10K Facebook Likes Giveaway!

We are getting close to 10K likes on my Facebook page and I would love to thank every single one of you for being part of this journey with a little giveaway! The winner will receive a headset, mouse and mechanical keyboard.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Know a friend who could use some new gaming gear for his computer? Let him know about this! 😉

Gaming / Streaming Setup

Gaming / Streaming Rig

(Working on getting this up to date!)

Graphics Card: ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce GTX 1080 TI
Mainboard: ASUS X99-DELUXE
CPU: i7-5820K
RAM: Crucial DDR4 32GB
Microphone: Audio Technica AT2035
Audio Interface: Steinberg UR44
Keyboard:
Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Core
Headphones:
Capture Card: Elgato HD60 Pro
Camera: Sony FDRAX33

F.A.Q.

You probably got this link from one of my Facebook streams. Here are a bunch of frequently asked questions, which I’d like to answer in no particular order:

What is your favorite game?
Probably the most asked question and at the same time an incredibly difficult one to answer. I have a lot of games that are dear to my heart and which I have great memories with, which I wouldn’t necessarily want to play anymore in my free time. Chances are, you are going to see my stream my current favorite game, which is why I am playing it. My favorite game changes over time and just like with music, there is not the one favorite game that rules them all. But for the curious, here is a very incomplete list of a few games that I love: Stardew Valley, A.D. 1602, Ultima Online, Counter-Strike, HearthStone, Diablo 2 & 3, Starcraft 2, RimWorld, Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, …

Where is your parrot, Wheatley?
In 2017, we bought a house, which doesn’t have good enough internet for me to stream. For this reason, I set up my streaming setup in a friends basement with a Gigabit internet connection, allowing me to stream in high quality. I am still working out, how I am able to transport Wheatley over when I am there. A few things I have to consider are the temperature when transporting him (he is a tropical parrot, so I can’t do that in the winter) and my friend’s cat, which would LOVE to meet Wheatley. 🙂

How long have you been making content?
I started my original YouTube channel in 2012 and have been producing content ever since. I started streaming on Twitch shortly after. Since 2018 I’ve been focusing on Facebook gaming, building an amazing community there.

What equipment do you use to stream?
Check out my (upcoming) Gear Page.

Why do you stream on Facebook?
I used to create content solely on YouTube and Twitch but after many thousands of videos and live streams, I decided to take a new approach and help Facebook shape a new platform and build an amazing community with my viewers. I hope to shape Facebook Gaming into an amazing platform for new creators and viewers, which will ultimately be benefical to gaming and streaming in general, since I believe that competition will push other platforms to improve to focus more on their creators that help shape it. Working directly with Facebook to be able to make it an amazing experience for everyone is an opportunity I am very grateful for.

Isn’t Twitch better for Livestreaming?
Having streamed on Twitch for many years, I can definitely say that Twitch is the current go-to platform for streaming, but it incredibly hard to gain traction and grow without streaming 8 hours a day for 365 days a year. I want to create engaging streams, which might be shorter, but ultimately are more fun for me and my viewers. Facebook is working hard on allowing a better streaming experience and I am working directly with them in shaping their platform to allow for better streams, which is an incredible opportunity!

Their first steps are already very encouraging and they are working at a breakneck pace to catch up. Ultimately, Facebook and Twitch will both have their place in the media landscape, allowing for different kinds of experiences for different preferences.

What about YouTube?
YouTube is a whole different chapter and even though I am ultimately grateful how the platform has allowed me to turn a passion into a livelihood, I think there are my things wrong with the platform as it is right now. If you’d like to know more about the why, please watch my announcement video:

Can I send you stuff?How do I stream games on Facebook?
Facebook created a page for aspiring creators with plenty of information on how to get started.

I will try to keep this page updated with other frequently asked questions, but feel free to drop by in one of my streams and send me your questions!

The state of the WeaselZone

Hey beautiful people! You probably got directed here from Discord (or Twitter), since it has a message length limit and I didn’t feel like splitting up my posts!

