Communication is defined as the act of transferring information from one place to another. It is achieved through four different means:
written: letters and emails
non-verbal: body language and gestures
visual: graphs and maps
and verbal communication: speaking
Verbal communication is:
bi-directional, when interacting with others
or uni-directional when, for example, delivering a speech
This article is going to focus on the communication skills required for the latter.
Some hacks can help to improve our spoken communication skills and make us sound less clumsy and decidedly more eloquent than we might think.
The advice dispensed here is based on our team’s experience as multi-lingual interpreters, a profession that hinges on communicative abilities.
Here are three ways in which we honed our communication skills in our mother tongue and also in foreign languages.
1. Become a critical reader
As interpreters, we are only as good as our ability to convey messages naturally and effectively in English and other languages.
To do so, we need in-depth subject knowledge and an extensive word bank to glean from. How do we build up our vocabulary?
Enhancing our speaking range
We read actively every day for at least 10 minutes. What does this mean in practical terms?
It means that for every article we read, in any language, we note down five words or expressions and add them to our “language booklet”: a notebook where we record all our new linguistic findings, be it:
turns of phrase
We then make a conscious attempt to use these in our oral communication, thus actively enhancing our speaking range.
Setting aside 10 minutes to read an article online is not that much of a chore but be sure to pick your reading material wisely!
There is a lot of poor content out there, so opt for a reputable website.
We recommend newspapers and magazines written by professional journalists, such as the Guardian for English.
2. Practice makes perfect
A difficult exercise, albeit a very useful one, is to record yourself.
Although very daunting and somewhat cringe-worthy at first (do I sound like that?!), this exercise proves invaluable as it forces us to listen to how we come across and to spot important, yet avoidable, issues such as:
the excessive use of gap fillers: notice and stamp out all the ‘ums’, and ‘erms’. They make us sound insecure and even unconvinced of what we are saying;
the overexploitation of empty interjections: so many of us have become lazy with language and (ab)use interjections such as ‘like’ (‘So, like, what do you think, about this, like?’) which lower the tone and quality of our communication.
Learn how to use intonation
Recording also allows us to hear whether we are using intonation to our advantage (Do I sound flat and monotonous, and therefore sleep-inducing? Do I vary my intonation, keeping the delivery bouncy and engaging?).
Get over the fear of hearing your voice and try recording yourself!
There’s lots of free software available for download on phones and computers (eg. Audacity).
3. Map it out
‘I’m so happy I didn’t plan this speech!’ said no one, ever! ヅ
A little bit of preparation and some rehearsing can go a long way to making what you have to say sound good ➤ but more importantly ➤ ensuring you deliver your words with confidence.
This is particularly true if you have to give a presentation to a group of colleagues or deliver an important speech in front of a large audience.
Organization is always the key
Organize what you are going to say beforehand: our team has lost count of the number of speakers we have interpreted for who:
or repeat themselves!
Stick to your points
Deliver them clearly and concisely
And trust us ➤ not only will you communicate effectively ➤ you’ll gain a lot of respect from your listeners in the process.
TED Talks are a great resource for learning how to deliver speeches. Actively observe the techniques adopted by the speakers and apply the ones you find effective to enhance your communication skills.
Learn with us in our conversation with Aussie English learning & Content creation
Pete Smissen presents Aussie English learning & Content creation.
He’s the host of the Aussie English, which is an online English learning platform with podcasts and a YouTube channel.
Do you feel you are an influencer or Youtuber?
I don’t think I get enough feedback from students to know that.
I think that I am affecting people’s lives for the better and trying to help them overcome the barriers that they have with arriving in Australia.
But I would never call myself as an influencer or a YouTuber, it just so happens that what I do involves YouTube and hopefully end up influencing people.
What does language mean to you?
So, it means receiving and understanding the message from other people.
That’s why I fell in love with language learning. I love that I can learn different nuances in another language and understand different cultures.
What’s the difference between communication in Aussie English or American English or British English?
There’s not much of a big difference.
It is 99 % the same thing, but I think there are certain things that, once you understand Australian slang and you can use it correctly in the right instances, allow you to connect more with speakers in that language.
If you’re thinking of migrating to London, then it makes more sense to try specific dialects of English.
Obviously, if you’ve learned a lot of American slangs and you get off the plane in London it’s not going to help you.
It’s probably going to create some more confusion.
Aussie English learning & Content creation
What are the benefits of teaching English through social media?
I think the thing with social media is everybody is there.
And how you can reach them is through those platforms.
People are moving a lot away from analog styles of learning.
They are using books a little bit less and even they stay less time in the classroom than they spend online.
