3.07.2010

YouTube Videos: Persistence is Not Key

Every time I play bingo, I think to myself  "I've played this game so many times, I'm bound to win tonight, especially since I've lost so many times before," as if the amount of times I've lost is in any way correlated to my winning.

No, I'm not a gambling addict, and I do realize that there is absolutely no strategy or logical way to play bingo. It's a game of pure luck. I know it is not true, but I just can't help thinking that the more I play (and pay), the more likely I am to win (I must add that almost every time I play, the player who wins the $500 game is sitting within feet of my seat, won't their luck will eventually rub off?)

Apparently I am not alone in my way of thinking, in that
"it is widely believed that persistence in most endeavors is key to their success...people are willing to endure failures before achieving a desired goal."
This comes from an interesting study, A Persistence Paradox, which tests the hypothesis that persistence equals success, by evaluating YouTube videos.

In this report, Fang Wu and Bernardo Huberman studied the production histories and success dynamics of 10 million videos uploaded to YouTube, and found that
"while the average quality of submissions does increases with the number of uploads, the more frequently an individual uploads content the less likely it is that it will reach a popularity threshold."
Unlike bingo, YouTube video success is not measured by monetary value. Instead, it is measured by the amount of attention received. With my previous posts in mind, "Citizen Marketers," and "Crisis Communication," I wonder if the same concepts apply to influencers in social media.

The past several weeks I've been learning about and exploring the major impact ordinary consumers can have on major businesses and brands (see previous posts on Kevin Smith for example). If it's true that
"producers on average receive higher ratings for their later videos, while getting decreasing hit ratios with increasing number of submissions,"
It may also be true that for those persistent folks who attack large companies and corporations using social media tools like YouTube videos perhaps, but also Twitter, or Facebook - that their initial attacks are more influential than their later complaints? In this case, while it is important for organizations to respond to citizen marketer's complaints through outlets like YouTube and Twitter, they need not worry as much about repeated complaints and may be able to focus more energy on the initial ones.

In the game of bingo, although I persist (I continue to play despite my losing record), I at least enjoy the game. I enjoy playing and being with friends. For those without initial success on YouTube, who persist in uploading videos even when they receive few or no hits, I wonder if they truly enjoy the process - or are just seeking their 15 minutes? I really do wonder, especially when
"the conditional hit probability for YouTube is worse than the lottery from the second video thereafter"
...guess I have better luck winning it big in bingo than producing a top hit YouTube video.

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting. Obviously, most people do tend to think that persistence pays off. Otherwise, we’d probably be unmotivated in certain endeavors. But the fact that for YouTube, persistence actually doesn’t seem to pay off, is not something I expected. I’m not too familiar with uploading content to YouTube, but I would assume that if the same user uploaded five consistent videos, they’d get more coverage than another user who only posted one. But as you informed us, that is not the case at all. The key in producing a popular YouTube video comes from getting the right exposure and attention, which has little to do with how many videos you can upload. I really like the way you compared this to playing bingo. It really shows how persistence can work for or against you depending on the situation. I also really like that you found a connection to social media tools. Based on your information, the initial responses given from a corporation or company are far more important than the ones that proceed. This just seems like your classic case of first impressions being the most important and I really like that you pointed that out as well.

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