The YouTuber has started an artists against algorithms tag.
A discussion on the use of algorithms in relation to art is always an interesting one. Leena Normington shares her opinions about the YouTube algorithm and how it affects the type of content online creators upload to the site.
Leena begins by pointing out that algorithms aren’t always bad, “but they’re not human”. She discusses her fascination with how the algorithm influences what creators make and explains that, without human curation, it’s impossible for websites like YouTube to show all the varied art forms on the platform.
Introducing what she’s called the Artists Against Algorithms Tag, Leena discusses her questions. “They’re not only interesting for people who make stuff to think about, they’re interesting for people who watch you to know,” she explains.
The first question in the tag asks: Do you spend time researching algorithms and what they want, and does it affect what you make?
Leena explains that, for her, the answers is yes, putting most of this down to her job. As a result, she feels this research is a part of her professional practice. She admits that after researching she picks and chooses what she prioritises from the algorithm itself in order to continue making content she enjoys.
She then asks what creators would make if there were no restraints.
Leena thinks she would invest more time into her Panic series, creating less frequent but more ambitious content. She is quick to point out that there is a gap in the market for conversational content, as opposed to developed documentaries.
The tag moves on to ask: If you couldn’t upload for six months and it wouldn’t affect your wage or views, what would you do instead?
She admits she would not like it. “I’d miss you guys,” she states, before making it clear that this dislike doesn’t stem from needing her voice out there all the time, but that she likes the connection and conversation. She thinks she would create more detailed long-form videos and walking tours of London. She’d also complete a lot of 30 day challenges with this mythical down time.
The tag then moves into the realm of recommendations, asking: What is the best thing the algorithm has suggested to you?
Leena immediately launches into a talk about Victorian sewing YouTube, highlighting a video discussing the historical accuracy of the Mary Poppins costume by Bernadette Banner.
Moving on from the algorithm, she then discusses the best thing she has discovered through human suggestion. She discusses Witch, Please, a podcast of two professors rereading Harry Potter through a queer feminist lens.
She then asks the ever present question: What is a better way the algorithm could work? She explains that, when you tell the algorithm what you want, it usually works quite well. She then suggests giving website users the ability to say what they want to see by putting in keywords, as well as suggesting guest human curators.
The video’s penultimate question is: How can people support your work outside algorithm?
Finally, she asks: Do you support other creators work and, if so, who? Her short answer is yes. She lists TLDR news, Amanda Palmer, Jen Campbell, For Harriet, Caitlin Doughty, Radimo Clothing, Aislin Evans, Ahsante Bean, Double Down News, and Julia Nunes.
We can’t wait to see which creators take on the Artists Against Algorithms Tag!