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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Here, have a Youtube Heart

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2 years ago I made a video called the Baited Response. In it I talked about trolls online

and how misunderstood they are. You cant win by responding to them. And if you dont,

they get away with bullying, no repercussions! So the only way you can really win is to manipulate

people into posting nicer comments. Which itself sounds horrible. ‘Manipulate

isnt a nice word. And the humanity of it all is lost when I stop treating my audience

as individuals, and instead as a crowd that needs to beshapedandchannelled’.

But unfortunately, once an audience reaches a certain size, thats how a crowd behaves.

But hey, Im fighting trolls here. Nobody likes those. Surely everybody would rather

exist in a more positive environment? But its difficult to do. It means dedicating

my time and attention to positive comments. When I see something horrible I can think

of a hundred replies I could type. But a positive one? What do I say to that? ‘Thank you?’

Bit boring. Start a conversation? Yes, but Im preaching to the choir.

In 2016, Youtube gave content creators the Heart and Pin features to help encourage good

behaviour. Can you believe its been over 3 years already? Pinning comments is straight-forward

enough- it brings that post to the top of the comments section, making it a great way

to influence other comments by pinning something positive, or to start a debate by pinning

something thought-provoking or controversial. Or even to name and shame individuals who

post something stupid! It feels good to do that.

But NO! I shouldnt do that. Because its rewarding the wrong behaviour. So I try to

pin comments that I would like to see more of, or that responded to my video in the way

I had hoped for. Again, youre not going to like it, but

the top comments heavily influence the rest of them. Think of how you use Reddit. You

read the headline, and then jump to the comments section to see what people think about it.

Those top-rated comments WILL shape your judgement of whatever the storys about. It makes

sense the same will apply to Youtube videos. A few years ago now, I went through my 50

most viewed videos and deleted anything negative or nasty that I could find, and pinned the

most positive. My plan was to return to it later to see if it had had a noticeable impact

on the quality of the comments my videos received, but I never did. Plus its difficult to

quantify the difference it made. But doing that started me on a positive-reinforcement

frenzy that Ive continued to this day! I spend AS much time looking through comments

now as I ever have. I answer questions, engage in discussions, delete negative stuff, but

more importantly, I try to show my appreciation to those who post positive things.

Which is why I love YoutubesHeartfeature. If I see a comment thats interesting,

or simply nice and polite, Illheartit. It doesnt take much time for me to

do. I worry that it might even be seen as nothing more than atickto show I have

read your comment. I worry that if I overuse it, it will lose its importance. And I also

worry that it never had any to begin with. But its important to me. I reserve it for

comments that mean something to me. Let me tell you- you get a heart from me, you know

youve made my day a little bit better, that Ive appreciated your comment and that

I want to thank you for it. Just without the clichedThank youresponse. I know the

like / dislikesystem on Youtube is a bit pointless, but I do my bit to like the

good ones and to dislike the negative ones to encourage the algorithm to favour the positive-

even if those that Ive liked will never know it. But for particularly nice comments

that have clearly had some thought invested into them, Ill give them aheart’.

And for those particularly special comments, Ill heart it and will also reply if I feel

myheartneeds more of an explanation. But a heart on its own is still good.

But here comes the cold, corporate reasoning again. I notice the Youtube comments algorithm

favours those Ivehearted’. If I get in there an hour after the videos released

andheartthe best ones, theyll typically rise to the top and will remain there as the

comments that will influence future ones. Its a powerful tool. But I just want you

to know, its also my preferred way of responding to nice comments. You troll me, you get deleted.

Say something stupid, and Ill treat you like youre stupid. You say something that

I appreciateIll give you a heart and maybe even a comment to go along with it!

Aim for the heart.

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