Hey STHers! We are about to enter a period that I am very nervous about. Over the next two months, I am going to be doing three international trips (two multi-country trips to Europe and one to Taiwan), and at least two domestic trips. During that period, we are also going to be moving the STH studio into a new location, and then I will be getting married. To say that the next 10 weeks or so are going to be fun is probably an understatement. We are trying something this week that I wanted to get some STH user feedback on, a short MikroTik RB5009 video.
Looking for STH User Feedback MikroTik RB5009 Video
Here is the new video, in a short 1-minute format. It is shot vertically for YouTube shorts, Instagram Reels, and etc.
The challenge Rohit and I had with his MikroTik RB5009UPr+S+IN PoE Router Mini Review is simply that I wanted to do a video, but we are going to cap out at a maximum of two long-form videos per week at our normal pace. I wanted to do a video for this one for some time, but we simply have not had publishing spots for doing a review and video.
The idea is a quick 1-minute overview video to accompany reviews. It was very challenging. I scripted this one out. The script read was around 2:08. We then cut out almost everything that sounded like context, and cut every extra frame we could to reach 1 minute. Our version was 59 seconds and 29 frames but YouTube has us at 1:01 for some reason. There are other challenges with this format as we film and take STH photos for horizontal video, not vertical video.
I wanted to get some STH reader feedback on what they thought about this format. I know many readers like to read because they can do it at work, and they can skim. 15-minute in-depth videos I know take longer to consume. Perhaps this 1-minute format is easier?
For our readers that do not care about video, I get it. At the same time, it is important for the health of STH that we have a meaningful video side. My hypothesis is that something like this might help bridge a few gaps:
- This gives our readers a quicker-to-consume video format. Albeit with less depth.
- It also helps keep video content going while on the road since these 1-minute videos are faster to record.
- It helps get through the backlog we currently have
- It de-risks the next 2.5 months while we do the big studio move
- Hopefully, it also helps keep us on the current YouTube growth trajectory
Of course, there will be folks that do not like this format, but it is something that I thought might be worth trying. This is now the second short video after the NVIDIA A100 ChatGPT one so it is still a very new format for us. Still, we need to keep evolving the format of STH so experiments are important.
You have two options.
Do it for the sake of doing it and you drop down to the lowest common denominator.
Or you differentiate yourselves and be better than the rest.
Don’t cater to the vertical video crowd as you’d just contribute to continued devolution. One up them. “We don’t do this because we’re better than that.”
Or don’t and do it for the sake of ad revenue, and content effectively suffers.
CD I guess the constraint is that we can only do a maximum of two 15-minute horizontal videos per week, and often only 1. For example, last week we did not have a video because folks were busy with kids on spring break.
My thought was more of this is a third channel. Long-form article, long-form video, short-form video. We will continue to do an article for each video, so it is more of do we have short-form ones instead of long-form.
I enjoyed it. I actually saw it in my YouTube feed, and then after watching I decided to come to the site to see what might have been posted since I had last visited.
congratulations for getting married
wishing you all happens health & wealth
“Inside the router there are no fans making it silent”
You can replace this entire sentence by saying “fanless” and so on. I think short form video is about making it dense as possible, not bumping up to the length limits.
Also when you showcase it, keep your talking head part in the upper half of the frames and just scroll the images on the lower half
That’s my two cents
I never watch those vertical tiktok-style videos. Hard pass from me on this.
I’d be fine with short videos, but not in that grotesque format that seems to be so popular in some places.
Just make sure that someone makes a video of your wedding longer than 1 minute.
I liked it and would watch more short form video from your channel.
I’m a 50 old white male, probably not the demographic you’re looking for.
I can sum up my feedback in one word “cheap”.
If I hadn’t been frequenting this excellent site for way more years that I can remember, this video would induce me to avoid it
I can’t say I particularly like the format for something like this, but maybe for something similar?
For instance, the short video made me just feel like 90% of the useful information was missing from the video, along with the camera crop making it where I’m also missing 90% of the visuals from the video as well. I generally dislike shorts and other things of this format though, for similar reasons.
On the other hand, if it is just for a quick “hey look, this product exists, review coming later!” type of video, it probably works quite well. One minute of a portrait video IS enough for some things, but not for something like this.
I’m ok with shorter, but the one minute comes off as too quick and rushed. I’d personally prefer a sub-five-minute range for anything I’m going to bother playing. While I’m not a huge fan of the vertical framing, it’s the rushed and shallow aspect of this style that does little for me.
