Hi everyone! This is going to be a video discussing some YouTube and Google+ related features I am excited about, and some, not so much. I’m not really familiar with Google+ and don’t really use it so I honestly can’t say these things will be a sure thing. But, if it allows me to connect with my viewers easier then I’m all for it. I do have a Google+ page of course. Just click on the icon here to access it if you wish, if you want to add me to your circles. [Google+] You don’t want to do that. [whisper] Or, just check the ‘about’ tab on my channel for social media links. I don’t use Google+ for anything personal, it would just be to engage my viewers. Kind of like if I had a Twitter or Facebook account for me as a public figure, which I currently do not. I don’t know what I would do with it since it really wouldn’t be personal. Let me know what your opinions are on that.

Live Streaming / Events

The first feature I can bring to you all is live streaming. I think it would be great to do a live stream to answer your questions and other things. This is through YouTube directly. However, there is also Google+ hangouts which is pretty much like face to face video conversations. Again, I don’t have a clue how all this would work, never tested it and cannot guarantee anything. But, it’s there and I think it would be an interesting experiment to do.

Top Fans

Next is a featured called ‘Top Fans.’ This allows me to interact with my most loyal ‘fans.’ Of course I don’t call all of you my fans. Rather, I see you all as a community. We can learn from one another to benefits all of us. That’s how I see it. Anyway, this feature allows me to connect with those of you that have the most engagement with my channel. This is automatically done. I cannot control it. How this will may benefit some of you is through Google+ I can add you to a ‘Top Fans’ circle and with that I could interact a little more. For instance, I could upload a private video to these ‘Top Fans’ before it becomes public. I think this is a great concept since I can allow some of you access to my content before it becomes available to everyone. However, the downside is that you will need a Google+ account.

Google+ Comments on YouTube

Lastly, and I apologize if I go on and on here and am being too technical, but I just want to give my honest opinion as well as inform those that may not be aware. But, I’m sure most of you are aware of the new YouTube integration with Google+ when it comes to commenting. [How to: Google+ YouTube Comments] Oh my where do I begin?! So many people have been beyond enraged by this change. If you want to comment on YouTube, you must have a Google+ account, preferably under your real name is what they say. Google+ is a social networking site and not everyone who uses YouTube wants it. A lot of people don’t even know they have it. Or some people have several, all by accident. Not to mention the problems many people have had by integrating their account with Google+. Losing all their subscribers and videos becoming private. All those things many people have complained about. The latter actually happened to me at one point.

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Anyway, when the new comment system came out there was so much rage on the Internet. The official video about these changes got so many views and comments and is literally at around a 95% dislike rating. This happened very quickly. Also, so many people made videos about how crappy the new comment system is. There was even a petition on to have the comment system reverted which had tons of signatures. People were saying it was the absolute worst change that was implemented into YouTube. It definitely got a lot of attention, perhaps that is what Google wanted after all, to get people using it?

How the new comments work is that every time a comment is made, a Google+ post is created. Even if you do not share that post with Google+, it creates a Google+ post that is only visible on that particular video. This also means comment notifications are now through Google+ and the option to change if you are emailed with comments and replies is a Google+ setting, not a YouTube setting any more. And, this can be very difficult to find the settings for.

Despite the fact that it requires Google+, the new system really isn’t that bad I would say, there are a number of positive features, at least from what I’ve seen. One being that it uses hashtags, which I think is a good way to help get a video discovered, through Google+ that is.

A problem many people have is that it appears that top comments and spam comments are now based on what Google thinks is important to each individual user, not so much what the users consider good and bad comments anymore.

However, my main gripe, and I think many people’s problem besides the Google+ integration, is the fact that comments made prior to this system are rendered completely useless because no Google+ post was made for them. This means that comments posted all the way back in 2005 when YouTube first started all the way up ’till November 6th, 2013 can no longer be interacted with. No thumbs up or down or even replies. Are you serious? Eight years worth of comments! That really upsets a lot of people.

You can’t just make eight years worth of comments completely inactive like that. That is ridiculous. I guarantee there was a way for the comments to be properly converted to the new system making them interactive. Of course there was a way, but they are just too focused on getting new comments, forget the old.

From a personal standpoint, my videos got such wonderful comments from you all, and some of them were voted up because they were very meaningful. Well that’s all gone now. Those top comments can no longer be voted on or replied to or anything and they will eventually just go unnoticed. And, that’s not right.

Another big issue now, and this is intentional, is that YouTube comments are being posted on Google+ and vice versa. Instead of viewing someone’s YouTube channel to see if they commented on a video, you have to view their Google+ page. “What? Why is my YouTube comment showing on my Google+ page?” Additionally, someone may share a YouTube video to their Google+ and then they realize that post is in the YouTube comment sections. “What? I posted this on Google+ not YouTube. Why is it here in the YouTube comments section?” Be sure to adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

But, all of this can increase viewership, despite the fact that not many people know about what the new comments are actually doing. Usually when I get a new comment now, it says that so-and-so shared my video. Meaning that they publicly commented on my video and it automatically shared it to their Google+ for their circles to see. So, it is a comment and a share going to their Google+ page.

People can’t be that lazy to just hit the share button below the video and share it to Google+ to communicate about a video with their circles. People want to see comments about the video on YouTube, not it’s engagement with people on Google+.

So, I don’t think it is necessarily all bad, then again, I’m not a commenter. But, it would take some time for everyone to get use to it. But, the fact that it is not backwards compatible is completely unacceptable, especially from a professional standpoint. If they fix that, then I honestly wouldn’t really have a problem with it.

