this wonderful surge and massive outrage that has all but faded now. Google has decided to abandon it’s users via contempt and appeal so it looks like hope hopped a boat out of town.

    Man, I depressing myself! Think I’ll crawl back into my cave and contemplate dust, rebuild the carburetor and join the sharks.

  15. My highest viewed video is the “cheese” video with 151 views, followed by “Thank you Nalts” which was the reigning supreme for the longest time with 117 views. Don’t be jealous people. Don’t H8! :o)

    Oh, and when I wear my Nalts hat, people just point and laugh in a bad way.

  16. Quote of the week – “Oh, and when I wear my Nalts hat, people just point and laugh in a bad way.”

    Reubi baby! turn that frown up-side-down!

    A Series of Indictments!
    get it? [click]

  17. Even if we are just “entertaining each other”, what’s wrong with that, unless you want to get wealthy and famous (hint, hint, Nalts!). I think most of the “regulars” on this blog enjoy each other’s company, although most of us have never met. Maybe we should have a WVFF meet-up!

  18. Hell with TV. I could have had TV 4 years ago, before I had ANY online following of my own. The comedy group I was in was offered a reality show – but it was to cash in on that stupid blue collar comedy crap. We hated everything about it and turned it down.

    Now I work in an auto parts store… *ahem*

    But the stuff I make on YouTube is not watched by people who make YouTube videos. The VAST majority is people who have NO idea how to make videos… or spell. That to me says the assumption we are entertaining each other is wrong, as I am no where NEAR the highest-viewed person on even this website, let alone YouTube.

    Yes, this stuff is in-jokes now. But that is changing FAST. As people who make videos are building national (and local) audiences, people are starting to get what this YouTube thing is.

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