Why testing videos are loosing with “Game of Thrones”

A few days ago I read an interesting headline:

“The tester’s cinema dies” (see #7 — sorry it is in polish)

It’s a reaction to the number of views of published talks that have been recorded during multiple testing conferences over the past year(s), mainly in Poland: #1 and/or #2 (depending on the event you may be lucky and found some talks in English by really good/known speakers!).

These sad numbers (roughly ~200 on average per video in the course of one/two years) let me start thinking about it, about reasons why the score bar is so low, is it only testing community in Poland or the overall trend? What about top conferences in Europe (AgileTD) or in the USA, in the Asia market? what about dev meetings (not only national conferences but also local meetups)? What is the difference between talks published 4-5 years ago and recent ones? as it seems the older ones scored a few thousand views?

These are just a few questions you may ask yourself and other testers.

What can influence the numbers?

As you can imagine a lot of different things, starting with the viewers and their interests, goals and most importantly time – do we have time to invest in watching the talk? what about the experience? the “seasoned” testers will rather skip introductory aka 101 talks, they might have seen already similar ones in the past …

Let’s now move to the talk itself … what is so special in the topic/speaker to be the one “watched”? there are other talks on the same topic available, so what is so special that the “+1” should go to this particular talk? what is so special to even be considered as an option to view in the era of Netflix and other content available one click away? imagine the viewer has only 40 minutes daily … is the talk really so good, so innovative, so eye-opening that will win the battle with “easy content” like a sitcom or other the best ever series like GoT? A few weeks ago @techgirl1908 posted or retweeted an interesting tweet that basically you, as a speaker, shall be able to deliver your message in less than 1-hour long talk – often 40 minutes or so – the time of the whole episode of your favorite series, often packed with drama, action, etc – why we often need more time?

Going further to the conf organizers and publishers of the talks … what is your goal here? what is your target audience? are you going to publish for the ones that enrolled in your event but due to the multitrack were not able to see all the talks? or you want to promote your conference/event and hope that community will benefit from it even if they missed your event, but you hope next year they will show up? or you simply record and publish talks because of the other conferences are doing so and you don’t want to be the only one not doing so? And even if you publish the talk … are you waiting for the community to find the talk on their own? or you are proactive and go to multiple social media with announcements about just published content? one tweet, one post may be too little to hit the jackpot, not to mention timeline … how long do we need to wait to see the recording published? if too long then consider that in the lead time others can publish similar talk, or deliver a brand new webinar on the topic or simply a possible viewer can lose track of the talk in the flood of content she/he is facing each day.

Hey speaker, what about you? are you satisfied with your talk? are you proud of it? If you see it published do you support its promotion? (retweets, posts, etc)

As you can see lots of things can influence the rating measured by a number of views. My personal opinion is that we simply have too much content available right now on the internet. Just take a look at YouTube, channel for each conference, multi-year history available, talks in multiple languages by rock solid speakers etc. I remember times when I was really waiting for “notification” that the talk has been published and almost immediately jumped to see it, that can explain why older talks have higher counters. Right now, you can get the notification on a daily basis, sometimes for an event that happened half a year ago, that one talk has been published … I can understand this, you need to find time to cut and clean up the recording and if you consider doing so for ~200 people then motivation can be a little lower.

Nevertheless, I would like to encourage you, video publishers, to continue your good job and posting new content whenever you have one – it’s always an opportunity to see not so yet famous speakers, see the progress they made and catch up on various topics or viewpoints to one or another discussion. At the same time I’ve got a request to you: the watcher – if you invest your time to see “the testing movie” – share your thoughts, high 5s etc – let others know that the material is worth their time and we all can benefit from it.


Happy watching and testing!

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