But like the above, I’m a old white dude. This may be perfect for other audiences
Honestly, not a big fan of the short video review. I think we all come to STH for a bit more in-depth technical reviews and editorials and this just misses your main audience. It was a good test, but hopefully just a test.
Regardless, the main reason why I’m leaving my first actual post on STH (as a loooooong time lurker) is I wanted to wholeheartedly congratulate you on the big changes in your personal life! All the best!
I’m not a short/vertical video person, but if you’re after the Tiktok audience, that’s fine by me, as long as that doesn’t take too much time from the in-depth stuff.
I have no idea if you can measure the impact, but if you do, you’ll know in a few weeks if it’s worth it.
As a video production consultant, I suggest a camera with the ability to shoot open gate. It’s easier to reframe in post for both horizontal and vertical videos (Panasonic S5 II and Fuji XH2S are two examples of such cameras.)
Congratulations on your marriage!
Long time reader of the site. Similar to a couple of others above, I am probably not the ideal target audience for this type of messaging. However, this reminded of me a late night TV commercial. Seemed to be promoting the product and not STH.
BTW, if you practice your TV commercial legalese, I bet you could get this particular promo down to 30 seconds.
I’m not particularly a fan of that format. It skips so much of the detail that STH is known for. Do it if you must to gather a wider audience, but please continue the long-format videos. If that’s too much work, I will just go back to reading the articles and ignore the YT content.
Not a fan, if I wanted quick form content I would just browse through a written news article cliff puts together. I’m not sure this is worth the effort in addition to that.
I think that this could be a good move. Back when I was building my first homelab, I found server gear incredibly overwhelming compared to consumer PC hardware. Shorter content like this would be much easier to digest since it is focused on core features. Maybe this could appeal to a broader audience?
One thing that could be helpful is adding a little more contrast between the features that are standard for that class of product, versus unique things that stand out for that specific model.
Congrats for getting married! But as you asked for feedback, please consider dropping the “TikTok” shorts, or at least keep it to a minimum if you really feel like you should do them. As you are well aware, your audience is not exactly that. I am saddened by the direction a lot of channels are taking lately, as there is no hole that needs to be filled: just take a look at what StorageReview, European Space Agency and NASA have become to name a few. It is not about the portrait mode, it is about the dumbed-down content, the zero usefulness for someone trying to get informed, about the entertaining stunts and the sensationalism, the video for the sake of the video, the revenue hunger, the engagement obsessions and such. As others mentioned, the shorts always resemble an ad for the product, or the author, or some unfortunate other ulterior motive that I don’t need it rubbed in my face – no exceptions, because surely that is not what proper tech or science journalism is. Objectivity and due diligence go out the window first because there simply isn’t there any time for those from the viewer’s perspective.
I personally don’t enjoy this stuff one bit (sorry for the strong stance) because I simply don’t.
I would rather take a proper video per one or two months rather that shorts, given this will be a hell of a busy period for you. Good luck and thanks for the otherwise great content!
User feedback: I will never watch any video content ever.
I come here for text content and static images. Only.
The fact of the matter is, you give people a chance to be negative, then that’s what they’re gonna be.
I think it’s fine. Maybe just focus on the timing of the sentences, and maybe choose other words, since you will be effectively “dumbing down” the content for these tik-tok, “youtube short” style videos.
I see nothing wrong with doing this. Lots of channels do. The same people who say nay to this, will watch regardless, and the ones who won’t, really won’t anyway. So you really don’t lose anything here.
I might question to know why STH must cater to the vertical, tik-tok crowd, but there is definitely value in reaching out. I was always supportive of these router/switch videos, and I think this will certainly get more viewers from the younger crowd who still don’t know or realize that a lot of this hardware exists.
My two cents? Do the videos. Just focus on production value and make it as easy to understand as possible. Many long-time readers will use this as a chance to say something negative, but they will view them. Honestly, you don’t care about them for this. This isn’t your target anyway. Long-time readers won’t stop coming to STH because you made a verticle, tik-tok style video, no matter how much they scream against this.
We have to roll with the times, and if it’s convenient for STH to do them, then do them. You run the show here, not the readers. They suggest, but you implement.
I say, make the videos. There’s absolutely noting wrong with doing this.
I wanted to respond to the comment about never watching any video content.
While I typically do prefer to read the content on the site, I have watched some of the videos as well. They’ve been interesting, and Patrick has done a good job of communicating his interest, excitement, and passion about the topics. He just seems to really love what he’s doing, and that makes for good video content.
But wait, there’s more, call now and we will throw in the 6 knife set and 24CDs all for the low low price …
The written content here is excellent. The videos, save the above, are generally good so far as videos go. There are two times I like videos. One is long and dominantly audio where I can play it while doing something else. The other is where the visual is important and not adequately portrayed by a few stills.
