Is Youtube Recommending Me to Me?

Screenshot of My Youtube Homepage

Let’s start in that top row. Youtube’s algorithms are moving in the right direction. I started this year with a yoga binge, and it’s not showing any signs of stopping. My musical tastes tend to follow the weather patterns. So, deep in the heart of winter, I’m likely to ask Sufjan to keep me company while I’m reading or writing. In those moments of sunshine (internally or climactically), watching the Tricia Miranda-choreographed video to Missy Elliot’s “WTF” is a definite bright spot. Youtube knows I’m going to watch this again because I’ve already watched it so many times.

In the recommended row, we jump all over the place. Yoga, sure. Stephen Colbert, Ze Frank, Lip Sync Battle, and Lianna LaHavas all make sense as well. I can only guess the Kimmel recommendation was inspired by Colbert. Similarly, the Tina Fey suggestions likely came from my searching for her cold open appearance on last week’s SNL. “Stop searching for your passion,” though? No real idea.

But that wasn’t the question. What do they say about me as a person? I appreciate talented, funny, thoughtful women who make unexpected choices. And, to a lesser extent, men who talk into cameras. They point to the idea that I like to laugh, and I enjoy music. When the two of them can happen together, all the better.

Interestingly, when you asked, I started to worry a bit. I’v enever thought about whether the person I am when I drop into a Youtube hole is the same person I am on Twitter, Instagram, or here. Those places are all productive. Even when I’m liking or retweeting, I’m they are making public acts of expression. They don’t let you know what tweets made me smile or think, but that I decided I didn’t want to share.

Youtube, on the other hand, is still a place of consumption for me. While I’ve a few videos posted there and on other sites, I’m more often searching than uploading. I was worried the questioner and the talker might not be the same person. They were.

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