But also, there is another side to it which is advertising because all of the guys can advertise.
It depends on the person and what they like doing, so for me, I like learning from time to time online using a lot of apps.
But I haven’t moved onto solely digital because I like to write on things.
So I don’t think we’re going to ever give that up because there’s some kind of like physical tactile sense.
I think they’re both will always be there.
Do you think teaching English with a textbook and with no communication is a good way to learn a language?
I think that the focus is moving towards communication-based teaching of languages because, ultimately, we’re not there to get grammar correct way.
So I hope people moving away from that, especially in the classroom.
For example, I could have a small conversation in French and people understand me, so why am I getting zero in my score?
So I’m much more about teaching communication-based in English and the way that will people speak and that’s why I think with my podcast at least I tried to avoid scripting and out word-by-word because I want to use things that normal people say.
How do you decide on the topics?
I just make it up as I go along, so the good thing is in any language that’s pretty much an endless number of expressions in that language.
So anyone who knows me, a lot of my episodes are based on an English expression and then I try to add culture things, history or whatever-related to an Australian expression.
Aussie English learning & Content creation
Do you sometimes talk about topic students ask you?
The best thing about social media is that you can get constant contact with the audience.
I try to create videos about answering the same thing many people ask me.
The good side of social media is people getting in contact with you.
That’s really important with the internet today, you can keep close contact with your audience, and I think you need to do that if you want to keep growing and you want to help them.
How do you imagine teaching English in the future?
I have a sneaking suspicion that eventually ends up with glasses, at least in the short term.
In the next 10 years or so we’ll be able to watch YouTube while walking.
So, we don’t have to hold something up I’ll be right there.
I can imagine that the barrier between phone and brain is going to get reduced more and more whether we end up with some kind of chips that transmit things more directly.
Would you like to add something we did not ask you?
Regarding podcasting, I think it’s going to keep running because you can use a lot of what was previously dead time, for example, when you were on public transport or walking.
Now you can use that time to start leveling up your life whether you’re learning about yoga, meditation, language whatever it is.
So people learn so much more and in times or situations where previously they couldn’t.
English students to become people learning on their own who no longer go to classes or no longer need really expensive courses.
Mobile apps like Google Translate have revolutionized the way we attempt to jump over language barriers, essentially allowing us to carry around mini translators in our pockets.
Language teachers everywhere may tremble at the idea of language learning becoming obsolete, but do modern-day trends seem to indicate that technology is eliminating the need to learn languages?
What does this imply for the future of language learning and communication?
Technological advances in translation
No longer are we limited to communicating via hand gestures when ordering coffee in foreign countries.
All we have to do is speak into our phones to get an admittedly imperfect but usable translation, good enough to get us out in a pinch.
Technology sometimes fails us, though.
Although the quality of translation apps is improving more and more each day, the translations that they spit back out at us are sometimes downright strange.
The collection of awkwardly (sometimes humorously) translated texts you can find on the internet epitomizes the phrase “lost in translation.”
Although translation tools are immensely helpful, over-reliance on them certainly isn’t the most effective course of action.
But technology is always improving:
Will we ever reach the point where these translation apps will be practically flawless?
Will we ever be able to confidently rely on them as a replacement for language learning?
Waverly Labs recently launched the prototype version of the “Pilot”, an in-ear translation device that reportedly translates conversations from one language to another in real time through the use of speech recognition and machine translation technology.
For now, it is only available in five languages, but who knows how far this innovative technology will advance?
Other companies are also jumping on this bandwagon.
Google recently developed the “Pixel Buds,” a wireless headset translator, and Skype has offered an app capable of translating in real time. Who’s to say these first brave steps won’t launch an international revolution in the way we communicate?
El ilustrador y youtuber Ricardo Arganza nos explica cómo funciona YouTube para posicionar una marca y nos brinda detalles de su experiencia personal con el canal Arganza Art.
¿Por qué decidiste generar contenido en YouTube?
Fue un poco por casualidad. Al comienzo tenía una academia en Madrid, y como mucha gente me preguntaba qué estilo hacía, decidí subir algunos videos dibujando.
La sorpresa fue que empezó a crecer, así que esos videos los borré y empecé a hacer otros.
¿Cuándo comenzaste con tu canal de YouTube?
Empecé en julio de 2017, pero los primeros meses subí muy poco contenido y solo estaban mis familiares y amigos.
En octubre de ese año, fue cuando ya empecé a tomarme un poquito más en serio el canal.
¿Consideras a YouTube como un medio masivo de comunicación?
No solo considero a YouTube como un medio alternativo, sino como un medio muy superior a la televisión tradicional.