First off: I hope you get to enjoy the holidays or at least have a day or two to breathe!

This year has been a pretty busy and also challenging for myself and I’d like to let you guys know what’s been going on.

As you have noticed, the frequency of my YouTube uploads has been reduced and there have and will be several days without videos. This is not because I abandoned my YouTube channel, instead, it comes down to multiple factors:

– New full-time position: I picked up a position as a QA Tester for a game company that I enjoy quite a bit and I’ve been putting a lot of effort into it since I would love to move towards an engineering position. This mostly eats into my available time, since once I am mentally exhausted, I can’t really spend another few hours recording. I do intend to do better in the future!

– New house with the shitty internet: A lot of you know that Lauren and I moved to a house which is pretty much exactly what we wanted, EXCEPT the internet. Right now I am rocking 5MBits down and 768 Kbits up. This means uploading a single video can take 8-16 hours depending on the size. (I like to upload them in higher quality). I am using 4G whenever possible, but there are data caps that come with these so-called unlimited plans that will slow you down after a bit of data. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

This also means that streaming is borderline impossible. Every time I tried to stream in the last few weeks I drop frames and have to fuss around with the settings, making it hard for me to get into a mood where I can reliably stream. Try entertaining people when you have to constantly fuss around with technical issues.

As of right now, there isn’t any way for me to get faster internet where I live unless I’d pay Comcast around 20,000 USD to lay cable. Trust me – if I had that kind of money, I probably would.

The house itself requires a good bunch of upkeep and renovations are not complete so I try to put my free time into this as well.

Before I lose myself in more rambling, let me answer some questions:

WHY DID YOU PICK UP A JOB IF IT INTERFERES WITH YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL???

A place to live and health insurance are two things I need. Food and internet aren’t free either. YouTube and Twitch have been less than reliable in providing a *constant* source of income. Yes, yes if only I’d play more Simple Planes and other game I don’t want to play, I could have ALL the money.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH YOUR COFFEE SHOP GAME???

Oh man, I miss working on this game… It’s been over half a year since I really worked on it. The house and the new job didn’t really leave me much time to work on it and now it just sits there… taunting me. It’s not forgotten… just paused.

SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT MR. WEASEL TO FIX ALL THE THINGS???

I will hopefully be able to make some changes in January / February which might help. I can’t really say much about that, I just hope you can be patient in the meantime.

WHY ARE YOU NOT DOING [INSERT THING I USED TO DO] ANYMORE???

The answer is most likely a lack of time.

Thank you for taking the time to read over this amalgam of words and I hope this clears up a few questions you might have had. I usually hang out in Discord here and there (I mostly lurk) if you have more questions!

KTHXBAI

5 Common YouTube Mistakes To Avoid

These tips are written with Let’s Play channels in mind, but apply to most other formats as well. This article is part of my YouTube Guides & Articles series

Too much text in your thumbnails

I see this problem with a lot of gaming channels, especially when they are starting out: Including too much textual information in your thumbnail. The thumbnail’s job is to intrigue the user and catch his eye. If the user wants to know more of the contents of your video, he can find the title and (depending on the platform) description right next to your video.

I often see thumbnails that try to contain too much information with the text: Title of the game, the name of the episode, episode number and even the name of the channel. Not only is this too much information, but it also requires you to cram a lot of text into a little space, resulting in too small fonts. If you design a thumbnail, always zoom out until it is approximately the size, the user will encounter it on YouTube. Often, you can avoid mistakes in the design process, by asking yourself if you would be able to quickly gather the necessary information if you would look at it for a few seconds in that small size.

All information can be found next to the thumb, some of the text can't even be read.

All information can be found next to the thumb, some of the text can’t even be read. Episode number can make sense for easier navigation, but this thumbnail is squeezing a whole lot of information into the thumbnail.

Sometimes it can make sense to highlight a word or two and put them in the thumbnail as well. If you are playing a crazy mod, that can make cows fly (and you don’t happen to have an interesting and unique enough thumbnail), putting “FLYING COWS” in huge letters over the thumbnail CAN make sense.

