Joined: 09 Nov 2010 Posts: 336
[META] I'm worried the mythos is being stretched too...thin **Sunglassses, cue music**
Lately I've been noticing that - at least with regards to the Vlogs - while the production values and acting have been improving with each new series I find, the subscriber size for each of those new series has been decreasing in an equally steady rate.
This makes me worried that the whole concept might be becoming diluted. If so, then that puts our talented 3rd generation SlenderVloggers in danger. It's hard to keep putting in tons of effort when the view-counts on your videos struggle to remain in the triple digits, let alone breaking into four digit territory. Which in turn puts the whole subgenre in danger of collapsing in on itself, causing a ripple effect that could kill off many of the 2nd generation vlogs that are still going on as well, not to mention prevent any chance of further series being started.
But maybe I'm just being pessimistic. Even Marble Hornets at its most popular only caught the attention of a fraction of Youtube's hivemind. Surely there's an untapped audience out there, ready to be terrified by the latest crop of Slenderman victims. Which makes me wonder: how well-versed is everyone in this community about the techniques for making something viral? Maybe, what we need here is an FAQ for prospective creators on how to make people become aware of their series (properly). This is Unfiction after all! The internet's official hub for ARG trailheads! Surely there's tons of incredibly useful information hiding somewhere in this forum about how to do spread the word. If the only problem is that new creators simply aren't effective at getting eyes on their series, that could be solved pretty easily, assuming enough of them lurk around here. Because let's face it, this subforum is only a small segment of the viewers who watch Slenderman vlogs, and even including all viewers, this is still only a small segment of the total number of people willing to watch these things, if only they knew they existed.
For example, I recently let my roommate borrow my Marble Hornets DVD, and he loved it. Even though he's very internet savvy, he'd never heard of Slenderman before seeing that. So there are definitely audiences out there who'd love to discover one of these series, if only these series made themselves known to them.
I tried looking in the puppetmaster subforum for any possible FAQ about effectively spreading a trailhead, but I suck at searching. I think it could be pretty helpful though, if something could be dug up.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter? Has anyone else started noticing this, or could I be completely misreading the situation?
Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:27 am
Joined: 12 Jul 2011 Posts: 426
As a member of the creators myself I understand the frustration, but what you said is little compared to my possible thoughts. What will happen once the big three are over? That's a more important question..
The creator of One Bad Dream and Malison Island.
If you want to use any of my clips, please ask permission first. I don't mind, but I just want to know.
Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:10 am
Joined: 10 Jan 2012 Posts: 145 Location: Wisconsin
Personally, I assume that with the eventual ending of the big three, all second or third generation vlogs will get more attention from the people who followed the main three and had no time for any others. Teaching us how to make something viral is actually a pretty great idea – I at least am not that well versed, and it would help us to
expand the whole mythos.
find more prey for Slenderman
Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:18 am
Joined: 27 May 2010 Posts: 205 Location: NJ
Yes, unfortunately, this is something that has been said for quite some time now. I find this to be especially true with the written formats ("Oh, another blog.")
Regardless of the production value and how talented the creators are (and I say this in response to recent trends and series I've seen myself) I am always almost... disappointed when I see a new series start up, full of potential and whatnot, because I know that they will, too, suffer from this "thinness" you speak of.
Who knows. At least they're making something, I suppose. (I guess I just want someone to haymaker the market and start a new viral trend, i.e., no slondors.)
Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:44 am
Joined: 19 Apr 2011 Posts: 492 Location: OK
I understand what you mean...what bothers me is when EVERYONE (and I mean everyone) says things like "Oh, when Marble Hornets is gone I hope something good comes along the way"...the thing is, people, it already has! There are hundreds of good series out there with less than 50 subscribers (like my own series). I love to give the little guys a try! Just go around this board and select a few names that seem interesting, and start watching!
Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:32 pm
Joined: 09 Nov 2010 Posts: 336
I imagine there is some unknown threshold level of innovation that, if a slender series reached it, would make it go viral without the creator adding any extra effort to spreading the word. That's pretty much a given. No one needs the Big "Three" (for varying definitions of 'three') to end in order to make that happen. It's just a matter of time, effort and talent.
But it's not reliable. We know it's not reliable. There are some jaw droppingly amazing things on Youtube; hidden gems that make Hollywood blockbusters look like the products of first year film students. Yet they wallow in obscurity. So while an article like might sound like it's making a good point, we know relying solely on "Hard work, patience, and perseverance" is no way to truly go about spreading the word. Hell, it's not even relevant to the question!
