I recently watched this video from Julian Smith about why he hadn’t posted very much video in 2017. Julian Smith makes weird, dark comedy sketch videos that attract millions of views, but in his recap video for 2017, he said that it was crazy to him that the views, the money, the success, none of it really made him happy. He considered walking away from technology to enjoy the simple life, but after considering the option it didn’t make that much sense. “I want to live in 2017,” he says two-thirds of the way into the video.
“I don’t want to live that life and here’s why because as romantic as that life seems, that life is in the past, that’s a dying chapter in humanity unfortunately. I want to live in 2017 because that’s why I’m that’s where I live right now that’s where I am. I should live where I am.” Julian Smith. I Was Here (5:46)
Keeping this in mind, my mantra for 2018 is “MORE LIVE VIDEO”. I don’t exactly know what I want to do with the medium, but it is something that I think creators are still trying to figure out now that we can stream live from almost any platform (instagram, youtube, facebook). Currently, the easiest thing for me to do is to broadcast myself live when I am cooking. I set up my phone or my laptop and I cook in front of my live streaming camera. It’s not particularly good television, but guess what, it’s not television. This is a newer medium with newer rules, and the demands of the consumer are different.
I’ve noticed that my tastes sometimes lean towards the more “boring” ends of the spectrum. In the same way people like staring at aquariums, I find that when one feels overstimulated, one gravitates towards a predictable medium. Sometimes we want to “turn off” or “veg out” in front of something mindless. This week, I watched a twelve minute video of a man sharpening a knife. I’ve provided a link below because the video is honestly enthralling, but it speaks to this idea that we no longer have to be wild, goofy, and entertaining to garner an audience.
A handful of my friends will play podcasts or youtube in the background while they are working on projects because it fills the room with ambient noise. It’s akin to what we used to do when we turned on the radio or the tv in the background while we cooked or cleaned. Live video moves in real time, which means that we can allow it to do something similar.
I have a long list of ideas of things I want to pursue this year. I want to create “Google Doc Playgrounds” with my friends where we all try to write a novel at the same time. I want to re-invent the experience of reading a book since people seem to like the act of buying books more than they actually like spending time reading them. I want to listen to more podcasts and figure out how to politely recommend media without drowning people in their “to-watch lists”. There are so many new and exciting problems happening in 2018, and one of the ways to tackle them is to face them head-on instead. I want to live in 2018.
My friends worry that I’ve “drank the Kool Aid”, which suggests that buying into the vision of new technology is a leap of faith that will ultimately kill me and the world I live in. However, how can we learn how to use the new tools presented to us if we sidestep them? Of course it’s easier and simpler to live in a world without technology because we’ve more or less figured how to do a majority of things. I am more interested in how we can modify this rapidly evolving future to become sustainable and livable.