Delusions of Grandeur : Stats

This season of my video show/stream/whatever is entitled “Delusions of Grandeur”, basically because the only way I could swindle myself into doing it was to pretend that I had an audience. I already know everything I’m typing, and I’ve already seen everything that I post as a video, so the only reason to post them is for other people to see/read them, for whatever reasons they might have.

The problem with this is that since the audience isn’t real, I do whatever I feel like doing. If I feel like playing guitar, I do that. If I feel like talking to myself, I do that. If I feel like making a 15-minute documentary about Harlem, I do that.


The Harlem Renaissance 5-Mile Classic

Because of this, there are lots of different reasons that people visit my site. They visit from all over the planet, but they basically arrive through a Google search. Maybe a couple of times a day, someone’s actually looking for me (or someone named Bill Cammack), but the vast majority of the time, people are looking for ONE INSTANCE of a topic that they were thinking about at the time and decided to look up on google, like Dating women in NYC and they end up here.

I know this because web sites compile stats (statistics). People go to major lengths to compile and analyze statistics in order to determine what’s working for them, what’s not working and what they want to do next or differently, going forward. There are some major problems with “analyzing stats”, however… rather… I *should* say that if you’re not sure what you’re looking at, you’re going to have a skewed view of your readership/viewership… AND… Even if you *DO* know what you’re looking at, you’re still not receiving information which accurately depicts what’s really happening with your media.

Originally, I thought stats were the answer to DoG, because you would be sure about the size of your audience. Unfortunately, stats are merely general indications of possibilities… not even PROBABILITIES in case you decide to post something similar in the future.

Stats are like getting hit in the side of the head with a tomato.

If you’ve ever tried to hit someone walking down the street with a tomato, you know what I mean. It’s hard as hell, right? πŸ˜€ Wind conditions… Judging how far they’re going to travel in the time it takes the tomato (or egg, if it’s Halloween) to cross the street… Anyway… The point is that when you post stuff to the internet, you’re walking down the street. People are on the other side of the street, throwing tomatoes at you, except you don’t know it because they never hit you. As long as it doesn’t pass your head close enough to make that sound or smash on the gate next to you, letting you know what time it is, you’re going to keep walking down the street like nothing’s happening.

When you make a post, it’s the same way. Unless you see stats or receive feedback from people, it feels like nobody’s throwing tomatoes at you. Thus, DoG is the remedy for inertia in that you imagine a bunch of tomato-throwers. MEANWHILE, depending on how you monitor your statistics, you’re actually missing A LOT OF PEOPLE that *did* hit you.

For example, Tyme White informed me that since I had been separating sections of my entries using the “more” tag, people with feed readers were only receiving the information up to that “more”, and unless they clicked through to my site, they couldn’t read the rest of the post. I removed my “more” tags, because I’d rather have people able to read what they want however they want than have them skip the rest of the article because they didn’t feel like accessing my site… or maybe they COULDN’T access my site, because they pre-loaded their readers and don’t currently have fast internet access or any internet access at all.

Liz Burr informed me that I could use FeedBurner to catch my audience’s feed reader stats. I wasn’t interested in going that route, because I used feedburner for my video blog for well over a year, and although it’s good to see which videos of yours are going out so that you can spot trends or popular videos that you’ve done, there’s something really important that it doesn’t tell you…..

WHO! IT! IS! :/

This is why your stats are a tomato to the SIDE of your head. When you get hit with it, you STILL don’t know who threw it! πŸ˜€

When I used to monitor my iTunes feed with feedburner, if I saw that in one day, 100 of my videos were downloaded once each, I knew I had a new subscriber. I didn’t know WHO that person was, AT. ALL. Therefore, I’m content with my current stats setup as an indication of trends of random people, and I’m not interested in even MORE stats of people who read my posts although I have no clue who they are.

IME, the net is immensely asynchronous and voyeuristic. I’m ‘guilty’ of the same thing. I don’t leave comments on EVERY video I watch or blog post I read. The environment only makes DoG worse, because in one’s own mind, your audience expands and contracts depending on how you feel about what you’re doing. If you feel like nobody’s watching… They aren’t. If you feel like Everybody’s Looking At Youuuuuu….. They Are! Ultimately, there’s no reality at all. It’s just you… floating messages in bottles….

