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About YouTube shorts

As you may know, the popular video sharing platform YouTube added a feature called “shorts” which entered beta in 2020[1] and got fully released to the world in 2021[2]. I personally label this “feature” as the worst thing that got added to YouTube over time and here are the reasons:

  • It makes your life hell if you have ADHD: when trying to go to bed, when waiting or just being bored, this feature will just suck you up, giving you ‘infinite’ distraction and moreover, will get very addictive to the point of delaying my sleep for several hours.
  • Made the content creation even lazier: as you may have noticed, the current content creators pushed by the algorithm by default are videos that are mostly family vlogs (or also called “child labour” in more realistic terms) or just straight up shitty Minecraft animations in which stuff keeps happening without real logic. Now, with that new “shorts” feature, we are even more overwhelmed by very short content that is just a rip-off of this already existing shitty content or just straight up stolen from other platforms.
  • Scams are made easy by this format: “Want free Robux? Hear me out” are those words familiar to you? Well, they are to me, hundreds of channels if not thousands uploaded that same clip saying to go to the channel “about” tab to get free in-game currency (mostly Robux for the game Roblox or V-Bucks for the game Fortnite). Probably because kids will mindlessly be attracted by that kind of videos, the algorithm is pushing them in mass to everybody as those kind of videos are very very profitable (lots of clicks, lots of likes, lots of watch time).

Now, no worries, if you want to fix those problems, I got you covered and some solutions might be incredibly easy:

  1. Uninstall the default YouTube app: you don’t need it, it collects a ton of data for the yankees and has tons of anti-features, “shorts” being the first one.
  2. Use an alternative YouTube app/frontend: I would recommend NewPipe[3] if you are on mobile (Android) and Piped[4] for the rest (there is a mobile version that allows background playback on iPhones as well). The big perk of Piped is that it comes packaged with another useful feature which is SponsorBlock (and as the name implies, it skips sponsors in videos), if you want that feature in NewPipe, you will need to install a patched version[5] as the original devs made it clear they will not implement it in the official releases. As a bonus, both apps won’t show you an infinite thread of “shorts” and won’t show you any ads.

I would advise to anybody to follow those steps and uninstall those “infinite scrolling” apps such as YouTube (feature, “shorts”), TikTok or any other that may come in the future or are already here (Twitter also counts in that description). Those are overall very bad for my (mental and physical) health and I vowed to eliminate all such apps of my daily life. As you can read on my website’s homepage, I do not possess any social media anymore, I deleted all my Reddit accounts (which was one of the best decisions ever regarding my mental health), deleted a familial Instagram account and I am in the process of deleting several other accounts (such as an OSU! one) from companies that don’t have any automatic deletion forms (so it takes more time to get my rights applied).

If you want to create content, well, don’t deprive yourself, post whatever you want but keep in mind to not get into the trend of doing marketable content just to be famous, do with passion. Hell, I like to stream sometimes and I even posted some videos on my personal channel. The trick is to not overdo it, don’t be a prick. If you can, publish your stuff on self-hosted projects such as PeerTube[6] (tip: you can even stream on there).

  1. The Verge, “YouTube Shorts arrives in the US to take on TikTok, but the beta is still half-baked”, March 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/18/22334540/youtube-shorts-us-beta-tiktok-competition-launch ↩︎

  2. The Guardian, “YouTube Shorts launches in India after Delhi TikTok ban”, September 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/sep/15/youtube-shorts-launches-in-india-after-delhi-tiktok-ban ↩︎

  3. NewPipe official website https://newpipe.net/ ↩︎

  4. Piped instance of Jae https://yt.jae.fi ↩︎

  5. NewPipe SponsorBlock on GitHub https://github.com/gilbsgilbs/NewPipeSponsorBlock ↩︎

  6. JoinPeerTube https://joinpeertube.org/ ↩︎