In the past few months we all have started to consume a lot of media input. Here are some tips to control your intake. For most of us the lion share of our time in the past months was spent in front of a screen. Be it experiencing some new content on Netflix, Amazon Prime or any other streaming service. However all of these streaming services have a common strategy of recommendation algorithms to keep us hooked, which is in a way good but can easily go out of hands.
I strongly feel that the wide variety of content on YouTube has become a double edged blade. When we sign into a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime we are looking for a retrieve from our daily life and are actually willing to spend an hour or more. Whereas one often opens YouTube simply because of their boredom this often leads to a waste of time as here the user is usually not looking to spending two three hours of their time. It is often the case that at the end I felt that I have wasted my time because most of the content that I consumed was already seen by me or because it was just some famous or trending video which in hind sight I would not have missed if I remained oblivious to it. I felt that I could have better spent that time I spent on those channels if I had simply switched to another video that was more productive. YouTube has a ton of content ranging from entertainment to education and I think that I could have spent my time much more productively if only I had consumed the media a little more wisely.
To understand why it is that we tend to spend more time on content we have already seen, we first need to understand how YouTube actually recommend us the content that we would like to watch. The process of recommendation on YouTube is a long and tedious. What it does is study our behavior and media consumption deduce the pattern and then recommend the content which is most likely to be opened by us. This algorithm according to YouTube itself takes in parameters like:-
- Our Search History
- Our Personal Information
- Our Region
- Our Time Zone
- Quality Of The Content(If it was well received by other viewers)
- Those Recommendation and Surveys(that we skip at the beginning)
- Our Subscriptions
Of course we can simply control our mind and impulses and spend our time productively and then go out in the perfect Utopia that we live in. Of course this is not the case so we have to find some other way to control our impulses.
1. Use Streaming Services Like Amazon Prime/Netflix For Longer Entertainment Retrieves And Your Favorite Shows
This might seem like a corner to cut in one’s finances to many but if you are troubled by the awful habit/regret of wasting time on YouTube, it will help you in the long run. A lot of content on YouTube is snipping or moments of your favorite series but if you think about it, the media that you consumed was not something you would have missed at the end of your retrieve, this often leads to dissatisfaction from your retrieve in many cases. This time of yours could rather have been spent on discovering something new and better. I you don’t wish to switch platforms, you can always try to find content on YouTube itself, there are many channels, companies and talents showcasing their skill on YouTube which will definitely give you much more satisfaction at the end when you return to your life.
2. Actually Use the Services Offered
Many of the user often skip the request of ‘‘Like, Share and Comment’’ which the creators beg us to do at the end of the video. This seems as an overhead thanks to the Recommendation Algorithms but if we were to actually do all this, it will not only show our appreciation to the creator but also help the Algorithm to recommend us similar content in the future. There is also the option to “Dislike” but this is something I usually avoid since the content I consumed has taken a lot of effort from someone. I do however don’t mind dropping a dislike if I find the content offensive or vulgar to help the service judge the content appropriately. One also must ensure to use the subscription to a channel a little more seriously. It is the best way to show your appreciation to the creator but it also makes the notifications and recommendation dial up to eleven. I am usually a big moody while subscribing to a channel and subscribe only when I really wish to view the content offered on the channel. One final thing that you can do is spend a few extra seconds and actually tell the recommendation Algorithm that you don’t want some content by using the three dots on the video link and choose not interested. This will tell the Algorithm not to recommend you content like that and then won’t affect the creators morale in anyway.
3. Tweak the Settings a Little and Turn-Off/On The Notification
We all join/use a service with a different goal in mind, the case of YouTube users are the same, some of us wish to learn from this platform, others might see it as a free entertainment retrieve while for some of us it might be a business opportunity. Whatever the case what we need to do is take a moment to think and fix the settings so that they suit our needs the best. For a person running a business, on YouTube the idea of missing a notification might be scary for others who view it as a source of entertainment may not consider it as such.
4. Subscribe To Only Those Who You Like and Unsubscribe Who You No Longer
Make a point to subscribe only to those channels that you like, this mostly consists of the creators who promise a continuous flow of content that you would like to view for a long period of time and not a creator with a few successful Gigs. Also make a point to “unsubscribe” or “Not Interested” to the channels that you have lost interest in. Example I had to subscribe to a channel that taught Analog Calculations in one of the semester of my college but had no need for it in the next semesters, so instead of Unsubscribing and making the person loose a subscriber I simply selected Not Interested in the videos that were recommended to me and turned off its “Bell Icon”. This did show me the channels content maybe 1 more time in the future but not after that.