I had a couple of experiences recently that made me want to ‘talk’ about stats. The other day, I was hanging out with a friend of mine, and I went to get out my iPod Nano (which I won in the NewTeeVee Pier Screenings game show audience survey contest. Thanks, Om & crew! :D) to show her this video I had done, and before I even got it out of my pocket, she was like “oh. I saw that.”…. :/ ….. This is always a shocking experience, because I don’t actually HAVE DoG. If I did, I would have assumed that she and everyone else with a computer had watched/read my material. It’s one of the few surprising things in life… finding out that someone knows more than I thought they did. πŸ™‚

This is where I internalized one of the useless aspects of stats… for me, at least… What good does it do me to know that three people in Australia and two in the UK watched my video if it doesn’t help me to understand that my friend I’m hanging out with right now has already watched my video? I’ve had this happen to me lots of times. Most recently, I got in a car with my cousin who had some very interesting things to say about my Fame post. This was ANOTHER shocking experience, because I wasn’t aware that she even knew that I text blogged at all. It took me a while to get up to speed on that conversation, because I totally wasn’t prepared to discuss an aspect of my existence that I didn’t know she knew about… much less that she had thought about at all OR would have had any opinions about it she felt like expressing to me. πŸ˜€

The other interesting ‘stats experience’ was reading Mike Hudack‘s post on the blip.tv blog called “On Stats”. 99% of the videos on my site are served from blip.tv, so I found the first paragraph very interesting:

ThereÒ€ℒs been a lot of discussion over the last few days about how video sites count viewership. This is an extremely important and constructive conversation to have. In general, blip is one of the most conservative video sites on the Web in counting viewership. We only count one view per IP address per session and we have a number of very stringent controls in place to prevent gaming viewership numbers, whether that gaming is intentional or not. We believe that itÒ€ℒs in our interests Ò€” and in the interests of the overall Web video industry Ò€” that we be conservative in measuring viewership. Failing to be conservative invites a backlash from advertisers, investors and content creators as they realize that they canÒ€ℒt trust viewership metrics offered by major Web video platforms. We donÒ€ℒt want to invite such a backlash. We want to be conservative from the outset.

Let’s say an IP address is the “name” of your modem that connects to the internet. If I understood the statement about the counting of blip.tv video views correctly, that means that if you watch a video of mine, then you play it again, it only counts as one view. It will also count as one view if your roommate watches it from the same internet connection. Similarly, if you tell your whole office to watch it and they’re all accessing the same router, they all count as hits from the same IP address. I’ll have to find out how long a “session” lasts, and like I said, I’m not sure I have the exact understanding of how blip handles the count. However, this makes sense, because it stops people from doing the old YouTube trick of refreshing their videos over and over and making themselves look popular & talented when they’re not.

The point for me, as a content creator, is that before I read this, I thought the count was the count. I was actually subtracting numbers of views from my videos. This video, for instance, currently has 315 views:


How NOT To Do Internet Video

Now… Besides the fact that I know more people than that saw this particular video because Kfir Pravda showed it at a conference he was speaking at in Israel, I would have assumed that maybe 200 people watched the video and the other 115 were re-runs. Of course, this doesn’t take into account situations like people downloading my videos and showing them to people on their computers or iPods, as I was attempting to do when my friend informed me she had already seen it.

You see how, again, in the realm of video, there’s the exact same “over/under” as there is in text blogging. Almost simultaneously, you feel like the numbers you’re seeing underrepresent your viewership AND overrepresent it.

Also, like I mentioned before, the numbers are useless anyway, unless you’re trying to sell a show, get sponsorship for a show or make money through revenue-sharing. Even if the stats tell me that a video of mine was watched 60 times from IP addresses in NYC, there are MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE HEEEEEERE!!! πŸ˜€ On top of that, according to Facebook, I have 271 friends in the New York, NY area. So, if I assume (ridiculously) that only people that have heard of me before are watching my videos, and not a single “random”, I still only have about a 1 in 4 chance of guessing who those 60 are. πŸ™‚

The obvious solution here is to fuhgeddabouddit! Forget about stats altogether. They’re making DoG worse instead of better. More confusing instead of less so. The point of DoG in the first place was to kick-start my creativity process and answer the question “Why should I do something, film it and post it… instead of just doing it and enjoying it for myself?”

The answer, strangely enough, isn’t in the stats or the crowds. It’s not even in the audience of ten.

It’s in the One….