That's the problem. When you go around the internet looking for help on this stuff, all you get are trite suggestions about the content. "Oh, add babies and puppies if you want to make it viral" But look: we already have the content! No one here needs lectures on content! What we need are techniques. The nuts and bolts.
For example, one cool thing I noticed the creators of SAPH did was set up a for the club that their characters are part of. Unfortunately, they relied entirely on their Facebook page viewers to "like" the page, meaning there was no way to acquire the necessary 25 "likes" before it could be made into a custom page with an easy-to-share URL (there are more than 25 fans now of course, but their series is also fifteen videos in). There are five actors involved in SAPH. Had they each come up with a list of a mere five names (twenty names each would be more realistic, but this is just to make a point) - people they knew who were willing to press that like button - they could've had a custom URL for their page before the Introduction video was even done. It's a little thing, but it could go a long way. Getting fans to share "Facebook.com/SAPH" is lightyears easier than getting them to share "http://www.facebook.com/pages/SAPH/152103588235254?sk=wall" <-- which is letter-for-letter, the unclickable address they show at the end of many of their videos.
Anyway, that's just one minor thing I noticed. It doesn't really count, since it's entirely specific to that one case, where there's a Facebook thing and a quirk of Facebook that needs to be wrestled with. It's not a guideline anyone can use in a general sense.
That's probably what we're looking for. A set of generalized guidelines.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:00 am
Joined: 14 Sep 2011 Posts: 158 Location: The Black Lodge
One time I was bored and I searched "yay" on YouTube. My results included a my little pony video (whose name is unimportant) which was tagged with the word yay and had 300k views. Ranked underneath it was a video entitled "yay" which had 7m views. Not sure how much that helps, but it's food for thought.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:28 am
Joined: 09 Nov 2010 Posts: 336
There you have it folks. Everyone tag their videos with "yay" and watch the view roll in!
Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:40 am
Joined: 10 Mar 2012 Posts: 2
Another problem, which has been touched on, is that when a series is already quite advanced it's more difficult to get people into it, so you're relying on it taking off at a fairly early stage. Not everyone has the patience (or time) to archive-binge.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:41 am
Joined: 18 Mar 2012 Posts: 1
Wall of Text --TL;DR -- But you should anyway My first and only post. Wanted to throw in my two cents (Okay, 20 dollars) This is an excellent thread, which started with a well stated question. Over the last few days, I have been writing down my thoughts on the subject and wanted to share them with everyone. There have been many great thoughts, answers, and proposals posted already, and I want to provide my own as best as I can. This is going to be a tl;dr post for sure, so consider this the only warning. There is no easy answer to this, and I do not believe that I, nor anyone else, can even answer it entirely. Let’s break it down into three sections, so that everything gets covered.
To address the main concern first:
The mythos is being spread too thin and in turn 2nd generation slender series are in danger of not garnering the attention they deserve in many cases, and in fact are already suffering because of it. What will happen when “The Big 3” end? This applies to 3rd generation slender series as well.
Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Let’s compare our beloved Slenderseries’ to any other long running franchise such as Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween. As each of those series hit their 4th, 5th, 6th, or higher sequel, interest started to “fade”. Aside from die-hard fans, people just had enough. Many people will argue to this day that the original of each was “the best” and refuse to think otherwise, regardless of whether or not any of the sequels were actually better than the original.
There is also something to be said about timing in a series of this nature as well as alternate reality games in general. Many people that come into these types of games or series want to be involved from the beginning. Those who were around from the start of the original Nightmare on Elm Street have far more invested in the series as someone who started watching at the fifth sequel. The same can be said for most who follow the SM mythos. There is something about getting in right at the start or at least near the start. For many of the 1st generation series, they are drawing close to their inevitable conclusions and most people that are following closely, have been for a long time whether from the start or not is almost irrelevant, the point is they’ve been following long enough to have a vested interest. As a direct result, many of these followers will go one of two routes when the big 3 end.
1. Decide that they have had their fill and that nothing will be able to replace the experience they just had with their favorite series (though some may have followed all of the big 3 and enjoyed each of them, and a smaller percentage have enjoyed even more than the big 3).
2. Decide that they refuse to allow the end of the big 3 (or four or whatever) be the end for them, and actively seek out another.
3. Decide they need a break and come back at a later time in hopes of rekindling that spark that got them hooked in the first place.
