Surprising Lessons from Ten Million YouTube Views | Fr. Robert Barron | CWR blog
The printing press constituted a revolution, and something very similar, but even more explosive, is at work today
Just last month, my media ministry Word on Fire marked a milestone: 10,000,000 views on our YouTube channel. This achievement fills me with gratitude both to God and to the many people who have taken the time to watch one or more of the videos that I’ve produced over the past several years. It also provides the occasion for me to reflect a bit on both the pitfalls and advantages of evangelizing through the new media.
When we commenced our outreach through YouTube seven years ago, we did so in the manner of an experiment. YouTube had just come into being at that time, and it largely featured crude, homemade videos of cats jumping off the roof and babies gurgling for their mother’s camcorder. I thought that we should try to invade this space with the Gospel and so I resolved to make short video commentaries on movies, music, current affairs, cultural happenings, etc. We had absolutely no idea whether anyone would watch, and at first, our offerings garnered just a small audience. I distinctly remember being thrilled when one of our videos managed to pass the 500 views mark for the first time.
But over the months and years, word spread, and we began to build an audience. The first video of ours to go viral was my response to Bill Maher’s awful movie “Religulous.” In the course of a few weeks, it had been seen by 100,000 people, and it continues to perform well, even to the present. In fact, the atheists have been my most active friends on the Internet. Whenever I do a video on Maher or Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking, I get a strong reaction and lots of views.
One of the features of YouTube that I appreciate the most is its interactivity.