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YouTube CEO, Neal Mohan with Rhett and Link in front of a sign that says Mythical

Rene’s Top Five on YouTube: December 7, 2023 Edition

These are the top 5 things I saw this week.

I love my job. I really do. Almost every day I have the privilege of helping YouTube better understand creators and helping creators better understand YouTube. And once a week, I get to share a lot of that with all of you. Including…

📸 Neal Mohan is now on Instagram! Yes, the CEO of YouTube posting on Meta is… meta, which makes pointing it out… meta meta, I guess? My point is, Neal wants to meet creators where they are. For a while now, that’s included Neal on X/Twitter and LinkedIn, but social networks have always been dynamic, each with their own appeal, and YouTube creators and communities use one, some, or all of them at different times for different reasons, including and especially Instagram to share the photos and stories of what’s going on, with whom, and when. And that’s exactly why Neal’s kicking things off with a very Mythical meet up! (You can follow Neal @neal_mohan, as well as @YouTube in general and, hey, yeah, even me @youtubeliaison while you’re at it!)

🤫 Pause comments has started rolling out for every creator — just in time for the holidays! So, instead of just leaving your comments on and having to deal with them as they come in, holding everything for moderation and mortgaging your future anxiety for your current tranquility, or just turning them off entirely and having all your existing comments disappear, you can hit pause. Existing comments stay for everyone to enjoy but no new comments accrue until you — and maybe your community! — are ready for them again. Whether you need to put an especially viral or contentious video a time-out break, or you just want to take a vacation break and not have to worry about the latest video or few, pause comments gives you more options in your community toolbox. Huge thanks to the team for getting this out, and enjoy!

📊 I all-caps ADORE the YouTube Culture & Trends team. Ask any of them about any of the most obscure aspects of online video lore, and you’re guaranteed to get two things — the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and the most detailed deep dive you’ve ever wanted. Once a December though, we all get more: The top trends that defined the whole entire platform for the whole entire year. That includes all the topics, established and breakout creators, and songs that we most shared… and maybe shared most? Check out the US list on the YouTube Blog! (And, while you’re here, Neurodiversity & Disability on YouTube with Jessica Kellgren-Fozard as well!)

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✨ 2.6 million years ago, one of our ultra-ancestors picked up a rock and — boom! — humans started using tools for the very first time. This week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis announced Gemini, the foundation for our next great set of tools. That first tool was a hunk of mineral we held in our primordial hands and used to shape our nascent world. This latest one is an AI model that can scale down to the devices in our hands and help shape us new and novel worlds — boldly, but responsibly and humbly, as both Sundar and Neal have said.. Just as I’ve seen my own journey as an artist go from the paint brush to the air brush to the clone tool to the content-aware tool to the generative tool, never expecting but always appreciating what came next, I can’t yet imagine how we’ll see Gemini and related initiatives mature here at YouTube and for creators over the next little and long whiles, but reading the many, many posts over on the Google blogs I can’t help but let my imagination run just a bit wild.

📈 Tip of the Week: Every time Analytics loads up that 28-day chart and we see our views are down, it sends a shock through our creator hearts. Everything from “YouTube must have changed the algorithm!” to “Why don’t they still love me!” to “GTA IV took all my views!” races through our brains, while our fingers are already typing with cat-at-a-keyboard fury into our social app of choice. Which is why 28-days may be an incredibly useful as a snapshot of current performance, but not as full context for overall channel health or momentum. No, for that we need to think in years. Sometimes several. In a previous blog, I mentioned the 365-day chart was a useful way to see if one or a couple viral video spikes made it look like views were down when really they were just returning to normal or even a slightly higher new normal. Well, custom 1, 2, 3 or more year charts are also really good at highlighting seasonality. For example, you may notice views drop every fall when people in many regions go back to school, or every January when some people are recovering from the holidays. Different topics with different audiences will have different hot and cold periods, literal peaks and valleys, so if you can zoom out and see yours now, it can be a terrific way to reduce anxiety next time.

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