Thumbnail

I think you get the idea.

Keep in mind, that this is not a golden rule that has to be followed no matter what, but if you have the option to choose between a lot of text in your thumbnail or focus on a visually appealing motif instead, I would always pick the interesting picture.

Not using or not maintaining your playlists

Playlists are a very convenient way for your user to follow along a series and help you keep the retention up. Instead of having to look in the suggested videos for the next video in the series or even having to search it with the YouTube search or on your channel your viewer can have the video suggested automatically. When you have a busy upload schedule or have a similarly bad memory as I do, you might forget to keep your playlists up-to-date. Spend a minute or two each day to check if all your videos are listed correctly, and it will pay off. If you don’t leverage playlists yet, take some time to set them up! Also make sure to set them as an official series, if feasible.

Using Twitter Account to just auto-post your videos

Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media platform can help you grow your channel and engage with your community. When your channel is just starting out, you won’t see a whole lot of activity on those outlets, given your small reach. You can grow your YouTube channel through engaging other users on Twitter, for example, even getting to know other creators for possible collaborations. But often I only see Twitter feeds that primarily consist of the automatically created video posts from YouTube. Your social media outlet is a way for your fans to engage in conversation with you and get more invested in your channel, but also to learn more about you. Using social media just as a shitty billboard for your newest uploads does the same thing as YouTube’s subscription feed and doesn’t give your viewers any incentive to follow or even connect with you.

Promoting your videos on Twitter is highly encouraged, but make sure you put some time into the social aspect of social media.

Never looking into the camera

This tip is obviously geared towards YouTubers, using webcam footage for their gameplay, but it also applies to VLOGs and anything else with your face in it.

I often caught myself over the years, not looking into the camera. Not only does this seem distant, but it is also a missed opportunity to make your viewer feel you address them directly. Of course, you have to look at the screen to play a game, but take a moment at the beginning of your video to look straight into the camera and greet them. How would you feel if you met someone and they didn’t even look at you when they greeted you, not taking their eyes off the screen they?

It is also a good idea to look into the camera during your gameplay if you want to convey a particular reaction or make a joke. I used to put a post-it note on my monitor to remind me of that, in case I forgot.

Not editing pauses out of videos

I know, you are tempted just to upload the video as-is, but chances are, unless your commentary is just pure auditory gold, you’ll want to cut out awkward pauses. YouTube is first and foremost a platform for entertainment, especially Let’s Plays aim to be entertaining. If a viewer is not entertained and gets bored by what he is watching, he can switch to another video of the same game with one click. Everyone has a moment, where they are looking for the right solution or have to think about the next step. You can fill these moments with commentary if you are good at it, but every once in a while, you will be quiet, and nothing exciting will happen on the screen. If it doesn’t disorient the user and the gameplay not enjoyable by itself, cut it out. Your retention time and your users will thank you.

I hope these five quick tips will help you step up your YouTube game. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo in November, so I won’t have too much time that month, but I would love to hear your questions, suggestions, and tips about YouTube in the comments below!

YouTube and the unhealthy obsession with numbers

This article is part of my ongoing YouTube Articles and Guides series.

In this post, I want to talk about an aspect of YouTube that affects you from Day 1 for the total duration of your presence on this platform: Numbers. It is focused around YouTube, but might be relevant to anyone who is focusing too much on numbers with any other project.

Subscribers, Total Views, Likes and Comment Counts. Supposedly, they are the numbers that define success and failure. Especially subscriber counts seem to be the golden metric that everyone looks at first. We work towards subscriber milestones and even create subscriber specials when we reach them.

This focus on that number leads to an unhealthy obsession. Having obsessed over these figures and having suffered under the self-imposed stress that this habit brings with it, I feel it is important to talk about this topic.

So what is the problem with these numbers?

The golden metric? Subscribers

The subscriber count can give you an idea of your current channel growth, but it is misleading to equate your subscriber number with success.