It is numbers 2 and 3 that will take me into the next section, but before I go there, I want to take a minute to give some hope and advice to the current creators who are in the middle of their series or planning to start one in the future (I will do this for each section). Going back to the Nightmare on Elm Street example, there was a reboot of the entire series a few years back and it brought in a whole new generation of fans and viewers. Many of the fans of the original wanted nothing to do with the reboot, but the makers of the movie did not care really what they thought. They put their “best” foot forward, and hoped to pull in those who missed the train the first time around. This kind of goes back to the timing aspect I mentioned before. Each one of the major horror franchises has undergone a reboot recently, to varying degrees of success. So in theory, it can be done. It’s all about timing and execution mainly. But there are other things to consider.
The second concern:
How do I successfully draw in a perspective audience to the mythos? How do I keep them interested in something that seems to be fading in terms of interest?
This one is complicated. There are so many factors to consider when launching a web series of this nature. Is it going to be in written format, video format, or both (or something entirely different)? Is it going to be interactive? If so, how interactive will it be? If not, what will be the hook?
The answers to these questions all amount to one thing in the end, and that one thing is R&D. You need to research the ever-loving crap out of the mythos and develop a strong plan to make your series unique and in turn successful. One of the biggest things that needs to go into the R&D phase of your series is how you plan to get it into the hands of the public. Your planning and execution thereof will determine to a large degree how successful your series is.
Half of the problem with many of the series out there right now is they are Joe’s coffee shop trying to compete with Starbucks next door. Unless your coffee shop has got some seriously good coffee or some other gimmick to lure the customers in, you are already behind the 8 ball before you even started. Starbucks has name recognition and your shop doesn’t. That doesn’t mean you are not going to make it, but you are going to have to work 10 times harder than you would have if you just waited for the Starbucks to move to another location (or close) before opening your shop there. I hope you get the analogy.
There is proof that it can be done though. EMH and TT both had to compete with MH from the start, and each did so successfully (to their own levels of course). From there, many others have done well in their own right such as Dark Harvest, MLA, TJA, 5Zer02, and a lot more, so it can be done. But now any new series has to compete with all of these or at the very least be constantly compared to them.
Now as far the actual “advertising” is concerned, there are a million ways you can go about getting the public to notice your series, but I need to point out the frustration that many creators (of any interactive series or alternate reality game, Slender-related or not) experience with Unfiction and the internet in general. This is not a “DIS” on UnFiction, but is a legitimate issue that many creators have run into since it started. It is common knowledge (although I know many here would agree that it apparently isn’t so common) that UnFiction has a rule that you may NOT post your own Trailhead, which is understandable. The problem is, UnFiction is the only website out there that really covers ARG’s in any substantial way and is the only site that participants have any type of access to or even have “bookmarked”. To host your own forums would be game suicide, simply because people want to follow UF because it is what they know at this point and UF knows this. They do have a tendency to “force” rules even outside of the forums, and players often take these “rules” to heart and apply them IG even when they shouldn’t. I have tried to think of a specific example of this, and can’t. Maybe someone on here can give one, as I have been drawing a blank. The bigger point is that there needs to be more sites like UnFiction and ARGNet where players can go to find this kind of information. If anyone here has the knowledge to start one, do it! It would actually be beneficial for UnFiction to have this happen because it could start a competition which is always good for business. If that is too much though, there are other options. Start a Facebook group, get a Twitter going, but above all… This goes not only to potential future PM’s, but to anyone who wants to see the mythos live on and shares the concerns of those above.
Rally The Troops!!
If current and future PM's put enough planning into their series, and advertise in the right places (ideally through word of mouth with everyone you know, social networking sites, and yes…paid advertising in the right markets both in the physical and digital world), then you should do okay. The trick is to get your series noticed at the exact time you want it to. If it gets attention too early or too late, you most likely will be sunk. You need to know precisely when you want that trailhead to hit UF and how you intend on making sure it gets there when you want it to. If you do it at the right time, you may have a hit on your hands.
Slenderman is here to stay one way or another and I don't think to answer the initial question that the mythos is being stretched too thin. In fact, the end of the first chapter is upon us in my eyes. He may fade in and out from time to time, but that just lends more credibility to the mythos, doesn’t it? He may be forgotten or lost for a period of time, but he will always be in the background…waiting to be found again.
Finally, to bring this full circle:
Let’s discuss quickly one other idea that will keep this amazing community together for the long run.
