As many of you may know, one of my projects is to adapt some of the more popular Skeptoid podcast episodes for the world’s largest single audience venue: YouTube.
I’m posting this blog not so much to make you aware of it, but to solicit your feedback. The show is called inFact with Brian Dunning and is now in its second season. Today’s episode, season 2 number 8, is about conspiracy theorists. Must we assume that they’re nuts, or is there a more rational explanation for why belief in conspiracies is so widespread? See how I answered this question:
I’m trying specifically to hit these points:
- The videos are intended for the general YouTube audience, and presumes little to no previous experience with scientific skepticism.
- The videos must be no more than about 3 minutes. Data shows very clearly that most viewers only watch short videos all the way through, and almost nobody even starts videos that are much longer than this.
- All content is legal. All backgrounds, images, and music are rights released (most are purchased, sponsored, or public domain).
Now obviously, there is far more that could be said about this particular topic. What I discussed – which many of you may recognize as agency detection – is only a single bullet point. When limited to a 3-minute runtime, I have to do my best to make a single strong point. And I have to make it to an audience that I assume has no previous exposure to the subject. Considering my previous experience with Skeptoid, I also assume that many of the viewers are going to have preconceived notions that make them hostile to my message, so I try to be engaging rather than confrontational.
I’ve heard many times from teachers who use the series in classrooms (which is obviously encouraged and free). So far, they like the single subject nature of each video, which allows for focused discussion. And I think the language and presentation is a good mix between accuracy and simplicity.
It’s also noteworthy that inFact is crowdfunded. I’m pleased to report that this has worked quite effectively; it’s meant I’ve not had to spend money out of my own pocket to produce the series since season 1, or to miss a paying workday to work on it. The pace of per-episode funding has not been as fast as I’d hoped, but if we can improve the show and gain a larger crowdfunding base, perhaps that will change too. (The show is ad-supported too, but so far that’s a pittance that’s not even worth counting.)
I’m interested on your thoughts on the show’s content and its direction. I’m less in need of production notes; everyone is Cecil B. DeMille and I do already have talented people continuing to help me with some of the lingering production issues. But your thoughts on content and direction are most welcome. Thanks!