Do’s and don’ts for podcasts & YouTube channels

I'm vlogging this.

Source:; some rights reserved.


Source:; some rights reserved.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and YouTube channels. I mean, a LOT. Some I have followed for years, and I try new ones out all the time. I drop new or old ones regretfully when the delivery, audio or video get too bad and make listening too much of a chore.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a podcaster or vlogger myself; I’m just a consumer. And I know that a TON of time and work go into both endeavors. This isn’t mean-spirited criticism. There are some very small things you can do to keep me loyal forever and to please new followers, too.

Here’s my feedback to podcasters and vloggers in general.

  • Don’t end your video or audio the very second you stop talking. Some of us would like the chance to add a rating and perhaps a comment without having to lunge for the “pause” button. Give it at least 3-4 seconds and roll credits, play some outro music, etc. Please.
  • S-L-O-W … D-O-W-N. Make separate videos if you have that much to say. I listen to a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of YouTube channels about self-help, how-to topics, and in-depth discussions of issues that matter to me. It would be nice to listen to someone who speaks at a conversational pace, not a conversational gallop. Give me the mental space to listen and process what you’re saying.
  • Don’t put me to sleep. Include personal anecdotes, vary your tone and sentence length, ask questions, and speak with normal emphasis as needed. I love some people’s content but can’t absorb the unvaried, monotonous monotone of their shows unless I have a cup of coffee and nothing else to distract me. Be varied and interesting enough that I can stay engaged with you while I’m knitting, for example.
  • Identify yourself at the beginning of each recording. Say your name, a SHORT mention of professional qualificaitons (if any) and experience so we know why to listen to you, and the topic of the recording. If you want new listeners to develop a relationship with you, it helps if you say your name and the show’s name often.
  • If you mention books, links, experts or other important data points in your broadcast, be sure to include that in the show notes and to say that you’ll be doing that. People like to know they don’t have to take notes. (For YouTube, that should be what’s in the “Show More” stuff right under the video. For podcasts, include a brief description with the video and a link to wherever your podcasts are archived or blogged about so people can read the more extensive notes.)
  • If you mention a number of steps or points for the listener to absorb, include them in the show notes and/or at least mention your blog where the points can be found in writing. (Say this before listing the steps/points so I know I don’t have to keep pausing the broadcast to take notes if I find your contents useful.)
  • Please number your podcasts and YouTube posts. I don’t care what season you’re in, whether this is a sub-series you’re doing (you can reflect that in the name), or if you forget — you can fix that before you publish. I just want to be able to listen to shows in order, because information builds over time. This also helps me keep track of what I’ve already heard. (I often go to sleep listening to YouTube shows, so the “watched” indication doesn’t help. If shows are numbered, I can easily go back and find my place.)
  • Please NAME your episodes. I am much less likely to follow a YouTube channel or podcast if I have to actually listen to it before I know what it’s about. Just saying, “Vlog 796” tells me nothing. A good name would be “Joe’s Show 796 -top 10 ways I kick butt.”
  • If you have a series of podcasts or YouTube posts on a certain topic, please indicate that in the name. (Example: “Joe’s Show 796, Top 10s – How I Kick Butt.”) For YouTube posts, *also* create a playlist for those related shows.
  • Use your microphone correctly, and get a decent one (or at least use a basic one correctly). Don’t blow out the sound by being too close and too loud, and don’t lower sound volume and quality by being too far away. (One YouTube channel owner I follow simply puts in her iPhone earbuds and talks into the integrated microphone. The sound quality is fine for what she does. And, sadly, I’ve listened to many “professional” podcasts and YouTube channels that are much, much worse.)
  • Try to make the volume the same for all participants if multiple people will be participating in a conversation. If I hate straining to hear a low talker, I really hate having my eardrums blown out next by Mr. Suddenly-Loud-and-Clear. This is often a problem when some or all of the conversation is a recorded Skype session.
  • Be aware of your own distracting speech and sound habits. Do you smack your lips everytime you open your mouth? (Such an annoying “click” sound to hear over and over again.) Ditto for thumping pencils, crackling paper and excessive drink slurps. Oh, and teeth-suckers — cut that out!
  • Be aware of your own distracting mannerisms if there is video. Fix your hair before you begin and don’t obsessively stroke, rearrange or flip it back often during the show. (Seriously. Some folks practically fondle it.) Also limit lip licking, touching your face, cracking your neck and fussing with jewelry and clothing. You don’t have to be immobile, but don’t be a self-conscious wiggle-meister.
  • For the love of God, eliminate background noises as much as possible, whether that means waiting until a neighbor is finished mowing before you record or turning off the noisy, flickering TV in the background. And although I love pets, I find it distracting to hear your dog eating noisily right by your feet as you broadcast (chomp-chomp-chomp, crunch, slurp, tag hitting metal bowl, repeat). (Short visits during the show or visuals of pets are fine. It’s jut the noises that divert my attention.)
  • Even limit how often and how long you speak over music, because people with hearing issues (such as me — I have auditory processing disorder) find it a strain to understand you.

What have I missed? I ‘m sure I will be coming back here and adding a few!


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Core values: A starter list

Have you ever tried to make a statement of your “core beliefs”? Not something as general as “bravery” and “honesty” but something specific. This is my VERY SMALL starter list; I’m sure I will add to it.

What’s on your list? I would love to hear.

My core beliefs:

  • Separation of church and state is essential. Neutrality in the public sphere is protective of all. [Short version: “Religious freedom.”]
  • I’m pro-choice when it comes to abortion and other reproductive rights. [Short version: “Bodily integrity.”]
  • I value democratic socialism when it comes to healthcare, housing and food. Also the things that we take for granted: A safe and adequate transportation infrastructure, for example, or fire and police protection. I would rather pay higher taxes so all people have the basics than see others suffer — especially since I’m too low-income on my own to make a difference for them.
  • We must have full equality for all citizens when it comes to marriage, sexuality and gender identity.
  • There is no god, based on the evidence I have seen (and I have looked), and I do not expect to change my mind. But I remain open to the possibility if new evidence emerges (factual, scientifically rigorous, and intelligently examined evidence). [Short version: “Atheism.”] I am 100 percent at peace with the fact that others have different beliefs but become protective when their beliefs intrude upon my rights or the rights of others.
  • Continous learning keeps a person young at heart and growing in both heart and mind.
  • Communication, tolerance, courage and kindness are essential to all close relationships, but particularly in marriage. If you “never argue,” that’s not a particularly good thing, either.

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True colors, shining through

Thinking about a friend today. Someone violated this person’s trust, spilled the beans about private business, and tossed in a heaping handful of lies. Just to stir up some shit, or as an exercise in being completely batshit crazy.

In the end, it is the disloyal person’s well-deserved reward to lose a real friend … and all of that person’s true friends.

It’s at moments like this that I find myself really reaching for some healthy detachment, because I’m so outraged by breaches of trust and backstabbing attacks. It didn’t happen to ME, my head says. But my heart tells me, it happened to someone I love.

So I’m just feeling what I feel at the moment. That’s what the self-help gurus and life coaches tell us, right? “Accept how you feel. Feel what you feel. Decide what you want to do about it.” (Thank you, Lisa A. Romano.)

And now I’m not feeling compelled to act upon it except to offer my friend my genuine sympathy, outrage and support. And I will be able to let it go pretty quickly. I guess that’s progress, right?

At least, I have learned to pass fairly quickly through THIS mental phase:

(Relax … for me, this is just a meme about fierce feelings, not fierce actions.)

And I have learned to spend more of my time in THIS phase:


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