Why I've Been Watching Less YouTube Videos

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Day 13 of #100DaysToOffload

YouTube Doesn't Remember Me

I still have a YouTube account but I hardly ever log in. I also use a VPN to surf the web and automatically open YouTube in a separate Firefox container. My cookies and history wipes itself every day.  Whenever I visit YouTube, I'm greeted by a homepage full of random videos that aren't relevant to me and, to be honest, are sometimes extremely unappealing to me.

I also use NewPipe on my phone which is an incredibly privacy friendly way to use YouTube. Sometimes I use Invidious instances to watch videos on YouTube, when I can remember to.

I've "Pinned" Bad Emotions to YouTube

"Pinning" is a term that Simon D. coined in his Habit Reframe Mindset methodology. It's the act of associating certain actions with emotions, some good and some bad. If there are habits you want to do more of, you try to pin good emotions so that you are more inclined to do  them. For bad habits, you want to pin bad emotions to it so that you subconsciously avoid them.

Ties to Google

I've been on a slow and long journey of removing Google from my life. I've realized I will never probably never be 100% rid of it but I am trying to do the best with the tools available. Every time I visit YouTube, I think about my goal and feel a little bit of discomfort.

Feeling Like I'm Wasting Time

Obviously, there is a ton of educational content on YouTube. I don't have a problem with this kind of content but the reason why I was so addicted to YouTube in the first place is because of junk content. I would waste hours jumping from useless video to useless video, chasing dopamine. Usually I would resurface and it would be in the morning and I'd be full of regret. It's not a good feeling. I try not to blame myself as this is entirely by design. If YouTube videos weren't so addicting, YouTube would hardly make a profit off of people watching videos!

I've Replaced It With Other Things

Some of the things I've replaced YouTube with are both good and bad. 

The good:

  • Reading (I've read a lot of books in January!)
  • Learning how to draw
  • Talking to friends
  • Listening to vinyl records
  • Playing with my cat

The bad:

  • Reddit

I Still Watch YouTube Videos

I still consider this a win because I hardly ever go on YouTube anymore to kill time. I usually go there with a purpose.

Some highly specific examples:

  • I've been working through the Drawabox self taught art course and all of their video content is hosted on YouTube. There are also a ton of other art resources on YouTube.
  • Sometimes a musician I love comes out with a new single and  I go watch  the music video.
  • My  friends send me YouTube videos and thankfully I can usually just watch them embedded most of the time or on NewPipe and am not tempted by the "Related Videos" list on the side.
  • Sometimes I have a very specific "How to X" problem  that YouTube helps me solve.

It's Okay to Watch YouTube Videos

I've been talking like YouTube is a bad thing. It isn't for everyone, it depends on what you value, but for me, YouTube is not a good thing. I can lose myself in YouTube videos and end up feeling like garbage at the end of it. It also goes against one of my values. For those two reasons combined, I try to make an conscious (although lately it seems more unconscious) effort to avoid YouTube. Now I just gotta try this method with Reddit!