Si yo ahora mismo hiciera una propuesta para un canal de TV, ninguna televisión del mundo me daría una oportunidad para este tipo de contenidos.
Así, no dependes de un equipo tan grande, incluso lo puedes hacer tú solo y es muy útil a la hora de llegar a más personas.
¿Tenías la expectativa de convertirte en youtuber o influencer?
No tenía ni la más mínima expectativa, de hecho, lo hice porque me pareció divertido verme en YouTube y que a la gente le gustaran mis videos.
Recuerdo que el primer mes tuve 17 suscriptores, el segundo creo que fueron 20 y de repente un fin de semana vi que empezó a subir como a 2000 suscriptores por día.
Yo pensaba que eso iba a parar en cualquier momento, que había sido una pequeña subida por un video que se hizo viral. Al principio fue una diversión, y todavía me cuesta considerarme youtuber, aunque la gente me lo diga.
¿Por qué no te consideras ni youtuber ni influencer?
Youtuber es alguien que vive de YouTube, y que se dedica a tiempo completo a esto. Yo no me considero porque no creo que tenga tanta implicación todavía. Si yo cerrara mi canal mañana, mi vida cambiaría muy poco. Le dedico tiempo a la semana, pero no tanto como para considerarme youtuber.
E influencer, mucho menos, porque no creo estar influyendo en tanta gente como para que alguien compre un producto por mi recomendación. Si bien hay gente que me pregunta, es aún muy poca. Pero también es cierto que tengo más de 250.000 reproducciones al mes, mucho más que lo que venden algunos periódicos o más audiencia que ciertos programas de televisión.
Supongo que en algún momento tendré que considerarme un influencer y actuar acorde a eso.
¿Tienes algún indicio de qué video te comenzó a generar tantos seguidores?
Hay uno que se llama “Los errores más estúpidos que cometemos al dibujar”, que no es un gran video, de hecho, creo que fue el primero donde yo aparecía en cámara. Y ese fue el que se disparó de repente.
A partir de ahí, he tenido algunos videos que han resultado muy bien y otros no tanto, pero creo que el haber trabajado en crear buen contenido fue lo más importante.
¿Consideras que YouTube es un buen medio para posicionamiento de marca?
Sí, es un medio para posicionamiento de marca, incluso hay empresas que están haciendo publicidades muy agresivas casi únicamente en YouTube, y ni siquiera son anuncios, sino que regalan los productos a los youtubers que tienen cierta influencia, y así se mueven por el boca a boca.
¿Las empresas te han contactado para que publicites sus productos?
Me han empezado a contactar muchas empresas a partir de los 50.000 suscriptores.
Creo que es una forma automática de contactar porque recuerdo que exactamente cuando llegué a ese número, empezaron a llegar propuestas.
Y con los 100.000 se duplicaron.
Hay productos en los que no creo y no los voy a anunciar, sobre todo porque mi canal no me genera ingresos, pero puedo hacer que la gente confíe en mí y que me sirva para otros proyectos. No quiero estropear eso con la cantidad de cosas que quieren que anuncie.
¿Cuántos productos estás promocionando?
No tengo ninguna promoción recurrente, lo único que promociono son las tabletas de Huion porque desde el principio me dijeron que tenía libertad para hablar bien o mal de ellas.
En principio no sé si voy a tener patrocinadores recurrentes anunciándolos en todos los videos. Depende del producto, supongo.
Empecé a trabajar con Patreon, pero lo dejé. No funcionó y me estaba consumiendo mucho trabajo. Desde un principio tenía en cuenta que, a la hora de pagar, la gente lo piensa mucho, sobre todo porque tengo muchos seguidores de América Latina, y los sueldos no son los mismos que en España.
Fue una experiencia con la que aprendí mucho porque he usado formatos que no podía hacer en YouTube.
¿Qué fue lo que no funcionó?
Hay dos maneras de participar: una es sacar un producto, como un video, y que los Patreons te paguen cuando sale ese producto, y la otra forma es pagar mensualmente. Yo lo tenía de esta última manera y ofrecía bastante contenido extra.
Dependiendo de la cantidad que aportaban, tenían acceso a más cosas o menos. Quizá el contenido no era lo suficientemente atractivo como para pagar todos los meses. Yo ofrecía los videos completos (porque para hacer uno de 10 minutos, tengo varias horas de grabación donde estoy dibujando), con el proceso explicado, podcasts, imágenes de alta calidad.
¿Persigues un objetivo económico con tu canal?
No tengo objetivo económico en YouTube porque para mí la plataforma es la principal fuente de difusión de mi marca personal.
