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Switching to English

Updated: Jun 9

Listen to this post read by Tommy

We have made the difficult decision to switch our YouTube content to English. English will allow us to reach a broader and more diverse audience. It's a necessary choice we made to grow as a channel, but it's also a very sad choice.

The Italian Connection

I grew up consuming Italian culture and I would love to be able to make videos, movies, and documentaries in my own native language, with all its nuances and weirdnesses. 

And I am the person I am, thanks to a bunch of Italian authors. Nanni Moretti, Mario Monicelli, Paolo Villaggio, and many others have shaped the way I see the world. I have a special connection with works made in Italian for an Italian audience because I feel they talk to me. They depict the reality I know, cities like the one I grew up, families like mine. I see my roots in those movies. I loved that feeling and I wanted to be part of this thing we call "Italian culture." And now I’m giving up. 

We are giving up and it’s so fucking sad, it crushes my heart.

Smaller Linguistic Communities on YouTube

I wish one could make amazing content, targeting exclusively people from their linguistic community. Swedish content for Sweden, Tagalog content for the Philippines, etc. The truth however is that with the current state of YouTube, it’s close to impossible. Unless your native language is English or Spanish, of course.

If you come from a relatively small market and you target a tiny niche, the only way to gain exposure is to produce videos in English. And it sucks.

It’s a major problem, which reinforces itself. The less high-quality content there is in your language, the less the audience and sponsors will expect quality content. They get used to crap. Creative people around the world can often speak English, and when they look for “quality videos", they opt for English rather than their native tongue. This is also what happened to me years ago. I completely stopped watching YouTube in Italian. Indeed, I have a bias against YouTube in the Italian language. There are thousands of people like me.

YouTube doesn't Recognize Quality

The roots of the problem however are different. Language is only a side effect. The problem is that YouTube doesn’t recognize quality. Its algorithms recommend content to billions of people. It’s an incredibly complicated task. However, the way they select the content is totally flawed, as they do not possess any knowledge of what’s good or bad. They are unable to assess whether a video was appreciated by viewers or not. This is not my personal speculation. I know this because I have been making videos for more than one year.

Videos Improve but We don't Grow

Our videos are clearly getting better. They are better from any point of view. And viewers love them. How do we know??? We read the comments, for god sake! To any human able to read, it’s obvious. People enjoy our videos. But to a fucked up algorithm, apparently, it’s not obvious at all. People laugh and cry watching our videos. But the algorithm doesn’t care.

Dear algorithm, do you want to talk about numbers? Our last video has 4.4k views, 820 likes, and only 1 dislike (someone pushed the dislike by mistake?). Our videos' like-dislike ratio is constantly above 99.5%. 

We are pissed off by this platform because we are not growing in terms of viewership, despite our videos are getting better and better. This is what troubles us so much.

The Decision to Switch

Giving up Italian is an unfortunate consequence. Our logic is the following: If are stuck in a super-small niche, we should at least get a bigger pot, a bigger audience, and to do so we need English. We don’t want to get rich, we don’t want to get 1 billion followers or anything like that. We just want to be able to make the best videos possible.

We want to leave an impact on our viewers. We want to change their lives and help them become better people. But we need a sustainable business to do so. We need money. I spent 3 weeks editing and subtitling our last video. Plus a week of filming. This is a month of work. We invest money and time. 

Our resources are not unlimited and we need to find a way to survive. This is especially true for Tommy. His dream is to work full-time as a content creator.  Without a sustainable business, he’ll never be able to leave his current job.

This is why we switch to English and this is why we are so pissed off by YouTube.

Moving Forward

While this transition is bittersweet, we are hopeful about the future. This is a necessary tradeoff. We want to make bigger and bolder videos. We invite you to join us on this journey.

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