Last year we took a look at the mathematics behind YouTube!
We predicted that Pewdiepie, the king of YouTube for the last many years, would be overtaken by T-Series, an Indian music company, on the 21st of October 2018.
While it seemed like we were pretty dang close to calculating correctly, the ‘pure’ mathematics rarely lines up so well with the real world. Our model worked! But there was a man that changed all that.
Mr Beast and his team had some up with a plan to prevent Pewdiepie from losing the top spot. This involved spending a lot of money to support him and create a campaign raising the awareness of the event.
From late October to early November, the campaign helped out Pewdiepie and his title, keeping the subscriber count pretty even-footed.
And finally, this week Pewdiepie was finally overtaken by T-Series but there is still fluctuations keeping both TSeries and Pewdiepie fairly even.
Is this actually important?
Last year, this question popped up. We were looking at linear algebra (graphing straight lines), so the skill we used is indeed important. We model data like this ALL. THE. TIME. It’s why we know when the economy is doing well or not. It’s how we can calculate the orbits of the moon and planets so we know when eclipses will be. It’s how we can look back in time and see when different species existed or when the planet or universe was formed or what happened at a crime scene. It’s how we can determine what material we should build a skyscraper out of. It’s how we can plan our health services or environmental or energy requirements based on population growth.
But what about the context?
Sure, some of you don’t care about Pewdiepie and TSeries. But we have to look beyond the immediate context and think about what it means overall. We can use our mathematical skills to see this one context and infer what it means for other contexts.
We are living in a time when social media and online streaming is becoming a bigger scene than television. This means that traditional media companies need to come up with strategies to keep their business going. We’ve seen this with the advent of streaming services like 3Now, OnDemand, and continuing companies like NetFlix.
Now we’ve taken another turn with this event because Pewdiepie was an original, personal creator. T-Series is a company. Never again will an individual lead as YouTube’s king or queen. Now, the number of subscribers a channel has doesn’t affect their income - that’s all about view count. But the two variables are interrelated. The more subs, probably the more views. Of course there are exceptions, like Shane Dawson or Logan Paul getting more views than Pewdiepie.
We are now we and truly in the digital age. A lot of what we do is online. Whether it’s on your phone or a computer or some other device. And the way to make money in this medium is through ads. Social media companies need to make decisions about what ads to show you. Creators have some say in it too, and so does your search history or the games you play.
The take-over of a single person by a company is not the end of the world. But it does make platforms continually rethink their business model or their advertising strategies, and that’s what affects us every-day users. It informs their algorithms to show us what we want to be shown but also takes into account how much a creator uploads. This changes income revenues.
You may not be a YouTuber, but if you’re reading this then you are online and you are affected by the internet and how it works.
Back to the math
Next time you’re in a math class and you’re given a context you don’t relate to, instead of asking “is this actually important” in a non-genuine way, try to think about the consequences of the context and how it relates to not only your own experiences, but others’. Try to think about how this particular algorithm or operation that this context is using could be expanded to something you are interested in.