The future I see for this is that soon everything will be done through Google+. There will probably no longer be private YouTube messages. Instead, if you want to private message someone, it will go through Google+. I mean, comments are going through there now, why not messages.

Speaking of messages, I cannot respond to your message you send me if you have the YouTube privacy setting set to “Allow only my contacts to send me messages.” It won’t let me reply. So, if you message me and would like a reply, please make sure this is unchecked, or unfortunately I will not be able to get back to you.

Timecode Issue

The other problem I wanted to bring up that is also somewhat related to this new comment systems as well as directly impacts the interaction of my videos with annotations, has to do with the timecode. If you’re familiar with my videos and have annotations turned on, you know I use annotations when necessary to link to other videos that are related to what I am talking about. Of course I always put the related videos in the description as well. But anyway, sometimes I like to link to a specific part of a video, let’s say maybe 1:23 into a video.

This can easily be done by adding an ampersand after the url along with t=1m23s. YouTube wants to use the number sign, or pound sign instead of the ampersand. Anyone who is a web designer or knows how these differ knows why the pound sign just doesn’t work. It works sometimes, but is unreliable, and doesn’t work at all when an ad plays before the video. Yet, YouTube wants to keep using it.

Find any video on YouTube, preferably one that has a pre-roll ad, and try it for yourself. Just add the code to the end of the url and you can see for yourself which one works and which doesn’t. The one YouTube has been promoting for a long time just doesn’t work consistently.

I cannot add the ampersand to annotations, so I am forced to link to a specific time using the pound sign, which doesn’t always work. This is all frustrating to me because I just want things to work for my viewers and not create a bad user experience by saying I am linking to a specific part and then it turns out I was a liar and didn’t, but in actuality I did and it’s just YouTube being stupid. This only affects annotations, the description I use an ampersand when linking to a specific timecode, which works.

Also, the new comments section has the same problem with the timecode. If you see a timecode in a comment, you use to be able to click on it and it would seek to that part of the video. Now, since the comment section is rendered in an iframe, clicking a timecode opens the same video up in a new tab with the pound sign as that timecode in the url. Which as I said earlier does not always work. So, this is all so very frustrating.

Anyway thank you to anyone who listened to all that nonsense. Let me know what you think about this new comment system. And, especially about the live streaming and ‘Top Fans’ and Google+ stuff. Thanks for watching!

Additional Info

On November 6th, 2013 Google changed their comment system over to Google+ posts. Oh my…the number of people who hated this thing. Every single video I would go to had all these comments with artwork of genitals, symbols, etc. and links to spammy websites. It was actually quite amusing! Regardless, all comments posted prior to this change were not able to be interacted with, in that they couldn’t be replied to or up/down voted. In addition, the official video for the new comment system (which has been taken down), had a 95% dislike ratio, which is the worst ratio I’ve seen on a YouTube video.

I was so disappointed by this because things simply didn’t work. Spam comments were ALWAYS at the top because a bunch of people would reply to them. This will simply not be ‘fixed’ because it is working as it should according to the new system, but certainly needs a better approach.

The most interesting thing was that when someone would reply to a comment and the reply was marked as spam, the reply would be automatically deleted by Google+ after 7 days. This happen about 50% or more of the time. It doesn’t matter if I approved the spam reply or not, it would still be deleted because I can only approve it on the YouTube side, while it remains ‘marked as spam’ on Google+, when it simply isn’t spam to begin with. I even got into contact with YouTube about this very issue, even investigated it throughly, took screenshots for several days to show them. Well, their team apparently investigated the issue for about a month and came back with this:

The fact that comment replies marked as spam are automatically purged after 7-10 days is currently working as intended in the product. In an effort to help keep spam and abuse under control we automatically remove replies that have been flagged as spam if they are not moderated out within this time period.

I just laughed hysterically after reading that since they cannot even admit that there is a problem on their end! If it’s ‘working as intended’ as they claim, why isn’t it happening with all replies marked as spam instead of just 50/50? Why, even after I approve it on YouTube, is it not approved also on Google+ so it’s not auto-deleted? It doesn’t make sense! Well, that is apparently ‘working as intended’ so I shouldn’t question it…

I even made a prediction in this video that private messages would soon be moved over to a Google+ system, and sure enough, about eight months after the Google+ comment system was introduced, it happened. I was DEVASTATED!! I began to lose contact with people I’ve gotten to know and had to move over to Facebook for communication. And guess what, all these things are in fact part of how Google+ is designed. Google+ simply has NO private message system. So on YouTube, there are private Google+ posts that are sent to your inbox that CANNOT be deleted, marked as read or unread, or even put into any kind of order. This is unacceptable.

The worst thing would be the organization. If someone replied to a ‘message’ it wouldn’t appear at the top of the list, but rather it is organized by the date of the FIRST post. So, if I was communicating with someone for a month, their ‘message’ would be at the BOTTOM of the list, even when actively communicating with them. In addition, when sending a message, it will always remain in your ‘sent’ folder, even if the person replies to you and are having an active conversation since technically you sent the first post. Goodbye Google+ I’m done with that! I only use it because I apparently need one since I have a YouTube account. Otherwise, I have no need for it. I post everything I post on Facebook also on Google+, but the interaction is LOW. Even at a point when I had triple the number of Google+ followers, the interactions on Google+ were non-existent compared to Facebook.

As for the ‘top fans’ feature, I was looking forward to it and seeing who were the most engaged people with my channel…well, how the feature works is by showing people who have the most engagement with my videos and channel. This also includes people who are spammers and haters that go from video to video, commenting and replying to a bunch of people. Yeah, no thank you…they are not top fans!

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