I've been on YouTube for 5 years plus, and over the course of those years I've sometimes wondered what it would feel like to open my emails one Monday morning and find my inbox swamped with YT notifications after one of my videos somehow managed to go viral over the weekend.
Well, one can dream. It's never happened.
Until yesterday, it sort of did - except not on YouTube.
My Mondays usually start somewhere around 9am, but I was brought to half an hour early yesterday, as Ben popped in and said something (sorta casual, as you do) about all those votes and comments that one of my recently-published Portal 2 custom maps had been getting. Well, the last time I checked, my most popular map had achieved something like a dozen views, seven or so people playing it, few enough votes (in either direction) that you could count them on one hand, and around two comments. It had been about a week since I last logged into Steam - a week, on my Steam account, is usually just about long enough for absolutely nothing to happen - but my still-not-quite-awake brain thought it heard Ben say something about 'nearly 2000 votes'. I would probably have fallen out of bed, except that I'm in the rather sensible habit of sleeping towards the middle of the mattress, rather than hanging off one side.
8:30 may count as 'a bit too early' on ordinary days, but Ben wasn't joking, so it seemed that this wasn't ordinary days. I promptly decided that if I really had got literally thousands of people playing one of my maps, then this was clearly worth getting out of bed half an hour early for. Sure enough, I fired up Steam and found some 57 messages, nearly all of them comments on Cliffs of Insanity, and stats boxes showing it had been one of the 3 or so most popular P2 custom maps for the last several days. Someone even had a screencapture video on YouTube showing themself solving the map - which I have, needless to say, added to my favourites list. And somebody else left a comment in Russian.
The numbers kept going up, some of them by the hundreds, over the rest of the day, and were still rising this morning.
And just as I was all fired up in test-chamber-building mode, somebody somewhere in the deeper recesses of Valve went and broke something. As of first thing this morning, I can load Steam perfectly well, thank you very much, but Portal 2 won't start for love nor money; I get an error every single time saying that "the Steam servers are too busy to handle your request for Portal 2" - which doesn't make a great deal of sense seeing that I had the game already working 24 hours ago. Quite annoying timing.
I digress. The main point of all this was to say what had happened, and to comment that it all feels really weird after all those years of obscurity. Really, really weird.
But not unpleasant.
- The Colclough