This has been mentioned in various forms on here before, but has anyone considered creating as a community, the next “big thing”? The only requirement would be that whatever is decided upon would have to be public domain so that the same attachment could be felt by all who want to get involved. Start bouncing around ideas in a new thread, and you might come to realize that there is a whole new adventure out there waiting to be discovered and shared which would bring in even more members to our community.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:42 am
Die Hard Try Hard
Joined: 17 Jul 2010 Posts: 2941
Dr. Cairo of compileTruth has made a website to track every series he can get his glassy eyes on here:
http://www.slendermanmythos.com/ It's OOG, by the way.
I feel like advertising this site is the best way to put as many vlogs on the map as possible.
As for developing a hook to get viewers, I've always held the notion that if you can add at least one wham element to your series, it will be watched. EMH grew because of its ARG elements, TribeTwelve for its video compositing and effects, MLAndersen0 for its acting, DarkHarvest for its cult aspect and sheer number of actors, et cetera. Find that one thing, push it to new boundaries, make sure you advertise your series here and at Cairo's site, and pray for viewers.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:47 am
Joined: 14 Sep 2011 Posts: 65
I, personally, am thrilled for each new sub that I get, but I am not in a rush either. The subs will come as they come, but the important thing is that you simply enjoy what you are doing. If the mythos falls apart will you regret your work? I know that I won't. I will proudly leave my series up after its completion, regardless of whatever may happen, so that random passers by may have something to enjoy for a time. In the end that is all I ever hoped to achieve.
Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:35 pm
Joined: 04 Mar 2011 Posts: 160 Location: San Diego, CA
This has been a fear of mine for a while, as a creator and a participant. I've been following these things for about 2 years now, and it would be such a shame to see them "go", in a sense. Yeah, this community will always be alive, but right now it feels
Look at the front page, it's about 90% trailheads; which isn't necessarily bad, there's always a chance that they could get big and become one of the second gen's Big Three. However, how many of these stay on the front page long enough to gain recognition? Usually two or three pop up above it, until they just fall down. It's almost like too much is being created, which means your series can't get the exposure you want.
Aside from that, the idea banks will shortly run dry, which means more and more series will eventually have to become a "insert-series-here" knockoff. How many series start off with white over black text, or a video of forest with travel over it? It's enough to be a deterrent for some because it's "just like Marble Hornets", which leaves creators to have to try something different, whether it's a hit or a miss. But, really, how many other ways are there to introduce something and have it seem genuine?
These are the kinds of questions that most creators (and if not most, then I alone) face. You need to have something in your series that is unlike anything in any other series in order to keep people coming back, but aside from that you have to also balance how much can be borrowed and how much can be created.
That's what's wonderful about this mythos - it's constantly being added on to. However, we will inevitably reach a point where blogs or vlogs are mostly borrowed, and that's pretty upsetting.
Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:09 pm
Joined: 30 Mar 2011 Posts: 101
The biggest problem with the Slendy Mythos isn't lack of interest - there are more fans of Slender Man vlogs and blogs now than ever, it's the fact that the whole Mythos is becoming over-saturated.
When the whole front page of UF is practically trailheads to cookie-cutter series, it's very hard for new series to gain recognition. The audience gets "diluted" so to speak.
It also probably doesn't help that for every one excellent new series that springs up, there's probably about three or more terrible ones to throw it off-kilter. I always like seeing new series start up, because they're completely full of potential. The problem isn't that the audience isn't there, it's that the audience is busy watching series they already know and have been following for awhile. It's hard for some to give a new series a chance when the past three new series they've watched have been blatant MH or Tribe Twelve ripoffs, etc.
The main thing this Mythos, and community for that matter, needs to survive is more originality in the premise of new series and also just STOP MAKING NEW SERIES. If you really don't know what you're going to do with a series and don't plan on seeing it through to completion, do everyone out there who is trying desperately to gain an audience a favor and just don't make your series. Normally I try to encourage everyone to follow their passion, but for many I feel this isn't their passion and they're just hopping on the bandwagon. Not to say there aren't some excellent new series popping up - they're definitely are.
It's just they've become diamonds in the rough.
Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:36 pm
Joined: 25 Jun 2011 Posts: 760
^ I agree partially with the above comment, but here's the problem, not everyone who makes a bad, or cookie cutter series is fully aware of it. In my opinion to ensure the series that deserve to be on here get here, we need to stop Trailheading cookie cutter, or bad series. If we do it we will filter out the bad vlogs, and give way to vlogs that have effort put in. For those of you who say its not fair, it's for the sake of the Mythos, so take it a a challenge to make a good series.
Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:47 pm
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