A raíz de YouTube me han salido muchos cursos, clases, contactos, y ese movimiento es muy importante en este punto de mi carrera. Además, yo tengo otro trabajo con el cual me mantengo, por lo que no necesito de esto para vivir.
¿Piensas que eres un influencer de moda o que vas a perdurar en el tiempo?
El canal sigue creciendo al mismo ritmo todos los meses.
Después de un año y medio puedo decir que es algo estable, aunque nunca es seguro. Ya no me imagino el mundo sin estos videos, donde la gente puede ver tutoriales o lo que desee.
An airport can sometimes feel like a modern-day Tower of Babel.
Foreign words linger in the air. People exchange sheepish, hesitant looks that say “Where are you from?” before trying to speak.
You learn a few words in Croatian to at least thank the airport official in his native language, only to find out he’s actually Ukrainian. What do you do if you accidentally bump into someone at a German airport?
Try your hand at apologizing in German or default to English? But what if the person speaks neither?
It’s enough to make you neurotic. You might be smiling right now because this sounds all too familiar.
All bets are off here. There is no protocol. All the social norms that give you a sense of security at home are flipped upside-down. It makes you wonder, what would happen if we had a universal auxiliary language? We do.
Too many of them. Esperanto, Volapük, Interlingua…
Movements for an international auxiliary language
The idea of having one universal auxiliary language is not new.
After all, the benefits of having one global language are clear. Imagine a world with no language barriers, no miscommunication.
For centuries, the languages of dominant societies have become the lingua francas, the go-to languages for international communication.
During the rule of the Roman Empire, for example, Latin was the standard language for trade and commerce in the Mediterranean region due to the sheer economic and political power of the empire.
This has continued to evolve with the changing tides of the international arena. Nowadays, some people would argue that English is becoming the lingua franca of the modern world. More on that in a minute.
Not surprisingly, lingua francas have often been met with a certain amount of resistance. Who wants a foreign language imposed on them simply because a certain region has the upper-hand economically or politically?
The adoption of lingua francas has sometimes been interpreted as a form of cultural imperialism, stripping away the cultural individuality of less powerful regions.
For this reason, linguists have tried to construct an artificial auxiliary language: one that is culturally unbiased and easy to learn, with no irregularities in grammar or pronunciation and no regional slang.
This language is not meant to replace any other languages, simply to function as a global communication tool.
The 19th century
During the 19th century, a surprising number of international auxiliary languages bubbled up. Louis Couturat and Léopold Leau reviewed at least 38 of these projects in Histoire de la langue universelle.
We wanted to narrow down our language choices and ended up with more than we could have bargained for. We can be sure that the lack of a single international auxiliary language is not due to a lack of trying, to say the least.
SOLRESOL: a language based on musical notes, was the first to gain widespread attention but failed to pan out.
VOLAPÜK: later gained some degree of international prominence but was eventually set aside in favor of easier-to-learn auxiliary languages, such as Esperanto, which borrowed word stems from Romance, Slavic and West Germanic languages and created a method of derivational word formation that allowed for the creation of hundreds of words from one root word.
ESPERANTO: sounds like something that would be spoken in the mythical land of Atlantis, but it is actually the most popular international auxiliary language in the world, with approximately two million speakers worldwide.
While we might all argue that our own mother tongue is the easiest language in the world, linguists might suggest that Esperanto holds the #1 spot.
Reportedly, you can learn Esperanto in only one-third to one-fifth of the time it would take to learn any other auxiliary language.
Even Duolingo has boarded the Esperanto bandwagon, providing the opportunity to learn this made-up language alongside some of the more traditional ones like Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc.
Sadly, Esperanto still has not caught on. If it had, we would be speaking it in airports instead of resorting to charades.
English as a global language
Barring any sort of international consensus on an auxiliary language, it looks like our society will continue to function according to the lingua franca paradigm for a while.
Nowadays, it appears that economic success determines what languages rise to prominence in the international realm.
This explains the modest boom that German has experienced in Europe.
Decades ago, schools taught French as a foreign language; nowadays, German has risen in popularity, a practical consequence of the changing economic tide.
But if you had to choose one, what would you say is the universal language?
Most people would say English.
If you live in any non-English-speaking European country, you’re probably familiar with the recent English craze.
Everyone wants to learn English for three main reasons:
to pass a foreign language course in school: now a major requirement
to find a higher-paying job: a motive that signals the economic power of English-speaking countries
to travel: a reason that points to the internationalization of English
This seems natural, considering that:
Most international business is conducted in English.
Many signs in airports worldwide appear in both English and the country’s native language.
