Reviewers play a pivotal role in the hookah industry, whether they realize it or not. They're a great source of information, and a great way to learn a lot about hookah. I guarantee that most of you reading this have watched at least one review before, whether it be a YouTube reviewer, or a picture review over on Imgur. Something that has been on my mind recently has been the overall scope of the hookah community, and where we stand with the rest of the world. What is the best way to get solid info out to the rest of the world? How do we help the hookah community grow? The online community is a wonderful thing, and something that many of us take for granted. There's tons of info out there for the new smoker, and regardless of which hookah community you find yourself a part of, it's important that we all help them grow. This is where reviewers come in. Reviewers, particularly those on YouTube, are probably one of the best ways to get information out to the hookah community as a whole. Today, we're going to be talking about the unspoken responsibility that I feel that reviewers have, and how it benefits all of us.
Growing the Community
In the modern age that we live in, YouTube is one of the fastest growing media outlets available. Many people will just google something if they have an issue, and YouTube videos are usually some of the first results to pop up. This is because for one, Google wants to promote their biggest asset, and help it grow, but it also has a rather sophisticated search algorithm behind it. So, when someone searches something hookah related, they're bound to encounter a YouTube reviewer of some kind. "But Wade, what does all of this have to do with the community?" Why, I'm glad you asked. Because of this search algorithm, and because YouTube reviewers have the potential to grow exponentially depending on how they make their videos and promote their content, they have an opportunity for reaching the masses that most people don't have. And it's because of this, that it's so important for YouTube reviewers to grow themselves. When a reviewer promotes their channel, they create a platform that's beneficial to themselves, as they get their name out there, but infinitely more beneficial to the masses that they're reaching. Creating quality content that keeps viewers coming back creates an infinite wealth of knowledge that can continue to be viewed and shared by people across the globe. With this platform, reviewers have the potential to help the communities grow, as a result.
So, the unspoken rule that I feel reviewers have is this: Grow yourself, and once you've grown yourself, grow the communities that helped you grow.
Yes, growing yourself may be some work. But in the end, it's endlessly beneficial to yourself. Many reviewers can even grow so far as to be sponsored by specific websites, which can help promote more quality products.
The problem that exists currently in the hookah community is the lack of reviewers. When I started becoming engrossed in the hookah community in the middle of 2015, we were in the golden age of YouTube hookah. We had channels like Hookah and Beyond, SmokeOrPass, Hookah.TV, StrictlyShisha, and HookahChef that were all active, and they were all putting out fantastic content and helping the masses. Today, only StrictlyShisha and HookahChef remain, of those five. Granted, there are some great new channels that have been popping up, but it's nothing compared to what we used to see. I'd like to applaud these two for putting out the content that they've been putting out, and it really warms my heart to see you guys continue to grow and promote quality content. To you other three - what's up? Where've you been? Come back. Most of these channels are who inspired me to become a reviewer and blogger myself - they made me want to help better the community as well. And that's not to say that they don't help the community in other ways too, but I think that their YouTube channels were, and still are in most cases, insanely amazing opportunities to help grow the community.
Because of this reviewer drought that we're in, I'd like to encourage each and every one of you as well - have you ever thought about doing reviews? Do them. Help the community. Make quality content, and help the community grow, while helping yourself grow as well. Reviewing, at its core, is a relatively simple thing. You talk about the product itself, make sure that you cover all of the info that you feel is important to the consumer, and just say what you think. Not sure what to do? Watch other reviewers. Listen to what makes them good, stand out, or what you like about their reviews. For example, before I had started doing reviews, I was a huge fan of HookahChefs personality, and the depth to which he covered everything he reviewed. He brought an unique flair to reviewing, and it's one of the reasons that I think he's been so successful. Take examples like this, and make them your own. Show off your personality. Shoot quality clips. Just remember, you don't need fancy equipment to make quality content. HookahChef uses his phone, and edits and all right in one sitting. Yet he's still making solid quality. So it doesn't take a fancy camera or anything like that; in fact, I would say that the majority of reviewers aren't using insanely expensive equipment by any means. My overall point here is that it doesn't take much. Your first review may be awful, I know mine was. But watch it for yourself. Tell yourself what you don't like. And improve on that next time.
Even if you don't have any interest in reviewing yourself, if you want to help the community grow, you have a responsibility as well. It's your job to support these reviews, whether it be just giving them a watch, giving them some feedback, or just smashing that mo-fucking like button. Whatever you do, promote their activity. Help them grow. Helping them helps these communities grow too, and you play a pivotal role in this as well. These reviewers can put out as much info as they want, but if no one is watching them, nothing good will come of it. Encourage reviewers, and help them grow.
I know I've been rambling a little bit, but hopefully you got my main point of this. It's a simple chain effect - help reviewers, they help the community grow, the community growing means increased sales for vendors, increased sales for vendors means more funds to make quality products, and more quality products means a constantly innovating industry, and one that can continue to grow immensely. The Hookah community has a lot of potential to help a lot of people, just like it did for me at one point too, and just like it did for you as well. Help the community grow with me, and let's make it something that everyone can be proud of.