The In Third Person YouTube channel has been around for almost a decade. In that time, I’ve uploaded almost 1,000 videos. Some of my videos have been viewed thousands of times. There are a few pieces of content on there that I’m really proud of. Even so, I look at my overall effort there as my biggest failure as a creator.
There are numerous reasons for me being unhappy with it in its current state. I’ve spent years in my own head analyzing my mistakes and beating myself up for letting things get to this point. I’ve learned a lot based on my own experiences and through external sources on what it takes. Now isn’t the time to sit back and reflect anymore. It’s time to work.
Charming and Open is a blogging collaboration organized by Ian at Adventure Rules. Ask him a question and he’ll reply to it in a blog post. In exchange, he’ll ask you a question to answer on your blog. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, head over to Adventure Rules and shoot Ian a question! He wrote an amazing response to my question about his content creator bucket list, which you should check out here:
His question for me is:
“What is something about your hobby as a content creator now that you really enjoy that either wasn’t possible or wasn’t something you thought you’d be interested in when you started out? Put another way, what is a new enjoyment that you have discovered about your hobby since you started blogging?”
Thank you for the question(s), Ian! When I read it back, I saw two unique questions that have their own sets of answers. I will rephrase and answer both. Let’s get it!
In an era of where the conversation about gaming is mostly happening in video, live streaming, podcasting, and social media, the practice of writing about video games is in a weird spot. Though there are no shortage of writers and there will always be an audience seeking gaming-related content in this format, it feels like this medium has shrunk into a niche-of-a-niche. The shift appears so dramatic that the ceiling for success seems much lower as a writer than seemingly any other form of content creator.
With the way things are, it’s impossible for a video game writer to build the audience, revenue, or notoriety approaching anything near Ninja’s level. I love Giant Bomb and Kinda Funny – most of whom started out as writers – but the majority of their success comes from podcasts, videos, and live streams. There are Instagram accounts that have generated six-figure audiences by only posting Fortnite memes. I can see even this reality in my own work, as my tiny Twitch channel generates more money than my blog on a monthly basis with just a fraction of the traffic.
The reality is that creators and their audiences generally prefer to consume their gaming content in those other formats. With the inherent barriers that come with reading and writing versus watching and listening, I feel like writing is always going to get the short end of the stick.
Having said all that, where does that put me, as someone whose been writing for a decade?
Very early on, I knew I wanted video to be a part of the In Third Person content mix. Though I had no experience with the medium, it was the next great frontier for gaming content and I wanted to explore that space.
From getting the right equipment, to learning how to operate video software, to getting a feel for what I want to make, working with video has been a climb. Before we close out the decade, I think it’s worth taking a stroll down memory lane to see how my video content has evolved in the last decade(!). Maybe my story will inspire you to push forward with your video dreams!
Years ago, I wrote a piece about my Sheik Amiibo. As part of that post, I hastily took a picture of Sheik and Zelda standing together. Not thinking much about the artistic merits of the shot itself, they were placed on top of a fighstick with a picture of Spider-Man and I in the background.
Years later, while mining my archives for content to post on the In Third Person Instagram account, I found that picture. I showed it to my wife and asked her, “Hey, what if I post this picture with the caption, ‘Two sides to every story’?”. She replied, “Can you bring those Amiibos to me?”
One of the trendiest phrases in NBA jargon is “load management”. This is the practice of forcing healthy players to sit out regular season games as a means of keeping them fresh for the playoffs. Though its a touchy subject – as it devalues the NBA season while robbing paying fans of their opportunities to see the best players at times – we’re starting to see the potential benefits in this strategy. Case in point: Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors this past season.
Coming off the previous season where he only played 9 out of a possible 82 games due to injury, the Toronto Raptors put Kawhi on an aggressive load management program to keep him fresh. Instead of playing all 82 games, he played about 60, while skipping at least one of two games that were scheduled on consecutive days. Kawhi might have been visibly limping by the end of this past season, but he had enough gas in the tank to lead the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship. Though we’ll never know for certain, there’s a chance his body would have broken down prematurely had he played the season in full.
While I am not a superstar basketball player, applying the concept of load management to the way I manage In Third Person may not be a bad idea.
Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to establish the In Third Person footprint across different online platforms. The blog is home base and should continue to be for the foreseeable future. Twitch has been a major focus of late, having spent hundreds of hours streaming, tinkering with my equipment, building episodes of Boss Rush, and repurposing content for other platforms. Much of that content goes into my Instagram, where it’s used as a space for stream highlights, screenshots, conversation starters, and sneak peeks into my life outside of gaming.
I’ve achieved some success, but there’s also been a lot of failure. The most notable of those is my presence on YouTube.
2018 was a year of growth for In Third Person. From expanding to Twitch, to ramping up my social media presence, to connecting with friends old and new, to raising money for children in need as part of Extra Life, the In Third Person experience ballooned dramatically. Coming from a place where I created and maintained the blog for the nine previous years with no ambitions of reaching an audience beyond myself, it was definitely a shock to the system.
In fact, it’s a shock that I’m still reeling from well into 2019. Despite the many successes of last year, I can’t shake this sense of unease that has taken over me when thinking about what this passion project has become. After lots of introspection and a private conversation or two with others about this dilemma, I finally think I know the root issue.
I entered the video game blogosphere in 2009 with one simple goal: share my thoughts on gaming with the world. There were no ambitions on my end to be the next IGN, PewDiePie, or Angry Video Game Nerd, but I felt like I had a lot of things to say and maybe I would find some sort of audience along the way. In that time, In Third Person has generated over 400,000 pageviews, over 30,000 video views on YouTube and Facebook. With the Amazon Affiliate program, I’ve even made a few dollars here and there. Nothing that allows me to quit my full time job, but some bonus scratch is always welcome.
Truly thankful to you and everyone else that has supported my musings for the better part of a decade. That being said, the world of being a content creator is very different in 2017. Seeing it evolve, and taking the lessons I’ve learned along the way, let me take a look in the mirror and see where I stand.