2 min read

Watch later

I have 2,350 videos on my Watch Later list on YouTube. That is way too many videos. Four hours ago I had even more. There is no way I will ever watch even half of these videos later. Some are old and easy to trim off—writing tips about topics I'm not currently interested in. Many of them I may want to watch at some point.

But there's a wide range in the ones I may want to watch. There are short explainers. There are long documentaries. There are short films. There are series cartoons. There are skits and jokes. There are reviews and video essays of varying lengths. There are videos about fighting games. I usually don't want to just go straight through it in chronological order and there are far too many videos to search it by hand.

What's worse is that when I go to Watch Later, I don't know what I'm looking for. If I did, I would have just searched for it. Instead, I'm bored-browsing. Watch Later doesn't work well for that, because when I'm bored I want something new, and Watch Later is by definition "old"—things I've seen before. The vibes are slightly vaguer and allow for newer things, so it kind of fits.

The Watch Later list is not a good fit because often the chronlogical list clusters by type. There'll be long runs of fighting game videos that are pretty similar to other fighting game videos that I did actually watch, or jokes, or explainers, or whatever I got on a kick for five months ago. Again, it's old, not new. So sorting this out by general type or vibe or length probably won't help. I've already gotten enough of that, whatever that was, and I'm not into it at the moment.

Maybe the problem is that I've no longer interested in the specific video. I might instead want to rediscover the vibe that video represented. Maybe I don't want to know how to operate a circular slide rule but I do want to watch a video with a similar vibe about how skyscrapers are built. So maybe what I want is a list of channels to watch later. But I don't think that actually addresses what I'm looking to get from Watch Later.

I wonder if, when I'm looking at Watch Later, I'd be better off journaling. What am I looking for right now?