I have unsubscribed from LinusTechTips

LinusTechTips is one of the channels I have the most followed out of my subscriptions over the years. I’ve been writing this post on and off since May 2017 and I have unsubscribed in April 2018.

I feel like this post is still relevant because it also shows what YouTube is becoming.

What I liked

I like the unboxing type videos that were going over hardware and benchmarks. The overclocking guides were nice and I always wished they would showcase some of the keyboard and mouse software that is actually part of the experience.

The content was genuine and didn’t seem all that forced (unlike pushing a Dyson sponsorship over a vlog).

There used to be something to get out of the content.

What I disliked

When doing review of keyboard and mice they always skipped the software that comes with it. It’s part of the experience too. They also don’t cover older hardware to see how it performs nowadays or make follow ups on gaming laptops…

Once the content is produced and uploaded they’re done, unless it’s a multi part video.

The silly faces do not make me feel like I’m a grown up too even though they were not as bad as the current ones.

Why I’m ending my subscription

It’s not what it was. It became pretty bad and that’s what happens when you expand. The clickbait is painful. The thumbnails are terrible. The video title could be randomly generated by and algorithm for all I care.

Toddlers made the thumbnails and wrote the titles

By looking at the thumbnails and the titles it’s really hard to know what it really is about:

  • Gaming with your FEET: what the name/brand of the device?
  • High School for GAMERS: where?
  • Hotel Built for Gamers – WHAT???: what and where again?
  • This Laptop Does EVERYTHING! Sorta.: which laptop?
  • Why is EVERYONE Buying the $200 Phone??: what phone?

The videos only aim to generate clicks, not content.

Clickbaiting Intensifies

Some call it sensationalist, I call it clickbait.

Name catching videos are necessary, right, everyone need to earn a living because food doesn’t grow on tables. But there are video titles that too far.

  1. A GAMING PC AS THIN AS A COIN!
  2. Triple your Battery Life for FREE! THIS METHOD REALLY WORKS!
  3. AMD RYZEN 5 AND 3 PERFORMANCE PREVIEW!
  4. We Stole Tampons from the Cashier-less Amazon Go
  5. Double your RAM – This Method Actually Works!

It sounds like a lie that a PC could be as thin as a coin. When I think of the thinness (or thickness) of a coin I don’t think about the diameter of one but about the actual side, edge or slice. When comparing thinness you take the thinnest part to compare to the other thinness part. The flat side of a coin isn’t the thinnest.

Triple your battery life by crippling your performance and experience! We could also desolder all the LEDs just in case and replace the electic fans with hand fan.

Already recommend while I just unsubscribed

Low Quality content

At first the quality was low. The idea was putting out new videos as quick as possible but we had informative content at least. That was during the NCIX time. Then LinusTechTips became a team and quality went up and the content was really good.

But now everything is going down the drain. Quality and informative content doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

  1. What Happens If You Delete System32?
  2. $30 MOTHERBOARD?! – Can it game?
  3. 5 BIZARRE Wearables;
  4. WTF?? A 3-Dimensional Keyboard??
  5. AMD LET ME BUILD THEIR NEW 80 VEGA SUPERCOMPUTER…

The 3D keyboard might be more damaging than anything else. The quality of the video is so bad that it doesn’t even feel serious anymore. We don’t need to have actors fake fainting/falling. The old B-roll was actually better.

Nitpicking

I don’t need to hear the sound of a data center, you can afford to do voiceovers now, not that it’s expensive or hard to integrate over moving pictures. I’d prefer high quality B-roll instead of bad and unnecessary acting.

Even an amateur would be able to stitch audio with Audacity and merge it with video by using ffmpeg.

The videos are also clearly aimed at the North American audience and the rest of world, in wich there’s Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, won’t be able to relate to the pricing or the imperial system. There’s no world besides America on YouTube most of the time I guess.

For the pricing excluding tax makes price seems so much cheaper, it’s deceptive but it’s not like they sell the hardware they review so… Whatever I guess?
And again they target a North American audience.

High quality content

Let’s give credit to the guy where he deserves it. Some of his recent content can be pretty interesting.

These kind of videos are hard to come by today.

YouTube problem

Monetizing videos is harder than ever. The adpocalypse hit hard and pushed YouTubers to seek alternate ways of earning money such as sponsorships and Patreon. On the surface it’s not a big deal for us viewers and the idea isn’t bad at all if it really pays out in the end and doesn’t end up worse that the preroll ads.

Sponsors are no longer funny, they’re the unfunny joke that keeps getting told over and over until someone decides to change their slogan (Squarespace for example). Some other sponsors are irrelevant to the content been watched and I’m genuinely impressed that a shampoo brand hasn’t sponsored anyone I watch yet.

For sponsors to appeal to their viewer they need to be relevant and unlike TV they must not be the same copy/pasted speech that everyone knows and that doesn’t actually differ much from one channel to the other.

Pushing Patreon or some other pay wall is not as bad but it can still be tiring to end a video and have 2 or 3 minutes where the names of the Patreon subscribers are being shown or read… This is a waste of bandwidth and artificially increases the length of videos (to trick the algorithm maybe).
This also feels a bit like shaming the non paying viewer.

Sadly I have no viable solution to this issue. Revenue is never secured in this kind of business.

Recommendation

There are a couple of channels that are genuinely good, don’t clickbait and produce content with substance, I will highlight more in details these in a later post. In the meantime I’ll just list them here:

Honorable mention to Level 1 Techs (Level 1 Linux) for Wendell’s Linux coverage and hardware (but I still don’t like their news coverage).

At the time of publishing, these YouTuber are light on sponsors and put forward their content before anything else. There’s much more passion coming out of what they do.

Conclusion

LinusTechTips is becoming really irrelevant outside of the benchmarking of new hardware and new hardware isn’t released that often.

The videos are boring, clickbaity, irrelevant to my interest and full of sponsors that are irrelevant.

Just to be clear I’m not attacking anyone. I just don’t enjoy them anymore. I couldn’t care less if the channel were to shutdown, their success doesn’t affect me and I don’t want to be frustrated with the new “content” they produce.
They do not need me nor my subscription.

If I’m not coding, I’m not working

I’m currently a web developer and whenever I’m part of a meeting or just not in front of the computer smashing the keys to advance in my JIRA task I feel like I’m not working.

Same goes when I’m doing research or writing snippets of code to test or benchmark ideas.

I know that this feeling is wrong, being at work and doing some research by written snippets of code or being part of meetings is part of the job.
Shaking off this feeling isn’t easy.