Stop the presses!
Great American Satan informs us that there is a
union action to have a “don’t look” strike on Youtube. [gas]
It’s the Youtube Walkout! The 10th through 13th we’re supposed to avoid watching youtube videos. They’ve dropped some fucking egregious new terms of service, promising to delete any channel they deem commercially unviable. Since the videos disproportionately affected by this are producers of LGBT and progressive content, you know what this is really about.
I fully support this idea. Although I fear that it will accomplish nothing but to show our masters how thoroughly they own the internet. What if it’s like one of those KKK rallies where only one goon shows up and they aren’t even wearing the hoodie, they just have a Trump hat on? If this doesn’t even cause a blip on Google’s needle then they’ll shrug and say, “see, we didn’t ever have to pretend to care.”
Youtube is the “stuff cloud” – it’s the endless repository of junk that we come to depend on because it’s solved that problem so well, there’s damn little point doing an alternative. Back when Adobe Flash players were all the thing, I actually wrote my own media player and hosted it on my website, so I could avoid being under any controls at all. It’s not hard, I hear. So my pledge in support of GAS is to re-research hosting my own media player on my ranum.com website (I have unlimited data and storage service there) and I will only link stuff I own or extract under fair use. That way, Google is going to wonder where some tiny number of hits went. Who am I kidding? Well, maybe I can make a cool player; there’s more to life than stabby things.
My attitude toward Google and Youtube et al has been “meh” all along. I’ll use them because they work but I never pay them anything and I always have my adblocker on. Sure, they track me, but so does the FBI, my service provider (Verizon, dark lord of data) and everybody else.
I do loathe Google and Youtube, reflexively. Have you ever noticed how Youtube’s player functions, now? A huge amount of the processing it does is to make sure you see those precious ads. There is code to block ad blockers, code to lurk and count linger-time when you switch to the next video, code to generate likely lists of related content, code to summarize your activity for the FBI – pretty much all the code in the known universe and, down at the bottom, in the corner of the bottom, under some dust and rubble: is a media player. And a not very good one, at that. It can’t remember what I was watching from session-to-session (but it reports that to everyone except me) and it cannot sometimes resume if you skip forward past some dumb embedded ad. It’s complicated and it’s a piece of shit, because it needs all that complexity to serve ads (its real job) and if you actually get to see any media that’s just a happy accident.
The ad-stream feeds into the unpleasant reality that it sells time to be a political platform. I.e.: whoever has money for ads now has a platform. So much for the early internet idea of making data equal. Thank corporate capitalists for that. Meanwhile, they can figure out how to deliver the ads, bill them correctly to their originator, but can’t be arsed to ban the ones that are obvious bullshit. That gives politicians wiggle-room to wring their hands and whinge about how their important message needs to be protected but the other guy’s needs to be silenced.
You know whose messages need to be protected? Not the rich: the political underdog. Right now that means: LGBTQ people, people of color, and the poor. Youtube’s service already is heavily slanted toward corporate interests and they have been rewriting their terms of service so they can pay out less and less to their popular channels. They’re just a bunch of sleazy capitalists exploiting labor, in other words. They have next to no content of their own; they’re just like the boss of a steel mill who sits in a comfortable office and moves pieces of paper from one side of the desk to another and calls it “work” while outside, in the furnace heat, workers die making minimum wage. Remember when people thought Google was going to accomplish some kind of change? They’re the new cloud-based Andrew Carnegie, that’s all.
Back in the day when all my clients were coming to me all excited about “the cloud” I’d say ‘Don’t you understand lock in yet? Didn’t Microsoft and Oracle teach you about that? Once their free services are absolutely crucial to your daily operations the price will go up and the terms of service will change. Were you born yesterday or something?” And the baby in the incubator would look at me and drool and blink and make muffled “ah ga” noises and wave its hands.
PS – the audiobook version of Siddartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies is really good. Listen to that instead of youtube. If you can’t afford a copy, contact me (I am serious) and I’ll gift you one. It’s on
Google play. No, wait, it’s on Amazon. Ur, Apple iBooks! You know it’s at your local bookstore, if the place is still in business.