Proponents of the Basic English movement have responded to this worldwide tendency by trying to adopt a neutral form of English for international use, one without regional differences or slang.
But is English the most effective choice for a global auxiliary language?
Some linguists point out that irregularities in spelling and pronunciation don’t make it an easy language to learn.
Yes, English has already gained a foothold, but would it be feasible to continue to spread it as the standard language throughout the world?
There is no easy answer.
Nevertheless, it does seem that English has become the de facto international auxiliary language, at least for the moment.
Is English experiencing its 15 minutes of fame as a universal language or is it here to stay? Only time will tell.
Have you ever stopped to analyze the words you use to express your emotions, both negative and positive?
Do you dwell on the bad or focus on the good?
It may seem that words are just words, on our lips one second and evaporating the next, vanishing as easily as they came. But words are powerful.
Perhaps you’ve heard the myth that Eskimos have 50 different words for snow. Anthropologist Franz Boas is often credited for postulating this theory.
Although, in reality, he moderately suggested that the Inuit and Yupik languages contain a few more words for snow than other languages and his theory later snowballed (no pun intended) out of control, becoming a vast exaggeration.
While a study performed in 2010 partially credited this theory, we now know that the number is nowhere near 50.
Either way, this fact points to an interesting reality: our language is shaped by our view of the world and vice versa.
As a society, we develop vocabulary for concepts that are most relevant to us and our lifestyle and, in turn, the words we use tint our view of reality. This is referred to as the linguistic relativity hypothesis or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
So, what do our positive and negative feeling words reflect about us? About our individual personalities? About our culture as a whole?
What’s in a name?
How can we possibly bottle up something as abstract as an emotion into a word? How can we extract its essence and condense it into a single name?
And, considering the wide range of emotions we experience on a daily basis, how can we quantify the words we use to express positive and negative feelings?
So many words, so little time. Nonetheless, researchers have taken on the daunting task of compiling a list of emotions and categorizing them.
It is interesting to note that some of the emotions on the list retain their names in their language of origin.
For example, “dépaysement”, which refers to the feeling of being away from home, both good and bad, is expressed in its original French. We may be tempted to think that its meaning is similar to that of the word “homesickness”, used in English, but it is uniquely distinct.
Anyone who speaks more than one language can attest to the fact that sometimes there is no accurate equivalent word for a certain emotion in another language, which lends some validity to the linguistic relativity hypothesis.
Language is conditioned by each society’s unique experience.
But a mere list of emotions seems to fall short when we consider that not all emotions feel as strong as others.
Some emotion words seem almost synonymous, but, at a closer glance, we may find that one word has a stronger connotation than another.
In an effort to categorize emotions, the bookThe Hourglass of Emotionsidentified four different emotional dimensions with intensities that vary across a point spectrum from +3 to -3 (for example, with ecstacy coming in at +3 and ranging over to its opposite, grief, at -3).
Other researchers have devised a similar system, identifying six emotional axes consisting of opposite emotions that vary in intensity. Still, it is difficult to quantify emotions.
Positive vs. negative emotions
So, the elusive question remains: how many words do we have for positive vs. negative emotions?
How often do we use each?
One 2012 study published in EPJ Data Science analyzed the frequency of positive vs. negative word usage in English, Spanish and German and found that words with a positive emotional content are used more frequently.
This conclusion lends some validity to the Pollyanna hypothesis, which suggests that there is a human tendency to focus on the positive, at least at a subconscious level.
At a conscious level, the theory postulates that our minds tend to dwell on the negative and, in a way, this study also supported that side of the hypothesis, demonstrating that negative emotion words actually contain more information than positive emotion words; that is, they’re more intense and descriptive.
This makes sense, considering how strongly we seem to feel negative emotions.
However, in subtle ways, as demonstrated through the frequency of word usage, we are natural optimists, although it might not always feel like it.
How can positive word usage affect our psychology?
It is often said that our thoughts change our behavior, but researcher Amy Cuddy has demonstrated that the reverse is also true: our behavior changes our thoughts.
Famous YouTuber, Doctor of Fine Arts, painter and teacher, Antonio García Villarán, spoke with SIGNEWORDS on influencers’ role in people’s lives, and how he’s been working on his YouTube channel.
How does your content creation process go?
I let my intuition guide me because I’ve been studying art since I was a kid.
I read a lot so my head is like a pressure cooker, full of different authors and topics.
Often times, I’ve already studied most of the topics, so I go over the sources and see if there’s anything new.
I write up the script, then I film myself and edit it.
Did you already know about video editing?
I didn’t even know how to turn on a camera.
