Friday, January 13, 2012

Video Relatedness

Last October, I conducted an inquiry into how my YouTube channel fits into the broader YouTube econ-system. Here's what I did.

First, I compiled a list of all of the videos that were "related" to my videos through the related videos section along the right hand side of each YouTube video page. Usually, there are 20 videos that are called "related" to the one that you are watching. As I have about 95 videos, this list could get quite large (possibly but not likely reaching 95*20 different YouTube videos).

Second, I followed the links to the related videos of that list of videos. Along the way, I collected information about the number of likes and dislikes, total views to date and upload date.

Finally, I followed those loosely related videos to their related videos (one last time for good measure). Once I put everything together, I had obtained a list of 135647 "related videos" (to three levels; most of these links were in the final list; 120506).

Within this set of links, there were many duplicates. Some videos are just more central to the network of videos out there. To better understand what kinds of videos are near mine in YouTube space, I enumerated the top 50 videos (by frequency of occurrence) in this list. Links to these videos now appear in a new tab on this blog called Fifty Educational YouTube Videos.

A couple of comments about these videos.
  1. One would think that starting this process using the videos on my channel would bias this relatedness index toward my own channel's videos. After all, my channel's videos are related in the sense that they're instructional videos made by the same person. How much more related can they be? Surprisingly, only three out of the top fifty videos were mine. In retrospect, these are three of my most popular videos as well. So, it seems that YouTube's algorithm mixes some diversity of experience with relatedness of subject matter.
  2. For the most part, these videos are quite good for learning economics (and some statistics topics), and they are surprisingly on topic. By three levels of relatedness, I was expecting to see a gravitation toward videos that had more popular appeal (like the Boom and the Bust videos) and quirky student economics projects where students act out economics concepts (there's only one in my list of videos).

From a practical standpoint, there's a new tab on this blog devoted to linking to those top 50 videos by relatedness to my channel. They're not all great, but there are some pretty useful videos in there. If you're interested, check them out.

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