On the initial response to my post-laptop video

750 Words — Day #15

I’ve spent the last 48 hours or so constantly responding to comments on my post-laptopist video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANqAvGyMivE)

I’ve never had such a reaction to anything and it’s giving me some new feelings.

I’m pleased that the discussion has generally been so positive and good natured — one or two people have reacted dismissively or defensively, but largely even if people do disagree with me, they have a lot to say about why, and it all feels like a constructive discussion.

As I think I mentioned, I do wish I’d shown the video to some people who are more pro-laptop before I finalised it — as it happened I shared it with some other non-laptop users for reassurance that I wasn’t significantly misrepresenting them, but I didn’t really “battle test” it! If I had, I would have made a couple of changes:

  1. Emphasise that this isn’t a retreat from laptops, but a push forwards. Computers can be in anything now and they’re more interesting to me when their form matches their function more closely. We have protocols and standards like Ableton Link and Eurorack that let lots of disparate machines work together in unprecedented ways. Arduino lets you build your own hardware and access to 3D printing lets you customise hardware to your exact needs.
  2. Show a couple of example performances I feel are equivalent to the man standing alone behind a laptop: Amon Tobin in a projection-mapped cube, a live band playing to a click track with hard synced visuals and anywhere where “hard-coded” visuals dictate the flow of the music.
  3. Perhaps I could have hinted more at the alternatives I will be proposing. But once the series gets going this will obviously be redundant.

There was a big thread on Twitter following this post.

Click through to Twitter to see some of the reactions

Graham Dunning posted the video on Facebook (you’ll have to be friends with one of us to see it) and the discussion is currently at 303 comments, and still ticking up every time I check my phone. When checking for that number I saw another thread on Graham’s wall with quite a few comments too. There might be threads all over the place by now.

There are a fair few, some very lengthy, comments on the video itself. There’s also been a nice discussion on Tim Exile’s Facebook group here.

YouTube analytics so far

The video is up to 1300 views in its first 48 hours which I’ve never seen before. It hasn’t been posted on a big blog yet, to my knowledge. I think that first spike was in response to Mark Brown’s tweet here:

I’ve mentioned him before as an inspiration for the style of my video — his commentary-on-game-design videos are really nicely put together.

My emotional reaction to all of this has been quite complicated.

It’s been stressful responding to all the comments — more so early on when there was such a steady stream of perspectives to address. I never felt “under-attack” but I do have a worry that some people will be ready to pounce if my actual advice turns out to be underwhelming or inadequate to their needs.

I battle-hardened myself to trolling and criticism to some degree with my Twitch streams, but it’s different when the people disagreeing with me are people I want to help. It made me feel bad when people were reacting to it — positively or negatively. I didn’t like the feeling. This has given me pause. I know that being in the limelight is not a source of happiness for anyone. You regularly hear famous people talking about how difficult it is to be famous — how vulnerable you become and how little sympathy you get for reacting badly to criticism. I know in my heart that fame itself is not a path to happiness but I maintain that any attempts to raise my profile are made in an effort to gain enough of a following that when I book a gig, I can fill a room, instead of expecting a small handful of friends. (Now I say that out loud… wouldn’t I prefer a small handful of friends to a large crowd of strangers..? Hmm…)

Anyway, the pressure’s on now. I’ve attracted a few people to my channel (like 64 subscribers so far, but that’s a 30% gain ;)) and it’s always nice to see a couple of new people commit to that Facebook Like button on my Page.


In other news, it was suggested to me that I should consider gay clubs as a place to play my electro pop music. This idea had occurred to me in the past and I’d love to establish myself in that scene — a lot more so than with stand-offish “hipster” crowds . I’m not really sure how to do it though. But I’ll be working on that as an avenue. Nobody’s gonna give a shit whether I use a laptop in that environment though! Well, except me ;)

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