Viewers subscribe to channels for particular kinds of content, which includes the personality of the channel owner. Having a lot of subscribers does not mean, that the channel generates enough views to be sustainable or that the subscribers are even still active. A good example are many Minecraft channels, which exploded in size based on a single game. Eventually, the game lost the appeal to the creators, and they switched to other games. As soon as that switch occurred, the views dropped. To sustain themselves, they have to produce Minecraft content. Switching to other games is nearly like starting over again. Channels with over a million subscribers can get abysmal views, even though most people would consider a channel with that amount of subscribers a success.

What you need to keep in mind is, that this number is just an indicator. We often obsess so much over it, that we feel like we are doing something wrong if that figure drops below previous levels (and it always will eventually).

We tend to check these numbers every day, often several times. Maybe we have a life subscriber count open in a window at all times. But why are we doing this? We are trying to get our quick fix.

Just like checking the likes on our Facebook posts, we seek validation. Getting a subscriber gives us that little boost and makes us feel good about yourself. If we get more, we get excited. If we break previous records, we get ecstatic. What we don’t realize is, is that we don’t have any direct control over these numbers.

Checking in on our subscriber count doesn’t generate new subscribers. It doesn’t produce content; it doesn’t help you rank. But we still constantly check these numbers. Not only are we trying to get our fix, but we are also creating an unhealthy habit, that is difficult to break. I had times where I woke up in the morning and the first thing I did, was to check my stats on my phone before I even had my first coffee.

If my channel grew increasingly, I was happy. If it did not grow as strongly (but still really well), I felt bummed out and started to stress about, what I could differently. I thought, that making more videos meant I could keep this growth going, being disappointed when I couldn’t. I started to feel horrible, that I apparently didn’t do enough or my content was not good enough to make my channel grow exponentially. Staying at a linear curve wasn’t good enough anymore. I always needed to beat my previous score.

A big part of YouTube is luck, just like so many other endeavors. Just because you work harder, doesn’t mean you will automatically see success. Relying on luck also means, that if you are not successful, it doesn’t mean, you haven’t done enough. Everyone has their theory of why they are successful, pointing to various things that worked out well for them and their techniques. If you look long enough, you will almost always find someone, that achieved similar success by doing things completely differently. There is no one correct way to be successful. (There are things to help you increase your odds of success, but that’s all.)

Especially when channels are smaller, they tend to focus a lot on subscribers. Of course, it is a great moment to reach your first 100 subscribers, especially if they start seeing a community emerge. But that’s all it should be – a great milestone to pat yourself on the back.

Views, View, Views

Views allow you to compare the performance of videos directly and seeing loyalty rates in series. But even these numbers are misleading, given that a video can rank for numbers of reasons, not only the first in the series. Seeing one video do worse than another has probably less to do with you creating better or worse content and more in the interest of people.

Sometimes a video gets a lot of views because it gets suggested with certain search terms that don’t even relate to the content in your videos. It is important to look at your traffic sources and watch time when you look at views. Views by themselves are merely an indicator, not the only number when you want to figure out how successful a video is.

RealtimeRealtime is an even worse offender than your subscriber numbers or view count. You can directly compare your performance of the last 48 hours. You start to obsess over individual views, which are out of your control. You might see a spike in a video, maybe because it is getting shared, perhaps because YouTube is suggesting it somewhere. An hour later the views drop and you feel horrible about that. You panic and try to change keywords, or you rework descriptions, even though the views could fall for a variety of reasons. Maybe the audience, interested in the sort of content, is sleeping now. In my opinion, it is best to avoid real-time views for performance and only give it a look every once in a while to get an idea, when to best release your videos. (Release them when you have the most views during the day.)

Imagine you had a job in which you could see your actual performance in real time. You might have had times during the day, you were particularly productive and will feel great about yourself. Now imagine you are tired and exhausted from working so hard and you see your performance drop. It won’t make you perform better; it will just make you feel horrible, even though you did all you could. Frantically trying to work harder will most likely just suck your spirit out of you.