Everything I know, I’ve learned with YouTube tutorials and by trial and error.
I started doing this for my Udemy courses. That’s where I learned how to improve the video and audio quality, and now, Claudia (partner) and I have a closet full of cameras because we’ve tried them all out.
Was your vision for your channel ambitious?
My vision wasn’t ambitious at all. In fact, I didn’t even have a vision.
I started uploading videos because I wanted to say what was on my mind because I was fed up with everything I had seen in the art world, and I just wanted to vent.
But then I realized that people were actually listening to my opinions and understanding them, so I felt that I had to improve the quality.
What do you think about YouTube’s positioning as mass media communication?
I think it’s fantastic because, thanks to it, people like me can state their opinion from the comfort of their homes and be seen by the entire world.
This didn’t use to happen. For example, back in the day, I’d have art magazine subscriptions and I would read the articles that were basically aimed at praising certain artists, but I couldn’t say anything back; I just had to sit there and put up with it.
You can express yourself and now it’s the people who decide. Nobody is obliged to watch the videos. It’s awesome how it’s evolved.
Do you consider yourself a YouTuber or an influencer?
I think they go hand in hand.
I don’t think there are YouTubers who aren’t influencers because I think influencers are people with a certain lifestyle or certain tastes, that help others adopt that style.
There are all sorts of influencers: some only sell nice products, but I don’t do that.
I’m more about ideas and changing the status quo.
But it’s true that I’ve been asked quite a few times about things I’m wearing because my followers want to wear the same thing as me, and I wonder ‘why?’ (laughs).
Have you ever been contacted to promote products?
It happens more and more. Every week, I get one or more offers to promote products.
The thing is, I don’t think the products would be very useful on my channel, so I don’t accept them.
If a brand comes to me with an interesting proposal and we come to an agreement, I’d do it. I’ve also had people willing to pay me to talk about their work, but I’ve made it clear that I don’t do that.
So you haven’t promoted anything on your channel yet?
I’ve never directly promoted a product, but I have done a video on Johannes Vermeer in collaboration with Google.
That’s actually why I decided to do the project on the ARCOmadrid festival with my followers.
Basically, if they wanted me to go there, I’d collaborate with them making videos and giving my opinion. And it exceeded our expectations.
Do you think there are advantages of positioning a brand on YouTube?
It’s one of many channels. Wherever the audience is, that’s where brands will be. So if the audience is now on YouTube, that’s where they’ll need to be.
Although, I think they need to get going because YouTubers still aren’t as valued as they should be. Many of us tend to a niche market.
In my case, my videos are aimed at people who are specifically interested in art, so they come to my channel to see just that.
On TV, I’m not sure who would see it or if they’d be interested because there’s no data on the subject.
How do you imagine the fourth generation of YouTubers?
I think we’re tending towards excessive specialization, towards the generation of YouTubers dedicated to brand positioning.
The same thing happened in the music industry. They’d look for attractive people that would look good on camera and say ‘yes’ to everything, to make them become stars and make bank.
When the brands realize how powerful YouTube is, they’ll want to have their own YouTubers.
And those of us who have worked hard to create our channel from the ground up, without any help, won’t sell ourselves out.
That’s why the brands will have to create their own. And who knows? They might even create virtual YouTubers.
What’s your take on your channel?
The thing is that I don’t know what will happen with YouTube because, for example, who would have imagined that people would like watching other people play video games or doing challenges?
The same thing goes with my channel:
Who would have thought that almost half a million people would be interested in art? And I think it’s key that there are no limits.
Has your channel always grown gradually?
If you analyze my channel with Social Blade, there would be an upward curve more or less.
There hasn’t been any significant change, but I have to say there are some videos that have given me more haters but also more followers because my position is that ‘I believe such and such’.
There are some YouTubers that have had indirect income from other channels.
I have a lot of small sources of income, but not with YouTube.
I think that if you do things right on the platform, it could be a great source of income, and if you reach a certain number of views, you could even live off of YouTube, as many influencers have already said.
Do you have to study brand positioning to know if you should promote a product or not?
Not really. I don’t have to study anything.
But I have to say that there’s a pre-established ranking that, depending on the number of views, you can ask for a certain amount of money for a placement.
It’s already being regulated and it’s quite interesting. So it’s a win-win.
What’s a placement?
Promoting a brand’s product. For example, making a video on such and such topic to make others interested in a certain product.
What type of influencer do you think you are: a passing influencer or one that’s here to stay?
I’m really not sure. I just know that I’m thinking of staying around for many years and I hope the channel evolves with me.
