MrBeast confirms the importance of Buchanan's "Order Defined in the Process of its Emergence"

Veritasium posted a really great video about clickbait a while ago that I have never been able to shake. In the video, Derek Muller dives into clickbait and his own experience with getting content out. It is an honest look at the difficulties in getting content shared. But the most interesting part features an interview with MrBeast.

Both freely admit that they don’t really know which titles will work before they post a video. While the content might be interesting, matching a headline to a video is uncertain. I clipped the discussion here. They were searching for the best title.

As MrBeast explained,

So [like] everybody, I usually make like two or three thumbnails, and then if it’s not doing as well as I want, we usually just swap ‘em out and see if it does better. ‘cause the thing is like, you don’t really know. I mean, you could know if you just were an almighty being that could just predict what people would be interested in, but you know, usually… Like, you can do hide and seek. You don’t really know if like you hiding in a tree and then someone walking below you is a good thumbnail. Or if you hiding a trash can and them walking in front of you. So, you know, just do both and then see which one interests people a little bit more.

Both are accomplished at generating attention, but they don’t completely understand how they are doing it.

I hate to get all wonky, but their back and forth reminded me of James Buchanan in “Order Defined in the Process of its Emergence.” As he pointed out, the order of the market “emerges only from the process of voluntary exchange among the participating individuals." Continuing, Buchanan writes that, “the allocation-distribution result, does not, and cannot, exist independently of the trading process. Absent this process, there is and can be no ‘order.'”

The same is true of content platforms. The order is the outcome of the process that generates it. But even it’s most accomplished stars don’t completely understand how it works. The process is best defined as a search for success, a search for traction.

First published Mar 3, 2022