I’m no dummy; I know how internet searches work. I know that when I say “I found this cool video” or “Here’s an article I found on X”, I’m not doing any finding. The algorithm for whichever search engine I’m using, Bing or Google or DuckDuckGo, it’s using the keywords I provide and presented pages that match to the best of its programming. Good job, algorithms.
When it comes to recommending content, I’m not a fan. Searching is one thing; I still feel like active, present Eli is calling the shots, even though it’s not up to me which pages get displayed. But having some cold script list movies it “thinks” I like based on what past Eli watched? No thank you.
Netflix was a superior product when it A. had other company’s content and B. had better search categories. Their home page is terrible for finding different (read: cheesy 80s shit) films. Same with YouTube, and Amazon Prime. HBO Max and Peacock were blessed from birth with horrendous UX, and everyone who worked on them has hopefully learned from the process.
Back to YouTube, specifically; it’s a great site to waste time, but I want a more focused experience. There’s not that many channels I enjoy, I don’t have time to filter recommendations and find new channels, and I like the limited selection I hand picked. If I want to find a video just on replacing a headlight or the front bearing on a dryer, I’ll Google it. I don’t need tending videos for it.
I use Unhook to drop YouTube down to the essentials. Subscriptions, recent videos from those channels, done. No comments, no chat, no recommendations, no end cards. A perfect, intentional, limited selection that fits the amount of time I want to dedicate to it.
And by limited, I mean limited. Eight channels. They (almost all) have Patreon or some way to support them outside of YouTube ad revenue, and eight’s around my limit for patronage in any case. Check them out below.