All comments are good. Thanks. I guess the question is not whether we should do them, but rather feedback on the actual short/ format itself. I understand many do not watch videos, but we have to grow that side as well for the overall health of STH. If folks just want to read, that is great. We will do short plus written just like we do with full-length videos.
Performance thus far is about 2x the first NVIDIA A100/ ChatGPT one after day 1. I have been told shorts take some time to get traffic versus the YT.
Yuno knows where it’s at, go that direction.
I read the site daily, have only watched a handful of Youtube videos (and I watch A LOT of Youtube.) I also had your short show up in my feed- I watched it and enjoyed it.
Haters gonna hate, makers gonna make. Keep it up with the shorts, you’ve got this!
I don’t believe anyone is “hating”. Patrick asked for feedback and that’s what he got. What I offered was just my honest opinion and it’s just that, the opinion of one person. That does not make it right or wrong. It’s just one person’s perspective.
Personally I always value critical feedback. I don’t learn anything from folks patting me on the back but I do when they point out shortcomings, least I try to.
I feel like it could work for product announcements, which could be done in under a minute.
If you need to add any actual information, you would need more time
What matters is the opinions of site followers who are active IT purchase decision influencers or makers, and not so much those of mostly-retired curmudgeons like me. But when I stumble upon a portrait video, my snap reaction is: oh great, another Oscar candidate from Duncecap Studios. Unless it’s life&death bespoke content, I skip it.
Over 70 years ago, the entertainment industry, mulling over the rise of a new 1.33:1 competitor (TV), commissioned studies of what the ideal screen ratio might be. They came up with ~2:1, usually rendered as 1.85:1 matted or 2.39:1 anamorphic, and the modern DCI container data structure is 1.9:1 all LANDSCAPE orientation.
I don’t think the format lends itself well to the content, just like Tweets, short videos are good to convey emotion but not information. If you feel like you must produce shorts for the sake of appealing to that market I suggest you put it on a different channel on YouTube, if there is one thing that causes me to unsubscribe / unfollow a channel is if it’s littered with shorts that I don’t watch.
I love it! As someone who reads the site frequently but never watches the videos unless there’s a detail I was hoping to gleam due to it missing from written reviews, the short video format really compels mobile users to watch and evaluate whether or not its something they’d like to continue reading up on. Imagine that, checking a video before reading anything past the description. It changes the way I interact with this site for the better.
Only critiques I have for the video are the font could use some work and some way to know the duration such as a small descriptive duration text below the framee or if its kept on the title. Seeing the notice that its a short and not a 5 plus minute commitment one must reserve time for is the difference between being watched and glossing past it for the on the go mobile user crowd.
The way fanless was thoroughly explained pehaps could’ve been improved or toned down a little for a short.
I keep coming back because somehow you present devices and items that I had no idea about, some of those I also buy for myself or my clients.
I liked it. I don’t usually watch videos because they are slower than skimming the article for key information, but a short video like this is useful to tell me whether I want to read the full review.
I caught the video last night on my TV and actually loved it. I also do some tech youtube and have seen some shorts perform really well however they never can bridge the gap that full video releases can in my experience so far. I am much smaller however so this may not apply to you. In my attempt to use shorts and lives to supplement traditional longer format content and not incur Algo hit when I built out a datacenter in my garage, it didn’t work. I am not even close to the scale you are but I admire your effort and constant energy + value add to my “bells” of watchlist. Keep up the great work!
Congrats on getting married, Patrick!
Looking for x16 2.5G POE + 10G SFP for my home APs and security cameras.
Hi Patrick. I’m glad things are going so well for you
High level feedback:
*I will continue to avoid shorts, so won’t see any of that content.
I don’t like that youtube is pushing channels to make shorts. I don’t like that I can’t easily tell who a ‘short’ is by in my feed. I come to youtube for the essay format it provides, shorts lend themselves to a quick question, or preview for an upcoming video at best. And finaly, I feel like ‘shorts’ are mostly youtube trying to push us towards a constant auto-play stream that I won’t remember, but I won’t stop, which is even harder for work. I want to choose what I watch.
Hi Patrick. I’m glad things are going well,
I understand your youtube shorts are well but generally, this type of networking router will require a minimum of 30 min video could you make it?
Perhaps use the short 1 minute long videos to gauge peoples interest in a product? That way you can make videos on the one with the most interactions for the week. Or do something like 1 video you really wanted to make and 1 that had the most interest from the 1 minute viewers for that particular week.