Total Views

Total views don’t tell you anything about a channel or your performance. It’s a cool number to look at every blue moon, and it can give you an indication what someone might have earned over the course of his YouTube career in ad revenue, but other than that, it’s probably the most useless number of the bunch.

Comments

YouTube CommentsThe number of comments shows you the engagement of your users, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t receive many. I have videos that barely get comments, most comments on these are people proclaiming they are the first or second viewer and other uninteresting copy-pasta. Comments should be a nice extra, but you shouldn’t use the amount to evaluate your success on this platform. You can use a call-to-action to increase engagement and get a few more comments. It is more important to look at comments in terms of quality. Do you prefer to have ten people leaving a ‘FIRST’ comment or 1 person leaving a well thought-out comment about your video?

Likes VS Dislikes

Likes vs. Dislikes are tricky. Getting a lot of likes are nice, and they give you an idea of the engagement of your viewers, but they don’t reflect the success of a video or channel. I’ve seen plenty of videos with millions of views that have 50% or more dislikes. Viewers will dislike your content if they just are not interested. You will notice this with switching game genres on channels. If you tend to play strategy games and then play a first person shooter, you will almost automatically gain a bunch of dislikes. Don’t take them to heart; they are just a way for people to let you know if they like the video or not. A video that has a bunch of dislikes at first could turn out to be one of your most successful videos on your channel, once the right people find it.

Dislikes can be an indicator of something being wrong with the video itself, not necessarily the content. If your microphone cuts out or your game stutters a lot of viewers will dislike the video too. A huge spike in dislikes in a video can alarm you that something went wrong during recording or editing. Even if people don’t like the particular kind of content your create, don’t take them personally. We are all entitled to our opinions, that doesn’t make them wrong or right.

How To Deal With The Numbers

  • Please write this down somewhere: They are just numbers! They don’t relate to who you are as a person or how good your content is. Just how successful you are in that particular moment. You might do fantastically tomorrow and be back to previous levels in a week. It is not only incredibly difficult to influence because it is based mostly on luck, it is also a purely extrinsic motivator. You have to remind yourself why you are doing it and why you started it in the first place. (Ideally, because you enjoy the process of doing it.)
  • Chasing numbers can also lead you to create content you don’t enjoy making. Before you realize it, you are creating videos just because they get views, not because you enjoy creating them. The happiness you get from a high view count only lasts for so long, and the positive effect will disappear. If you enjoy making your content, you will stick with your channel, even if the views drop.
  • Set yourself limits to how often you check numbers. There are many fantastic plug-ins for browsers that allow you to block websites or restrict the amount of time you spend on them. If you notice yourself checking in more than once a day, I can highly recommend implementing one of these measures.
  • Don’t compare yourself against other channels. You are not the same person; you don’t create the same content, and there are way too many unknowns, to be able to compare your performance against someone else effectively. We look at other channels performance and feel either good about ourselves or worse about ourselves. We create a competition out of thin air and cake an extra layer of stress onto this already stressful hobby of ours. If you take away one single thing from this whole blog post: Block socialblade and any other website that allows you to look at other channel’s statistics and obsess over your own.

I hope this post can help a few of you out there, worrying about your subscriber count. If you have some thoughts you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments. I would love to know what your thoughts are.

How-to: Write better descriptions for your YouTube videos

This article is part of my ongoing YouTube Articles and Guides series.

Getting discovered and watched is one of the most difficult things about doing YouTube, and it is often what fellow content creators struggle with the most. Having good content alone is not going to be enough, you will have to keep in mind how people are going to find your videos in a sea of ever-growing content.

To be discovered and watched on YouTube, the average content creator has 4 tools at his or her disposal:

The title, description, tags and thumbnail.

This post will focus on descriptions, seeing that they often are the most ignored part of the equation. I see a lot of fellow YouTubers not take their descriptions seriously enough and missing out on potential traffic and views.

Unless you are already established and have a strong fan-following, these tools will also be the only ways to let people find you and (hopefully) become subscribers in the process. So let’s find out how to use descriptions to your advantage!

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