One of the YouTube channels I watch regularly is that of an atheist speaker, Seth Andrews, because he’s a calm and reasoned speaker on a topic that’s important to me, and he has a deep, mellow radio voice I could listen to for hours. Today, I found a speech of his on another channel and fell in love with this part of it: He mentioned how young people from religious families often email him to say they are having doubts about faith and they don’t know what to do. That puts him in an awkward position, he said, because he wants to be honest while also honoring their family’s boundaries. Here’s how he said he typically responds:
“You know, you are under the guardianship and authority of your mother and father, and they need to be respected. At the same time, even if you’re in church every day, use this time to get information, because good decisions come from good information. If you have to go to church, fine – learn the Bible. Learn what your church is teaching. Learn what other churches are teaching. Sponge up information as best you can. There will come a day when you are making life decisions on your own, and you will have then been able to use this time to develop the arsenal you need for battle. And then you can determine what you want to stand for, and what you accept as being based on the evidence, and what you accept as moral. And you can carve your own path. And until then, you know, you are a child under the authority of your mother and father. Respect them, be the best kid you can, and be a sponge.”
That’s a good answer and a pretty fair one, don’t you think? It’s hard as a teen to accept counsel that tells you to be patient and pay attention rather than bowing up to parents and fighting them tooth and nail. But it’s good advice. My favorite part: “Good decisions come from good information.”
Filed under Advice, Atheism
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!
A lovely lady I know is retiring, and she sent out a slideshow of pretty pictures and advice as a parting gift to colleagues. I wanted to share with friends on Facebook, but they don’t allow uploads — only links — of PowerPoint presentations. Drat it. So I’m posting here and linking to it there! It has some nice calming music in the background too.
And the grammar noodge in me has to say I’d love to have the original file to do a little editing here and tweaking there — but it’s still a worthwhile experience to see this!