"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Simplicity // Technology
March 16, 2019

This Week I Quit Vimeo

There are two popular video sharing platforms. YouTube and Vimeo. But Digital Minimalism suggests I should only stay with the best one for my needs.

I dropped the book down on the wooden dining table. The afternoon sun was perfect. At this time of year it shines through the big windows in the lounge room with a clear, crystalline glow. It illuminated every detail in both the wood and the book cover. And as I stopped to make a photo, to accompany my review of Digital Minimalism, I couldn’t help but wonder what impact this challenging book would have on the process of simplifying my digital life.

The answer came later that day: an email (it always seems to be via email) from Vimeo, telling me a follower with a user name that was a combination of random numbers and the word “sexy” had started following me. Vimeo suggested I take a look at what this user had been working on but I opted not to.

I’d only ever posted two videos to Vimeo. Both were experiments in time-lapse photography. And they were made several years ago.

Back then I was into Vimeo. It was popular with videographers. It had a better player and higher quality than YouTube.

But things change.

Digital Minimalism suggests we continue using a digital platform only if it provides a clear and tangible benefit to us. And we should opt for the best platform for that benefit, not every platform that might deliver.

Only the best one.

Vimeo Or YouTube?

Right now, by a long way, that’s YouTube. Vimeo is not even close.

I have four reasons to watch online videos – education, entertainment, encouragement, and expression.

Most of my YouTube viewing is educational. Whether it’s cooking, electronics, guitar maintenance, software and plugins, woodworking, or some other craft, I’m often watching to learn. But I also watch to be entertained, to laugh, or just be amazed. Sometimes I watch to be encouraged, because it’s good to hear other people’s stories of how they overcame hardships, reached their goals, or just listen to their wisdom and experience. And, although my own channel is on hiatus, YouTube is the place that makes the most sense if I ever return to making videos in order to reach an audience with what I do and the way I do it.

Of course YouTube is not perfect. The algorithm is problematic. All too often watching a video about history or philosophy then fills your recommended lists with troublingly far-right or racist suggested viewing.

Quitting Vimeo

It wasn’t hard to quit Vimeo. I’d only ever bought one film there, the entertaining documentary Sriracha, about everyone’s favourite “Asian” hot sauce. It only took a few seconds to download it and add it the iTunes Library. I went through the usual dance to find the “delete account” option. Then lastly, the walk from home office to lounge room, to delete the Vimeo app from the Apple TV.

Digital Minimalism And This Week I Quit

What Cal Newport did well in Digital Minimalism was codify a way of evaluating which digital apps and services to delete from your life. And also, how to be clearer in your thinking about the benefits you expect from the ones you keep. That’s something which wasn’t clear in many of my This Week I Quit experiments. A lot of them were reactive: “I don’t want this in my life!” or “Why do I still have an account here?”

But just as important as deciding what to get rid of is deciding why you are keeping the things that continue to hang around you.

Sure, I might never use Vimeo again. But why do I keep using YouTube? And how is it making my life better? That’s a question to keep asking.

This Week I Quit is an occasional series where I share experiences of quitting apps, platforms, habits and commitments in a quest to live a simpler and more focussed creative life. Last time I Quit Houzz and you can read the rest of the series here.

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