Talking heads

I have written many blogs here and I know that there is a message in here somewhere. I just feel it in my code (as Vanellope Von Schweetz would say). Over the last year I spent my time writing yet more blogs to find the message in my blogs and I realised I could go on forever blogging about my blogs.

In September I decided to do one YouTube video a week to see what I was talking about and if I could boil down very long blogs into small snippets of information, but I got fed up at how bad I was and didn’t finish them and then I accidentally smashed my phone and used that as an excuse to give up all together.

Last week, as I was watching the trains at Kings Cross and feeling frustrated at my lack of understanding about my own opinion on human-computer interaction, I had a mini-revelation which inspired me to embrace my not knowing and do one video a day until I have talked right through all my blogs and then repeat them until a) I know what I am on about and b) I am not terrible at being a talking head on YouTube.

At first I was mortified, and kept fiddling with the lights and putting on plenty of makeup but today I was tired, so didn’t do any of that. I just sat down and said what I had to say and managed three different topics. And it is a bit like Bikram Yoga, which I practice as often as I can. If you practice enough in front of the mirror (or camera) you start to like what you see or at least you get used to it enough to stop finding fault. Some days in Bikram I like it less than others, like over the summer I kept munching on cookies and created an extra layer of dough over my abs. At first I didn’t like what I saw then I decided to see it differently: Ta daa I made a comforting cookie belt!

YouTube videos are the same. I am beginning to look at me differently. Instead of criticising, I am supporting: Look at what I know! Even after one week, I see that I have a message and I enjoy listening to what I have to say (but don’t tell anyone).

I know I am supposed to have a call to action here: Come join me, subscribe, and all that jazz, but honestly, it’s ok, the videos are very long and sometimes waffly. For now, it is enough that I am watching them. And that got me thinking about a different sort of call to action which is: Get out there. Be your own fan and watch what you can create.

You may just surprise yourself.

Let’s talk! #broadcastsfrommybooth

I have been struggling to blog for a while now which was making me miserable as I like nothing better than to get a large cup of tea, swizzle round on my chair and tippety-tappety-talk into my computer.

So to wrestle back some sort of control over my writing, I began to talk tech over on YouTube and now I have embedded it here on a specially created Broadcast page. Ta daaa! The result is that I am feeling much happier.

The first time my girls caught me watching myself on TV and transcribing what I said, they thought it was really amazing and wanted their own channels but after a minute or so they started doing impressions of me falling asleep saying: I am very excited about technology. And, they have a point. I do sound a bit monotonous in What am I doing? but that is better than the video Our human experience on social media I seriously look like I am about to cry. It seems that I am not a natural in front of the camera.

My original idea was #broadcastsfrommybooth as I film myself in an old fireplace in my bedroom – my one fabulous go at interior design, even the carpet fitter thought I was mad – but it is a bit long to say in each video, and every word counts.

I use a Google Pixel phone. The camera is fabulous but doesn’t sound brilliant since the Pixel doesn’t allow you to use a plugin microphone, and if you change to a different camera app, the sound doesn’t really improve enough to make it worth the diminished video quality. Apparently, Pixel 3 will fix this problem but they said that about Pixel 2 and when I tested one, it didn’t seem to use the external mic. So, I will just use what I have.

I tried filming on my laptop with one of those headphone mics plugged in lying across the keyboard. It had great sound, but a terrible picture, I look like Voldemort (take a look – 1st Broadcast from the booth) so I turned off the softbox to get my nose back but then I looked like a guest on Most Haunted (check out Privacy and technology) although thankfully you can’t see up my nostrils. What is it with filming and noses? Softboxes are fabulous but it has taken ages to position them just right.

YouTube Creator Studio has lots of editing tools so you can trim your uploaded video, add notations and helpful graphics which I will do once I get my story straight. Currently, I don’t script my videos which I should do – it is a YouTube rule – but it’s a bit tricky talking about my own ideas in a couple of minutes. I just need to practice.

I manage to wear a lot of black even though that is a big no-no and try to follow the other YouTube rules like put face powder on to so as to not be shiny and distracting. I also stare right into the tiny lens and bring my energy to no one in particular which is easier said than done, believe you me.

Speaking into a tiny lens for a maximum of five minutes is very different from lecturing to computer scientists in a purpose built room for at least an hour where I get moment-by-moment feedback. However, I am enjoying the challenge. I gurn a lot and sometimes my hair looks a bit crazy though I bought a hairbrush this morning. This afternoon, I was drinking tea in between takes so my lipstick is all over the place. Yes that’s right, I look like I don’t know how to put on lipstick.

What can I say? YouTubing is much harder than it looks and I am in awe of those who make it look so great but now I have my first real subscriber over on YouTube who is not a member of my family and thinks I have useful things to say, I am inspired to talk more to my audience.

Today, I talked a lot about The Social Animal on Social Media and tomorrow I will tackle Web Design. I can’t wait!