I’ll always try to offer the best content, provide value and do interesting projects, like the ARCOmadrid one, where all you need is your followers’ support.
El famoso youtubero, doctor en Bellas Artes, pintor y profesor, Antonio García Villarán, dialogó con SIGNEWORDS acerca del nuevo rol de los influencers en la vida de las personas y cómo viene trabajando su canal en YouTube.
¿Cómo realizas la generación de contenidos?
Me dejo llevar por la intuición porque estudio arte desde pequeño.
Leo muchísimo y mi cabeza es como una olla a presión llena de autores y temas.
Normalmente, la mayoría de los temas ya los he estudiado antes, entonces lo que hago es repasar las fuentes y revisar si hay algo nuevo.
Monto el guion, luego me grabo y lo edito.
¿Sabías edición de video?
No tenía idea ni cómo se encendía una cámara.
Todo lo he aprendido por tutoriales de YouTube y por ensayo-error.
Empecé haciendo esto para mis cursos de Udemy. Allí fui aprendiendo a hacer que la imagen y el audio fuesen mejor y, ahora, Claudia (pareja) y yo tenemos un armario lleno de cámaras porque lo hemos probado todo.
¿Tu visión sobre tu canal era ambiciosa?
Mi visión no era a lo grande en absoluto. En realidad, no era ninguna visión.
Yo empecé a subir videos para decir lo que pensaba porque estaba harto de todo lo que veía en el mundo del arte, y quería simplemente desahogarme.
Pero después vi que algunas opiniones mías habían calado y llegado a la gente, y las habían entendido, y sentí que debía dar algo de calidad.
¿Qué opinas sobre el posicionamiento de YouTube como un medio masivo de comunicación?
A mí me parece fantástico porque, gracias a eso, personas como yo podemos emitir una opinión desde casa y ser vistos en el mundo entero.
Antes esto no ocurría, por ejemplo, cuando yo estaba suscrito a las revistas de arte y leía esos artículos que servían para ensalzar a ciertos artistas, yo no podía responder; tenía que tragarme lo que decían.
Ahora, uno se puede expresar y es la gente la que decide. Nadie obliga a nadie a ver los videos. Es una evolución bestial.
¿Te consideras youtubero o influencer?
Creo que una cosa lleva a la otra.
No creo que haya youtuberos que no sean influencers, dado que entiendo a estos últimos como personas que, por llevar un estilo de vida o por tener unos gustos particulares, ayudan a los demás a tener ese estilo.
Hay influencers de todo tipo; hay algunos que solo se dedican a vender productos que está muy bien, pero yo no hago eso.
Lo mío está relacionado al nivel de las ideas y de cambiar lo que está preestablecido.
Pero sí es cierto que muchas veces me han preguntado por cosas que llevo puestas porque quieren ponerse lo mismo que yo, y me pregunto para qué (risas).
¿Te han contactado para promocionar productos?
Cada vez contactan más. Semanalmente tengo una o varias propuestas para promocionar cosas.
Lo que pasa es que son productos que no los veo útiles en mi canal, entonces no los acepto. Si me vienen marcas con propuestas interesantes para mí, si llegamos a un acuerdo, lo haría.
También tengo gente que quiere que hable de su obra y me quiere pagar por eso, pero yo les aclaro que no hago eso.
¿Entonces tu canal aún no tiene ninguna promoción?
Nunca he promocionado un producto de manera directa, pero sí hice un video sobre Johannes Vermeer con la colaboración de Google.
Precisamente por eso decidí hacer el proyecto sobre la feria Arco con mis seguidores, que se basaba en colaborar si ellos querían que yo fuese allí a hacer videos y ofrecer mi opinión. Y se ha logrado con creces.
¿Consideras que YouTube es un medio beneficioso para posicionar una marca?
Es un medio más. Las marcas van a estar donde esté la audiencia, y si está en YouTube, deberán estar ahí.
Aunque creo que las marcas van tarde porque todavía no se les está dando a los youtuberos el valor que tienen. Muchos tenemos una audiencia de nicho.
En mi caso, yo tengo público objetivo porque es gente a la que le gusta el arte y viene a mi canal a consumir eso.
En la televisión, no sé a quién le llega ni si le interesa porque no hay números.
¿Cómo imaginas a la cuarta generación de youtubers?
Creo que vamos hacia la especialización excesiva, hacia la creación de youtubers para posicionar marcas.
Lo mismo ha sucedido con la música cuando crearon cantantes para exprimirlos buscando gente guapa, que dé bien en cámara, que diga a todo que sí, para ganar mucho dinero.
Cuando las marcas se den cuenta del poder que tiene YouTube, van a querer a sus propios youtubers.