Personal Expenses

When I was hanging out with Rox (Darling, from beachwalks.tv and barefeetstudios.com) @ BlogHerBiz ’07 back in March, something striking [at least to me] occurred. We did the conference thing and hung out for a few hours, and when she checked her in-box, she had *80* new emails…. EIGHTY!!!

I remember being surprised by two things. The first thing was that she had so many new emails in the span of probably four hours. The second was that….. she wasn’t surprised by this at all. She looked at her computer screen like “… here we go again…”… like this was something ‘regular’.

At the time, I was probably getting 15 emails tops in an entire day. 80 would have meant I didn’t check my email for an entire WEEK! πŸ˜€ … and that’s INCLUDING spam and bacn.

I remember considering the amount of TIME it would take her to go through all of those emails, particularly the relevant ones. I also thought about how more emails would be coming in during the time she was spending answering the 80 emails currently awaiting some form of action. She also DIDN’T start dealing with her email at that point, so I considered how much more would be built up until she allocated time and mental energy to her process. Months later, I watched an MSNBC video where Andrew Baron from Rocketboom actually DELETED all of his backed-up email! :O .

The ‘problem’ isn’t actually email… it’s TIME as well as energy. There’s only so much time in a day. Some of that time has to be allocated to new things, other time to current thing and still other time to clearing your desk or archiving old things. On top of that, there’s a familiarity of process that’s actually repulsive when it comes to doing several of the same kind of project simultaneously. For instance… Many editors that I know don’t WATCH television. πŸ™‚ We MAKE television all day, so when we’re done with that, we want to do something different with our free time.

I think it’s especially important for freelancers to pay attention to these time and energy costs. It’s easy to overextend yourself if you don’t account for the ‘personal expenses’ of coming down from one project and getting in gear to do another one. It’s not necessarily easier on staffers either, depending on what you agreed to accomplish before leaving each day. A 9-5 could easily become a 9-7 or 9-9 depending on how many duplicate videos you need to create for packaging purposes or backup or delivery to different locations.

Looking back at my own archives, I realize that I lost control of my ‘personal expenses’ back in the beginning of July, two months ago. Ever since then, there hasn’t been enough TIME in each day to accomplish what I need to. Just the fact that I can take the time to think up, write and then post this blog is a testament to my regaining a handle on something that I wasn’t aware I could lose a handle on. πŸ™‚

Probably back in June, I agreed to do a choreography video for my friend Violeta Galagarza, Founder of KR3Ts Dance Company, based in East Harlem, NYC. At the time, I ‘saw’ very clearly how I was going to get it done, and how long it was going to take me. Right after that, I accepted new client work, started editing a popular internet show, participated in a live internet show that required preparation, contributed a segment to a third internet show, thought up and created a video blog and accompanying social site, traveled out of state a couple of times and edited a cooking DVD. Priorities stacked up, and I have to apologize to Violeta for taking so long, but I literally have not had a block of time where I could get out of the mindset of mentally ‘living in’ my client work or other projects to ‘live in’ her project long enough to get ‘er done.

I realize I’m still too close to this phenomenon to succinctly explain it. πŸ™‚

My advice is… If you’re in a profession where you need to FEEL the work in order to be good at it, such as video editing, pay close attention to the ’emotional’ toll that it takes on your system. You end up paying that toll in TIME. People will not understand this, so you have to manage it on your own.

Same thing with email or any other time-consuming process. Nobody’s PAYING YOU to reply to their emails, but they still expect responses. The time you spend answering emails is the time you’re NOT spending clearing your obligations from your virtual desk. It’s time you’re NOT spending working on your own projects or doing what YOU want to do. It’s time you’re NOT spending thinking progressively about something you’d like to accomplish in the future. It’s time you’re NOT spending learning new technology that someone created or exploring a new social site. It’s time you’re NOT spending watching video blogs to check out new techniques or just enjoy what your friends are doing this week.

I understood the look on Rox’s face when she saw how many unread emails she had accumulated in the span of a few hours, but I couldn’t empathize with her. I most certainly do, NOW! I’m going to knock this choreography video out and make sure I don’t lose track of my ‘personal expenses’ ever again! πŸ˜€

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Sand to the Beach

Today’s the day before the Puerto Rican Day parade, so there’s a large festival going on in Spanish Harlem. In honor of this CHERISHED event! πŸ˜€ we will discuss taking sand to the beach.