Y los que hemos nacido en la plataforma sin ningún tipo de ayuda, no nos vamos a vender a las marcas.
Por eso, van a tener que crear los propios. Y quién sabe si no se crean algunos virtuales, a los cuales se les ponen caras.
¿Cuál es el análisis sobre tu canal?
Mi análisis es que no sé qué va a pasar en YouTube porque, por ejemplo, quién se iba a imaginar que a la gente le iba a gustar mirar videos de personas jugando a videojuegos o personas haciendo retos.
Lo mismo me pasa con mi canal:
Porque ¿quién iba a pensar que casi a medio millón de personas les iba a interesar el arte. Y lo que me parece fundamental es que no hay techo.
¿El crecimiento del canal siempre fue paulatino?
Si meten mi canal a Social Blade, la curva es más o menos ascendente.
No hay ningún cambio grande, pero sí es cierto que hay algunos videos que me han traído más haters, pero también más seguidores, porque me he posicionado como “yo creo esto”.
Every war ever fought was a result of exchange of words.
A contender with a curated arsenal of words may be as well or better armed than its opponent with physical weapons.
And now in the 21st century, words can travel as fast, or faster, than the fastest bullet and spread more than gunpowder.
There is also an old saying that goes something like this:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me”
In other words, they do not have the power to destroy me. Yes, they can sting, they can hurt, but I have full control over how I react (or not) to what other people say about me or about what I believe in.
If this is true, we seem to quickly forget it when we get upset, particularly when it seems to threaten who we are and what we believe in.
We are social animals, and it’s only natural to put our defenses up when something, or somebody, threatens this set of ideas we’ve identified with and assimilated as our universal truth.
On the other hand, it has also been said that:
Words come and go with the wind
You may passionately remember a quarrel, a heated dispute or misunderstanding; that intense feeling of indignation, embarrassment or excitement. But emotions tend to overpower short-term memory, making it very hard for your long-term memory to accurately recall what was said and done.
However, if words were really trivial, why are there so many perennial writers, whose words have transcended decades and centuries and are still disputed, quoted, cherished and celebrated?
That is not to say you shouldn’t strive for more or better —having dreams and struggling to attain them is essential in life.
But don’t let frustration win the day and stop liking yourself because you can’t accept yourself as you are and the material you’ve got to work with.
Your body, the way you breathe, your most private and genuine thoughts.
Every person walks a different path and, as in all aspects of life, it is futile to generalize, but young people do tend to imitate what they like in others, maybe because they haven’t yet had enough opportunity or time to discover what they truly like and what they are genuinely searching for.
Growing older gives you the time and the experience you need to move on from imitating others and be yourself more and more.
The false link between youth and beauty can also make you try, absurdly, to extend your youth.
Naturally you can take care of yourself because you like to and because it makes you feel good, but always on the basis that you accept the different phases of life and your personal evolution, never trying to turn back the clock.
Given that beauty can manifest itself in many forms, and is always viewed through the eye of the beholder:
The essence of being beautiful is feeling good
How often have you been feeling good and found that other people found you more attractive as a result?
And when that happens, you tend to take better care of yourself, you dress up more and your eyes sparkle.
More evidence that beauty comes from within:
Beauty is an attitude that manifests itself from the inside out
Happiness is closely linked to calm and serenity, states we often need to learn to attain.
Getting older should help you to better understand where happiness lies, not the opposite.
We often hear older people saying things like, “At my age, I don’t care about that anymore”, or “I’ve seen it all before”.
Because that’s the way of it: as you get older, some things just don’t worry you as much as they did when you were younger, and that helps you attain that all-important serenity.
KNOWING WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO USE AND HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
You need to try out different products to see which ones suit you, and experiment with routines to find out what really works for you.
As I’ve already said, a dermatologist once told me that the only person that lives with my skin every day is me, and therefore I am the person that knows it best.
So, age is a real help in this respect. The older you are:
the more you will have experimented with different products and routines,
the more mistakes you will have made
and the more you will have learned about yourself.
BEAUTY IS BALANCE
And maturity is also about balance.
The more well-balanced you manage to be, on the inside, the better you will see yourself and the better you will feel.
Maturity comes to some people at one age, to others at another, and maybe some people never fully achieve it, but whatever form it takes, it takes time, and time for human beings means age.
Getting older, if we learn to embrace it, brings the wisdom brought by experience and the practice of living, and the poise that bestows beauty to both face and body.
Age puts things in perspective and should allow us to love ourselves more and more as we get older. That is the true basis of beauty. Genuine, natural beauty, that is.