Now… Let’s consider the festival like a beach. A beach has lots of SAND on it…. IN it? a beach is made up of sand? a collection of sand is called a beach???? :/

Anyway…

A beach has lots of SAND… In the case of this festival, that sand would be GIRLS! πŸ˜€ Hundreds and Hundreds, and perhaps even Thousands! πŸ˜€

So now we have our foundation for “the phrase that pays”…..

Don’t.Take.Sand.To.The.Beach! πŸ˜€

That’s right. Do *NOT* take SAND to the beach. Do *NOT* take your girlfriend with you to places where there are going to be A) more girls, and B) more girls better looking than your girlfriend. Do not do it. :/ Don’t do it.

First of all, you will be distracted. She will feel how ‘distant’ you are, when you’re normally paying attention to her. No good. :/ I mean… it’s good that you’re distracted, but it’s BAD to let her experience your reaction to other chicks. For some reason, women like to feel that you’re solely physically attracted to *them*, so it’s best to maintain that illusion for them. πŸ™‚

Second of all, you will be frustrated. You won’t be able to give out that cell number or website URL, because women are looking even when they’re not looking. :/ Going “Was that a rabbit?” and pointing away from the girl you want to meet and having your girlfriend completely miss the transaction only happens in the movies… BAD movies at that.

Third, you won’t be able to talk with the fellaz like you normally do. Your boys will DITCH YOU so they can check out ass without ruining your relationship. It’s really funny to watch that look on a guy’s face when he sees the fellaz see him walking towards them, holding hands with some chick, looking like he’s on his way to a church picnic. You feel this kind of… well, it’s not sympathy, because it’s all his fault! πŸ˜€ I guess it’s kind of like that baseball story about “Casey up to bat” where the guy’s in the important game and strikes out. “No joy in Mudville” HAHAHAHAHAHA πŸ˜€ It’s like your boy made it ALL THE WAY to the festival, but now he can’t enjoy it! πŸ˜€

Here’s how to NOT take sand to the beach….

Act like you’re not going. Tell her you have to work or you have to help your cousin move to a new apartment. If you don’t live with her, tell her you’re not feeling well and you’re about to shut the phone off and sleep for a few hours. Tell her you’re going to do something she hates to do (maybe bowling) and you’ll call her later. Tell her you’ll meet her for brunch waaaaaaaay on the other end of Manhattan island, like in SoHo or even better, in a completely different boro.

WHATEVER YOU DO… Do NOT let her come to “the beach” with you…. Actually, now that I think about it, this applies to the actual beach as well! πŸ˜€ Don’t take your girlfriend to the beach. You’ll be soooorrryyyyy! Sprinkle some sand on your balcony and let her lay out there. Get one of those hot-dog-vendor umbrellas. Put the television on the Travel Channel.

Also… Make sure you ascertain her whereabouts BEFORE going to the festival. This will COMPLETELY BACKFIRE on you if she shows up to the festival on her own! :O

First of all, she’s going to see YOU before YOU see HER, because she’s going to be one out of a million girls you’re checking out. Actually, you’ll be lucky if you see her at all, because the odds are that there are at least ten better looking girls than her in your line of sight at any given time. It’s like asking the colorblind guy to pick out the girl in the red dress.

Second, she’s going to see the way you act when she’s not around! HAHAHAHA Nooooo Good! :/

So do what you have to do. Buy her a ticket to an afternoon play. Send her to get her hair done in like… Hoboken. Do what you can to avoid taking sand to the beach, and ESPECIALLY having sand show up to the beach on her own.


DatingGenius

MasamiBillShow 004 – Country Club

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MasamiBillShow 004 – Country Club
Masami models the 40oz, while Masako & Letitia take more pictures!

You want some
I’m taking you…
Oh no, I don’t like this one. I like this one better
Bill… Bill… Hey
Hey
Now I got this camera from my brother…
What have we here?
Country Club… 1.59… Check this out
They are crazy, those two, I’m teling you… check this out
America’s premium malt liquor. It’s the premium. Representing East Harlem, Spanish Harlem, whatever you call it
hahahahahahaha
What’s going on over here?
Taking pictures
Oh, taking pictures
She’s always doing that, yes, look…
I look like what? It’s like I look like 12 years old or something
Yeah
[gasp]
…NO! hahaha… Not 12 years, but like 19 or 20, come on! πŸ˜€

MasamiBillShow