What Happened to Yoyo Culture?

seems like the consensus is that instagram is the main medium for the community as of now. I don’t mind it, if you follow YYF on instagram, Ben posts a lot of throwback pictures. I love seeing all of the old models and the progression. Also i think his name is beefswizzle or something, he posts really good yoyo photography too. Honestly, it makes the most sense because instagram is the easiest platform for marketing and posting pictures and announcements quickly. However, I think youtube is a far stronger platform when putting out longer videos and reviews. I also think smartphones have a big role for the shift, I don’t know anyone who uses instagram on their laptop (maybe you do though), also i don’t think any yoyo forums exists on mobile.

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There is the Discourse App for phones if you don’t want to use a browser.

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I dunno. It didn’t help Hajime Miura last year…

Now I know why it feels to me like so few people yoyo; it’s because I won’t go near the two most active social media outlets: Instagram and Reddit. :nauseated_face:

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It’s kinda expected that people slowly migrated to insta. For a hobby that’s very much centered around photo+video there’s way fewer layers of friction with that platform than with a forum.

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I can understand that. But personally, if that’s where the yoyo skills are, that’s where I’ll be. My enjoyment of yoyo outweighs my dislike of the platforms its on.

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So sorry @nightshadow, you may have just lost your cool kid status. However, you are here as well so that should account for something. :rofl:

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Well, as someone who just started re-investigating the hobby after 4-5 years, it’s good to hear the activity is just spread out rather than gone. Definitely preferable, of the two. I figured COVID was killing the contest scene, but the forum activity is so low, it’s been hard to get a read on the state of things. Sooo many new companies have appeared, and I figured they had to be selling Yo-Yos to somebody… wouldn’t make much sense, otherwise.

Kinda a shame though imo, for such a small community to be spread out across platforms. A small hobby like this definitely gains strength and momentum through an engaged, unified community. High activity feeds itself and generates more activity. I almost wish there was some “true home” for the Yo-Yo community, because even if Instagram is popular, that’s still just regular social media. It’s a bit cluttered with other attention grabbers, and it’s very nature will keep a lot of people out.

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I tried the throwers subreddit and discord as there’s a ton of activity but it never stucknwith me. The posts at the time were pretty much all about YYF and contests and I don’t have much interest in either of those.
Instagram is great, I don’t care about the tracking because I just post pictures of yoyos and not where I am or what I’m doing. Plus it’s 2020, we’re being tracked by pretty much everything haha the community on there is great too, always tons of new posts whenever I go on. Great to see more updates from brands on there too. Tend to see info on drops at lot sooner too

That is a really good point.

One of the things I have always liked about forums is how they are focused on a very specific area of interest. You know that when you go to one, that subject is pretty much all anyone is going to be talking about (aside from the obligatory “Unrelated Discussion” section every forum seems to need). There is also the ability to have long-running discussions, with meaningful discourse, all of which is searchable.

Social media platforms tend to have that blink-and-you-missed-it quality that is hard to keep up with, which just makes me think, I didn’t need to know about that anyway. Like, I know there are discussions going on in the Facebook BST group, but I don’t follow 99% of them. I’m only there to see the BST posts. Apparently it gets pretty toxic there occasionally, but I wouldn’t know.

And apparently a lot of the small boutique yoyo makers market and sell their yoyos exclusively via Instagram. Well, I guess I’ll be waiting to find them on a BST then because Instagram isn’t an online shopping site AFAIC. I’m a very loyal YYE customer, and I pretty much buy all my (new) yoyos from here. Plenty of small-run makers find a way to sell through YYE, and so the way I look at it, if a maker can’t find a way to sell through YYE then I’m not interested, and I’m probably not their kind of customer anyway.

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I’m pretty new to yoyo, so all I can really say is my own experience. I discovered yoyo through Instagram, about a year and a half ago, and that’s been my primary interaction with the community.

YouTube isn’t a community, as much as people wish it was. It’s just a place to watch someone else’s video. Most people don’t comment on videos, and even if you leave a comment it’s rare to have an actual discussion. To most people, myself included, YouTube is for monologue, not dialogue.

Facebook is awful. I haven’t bothered trying to get into the yoyo community on Facebook because I detest the site. I’m not an old fogey either, I’m 28 and I was an early adopter of Facebook when it was a relatively new site. But it’s just gotten so bogged down with junk that I avoid it altogether.

This forum is great. Over the years I’ve been a mod on multiple unrelated forums (mostly for video games) and I do enjoy forums a lot for discussion. It’s actually way better than Instagram for conversation, because it’s a thread rather than just comments on a post. However, like others have stated it’s not as easy to post video as it is on social media sites, and forums are more niche so they’re less visible to new people who have no idea where to look.

Instagram is the lowest common denominator. Most people already have the app, and it’s easy to create a new account for yoyo stuff. Heck, I have like six different accounts on Instagram all for different content. Personal, business, keto recipes, skill toys, the podcast my wife and I do together, I can just switch between accounts on the same app. And the yoyo scene on Instagram is ALIVE. I’m always finding new people, new businesses, innovators. So while I can’t compare the current yoyo scene to “the good old days”, I can definitely tell you that Instagram is where it’s at now.

Of course, if you don’t like social media then I’m not trying to say you have to go to Instagram. This forum is awesome and I’m enjoying getting more involved here. This post wouldn’t exist on Instagram, because there’s no eye-catching picture and most people wouldn’t read this much in a IG comment. All I’m really saying is that IG is where yoyo culture went, from my (very limited) experience.

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I used to follow a lot of YouTube channels but it seems like they are all in a rut now. “I was just sent yoyo X from company Y so I am going to give it a rave review and tell you how great it is.” No one tackles things that I would be interested in, like how string thickness affects a yoyo, or different pads and what they change in response, or how to fine tune your yoyo if you are getting knots or poor binds or other problems. For questions like that you are better off coming here.

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I suspect that’s because non-review videos on YouTube don’t get as many views or Likes. Consequently, YouTubers learn to stop making videos nobody wants and focus on videos that find more traction with the majority of their audience.

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You and @zslane are onto something. For most reviewers I watch, I feel like there is some combination of chasing views/likes, chasing sponsorships, and/or operating within a sponsorship at play. And I also noticed that many review in the thick of the honeymoon phase (hence my emphasis on weeks of play before I review). I personally don’t necessarily care about chasing views (although I am trying to build an audience in various ways), so I am trying some things out. One of my ideas for a future video is - seriously - one that focuses on pairing strings and yoyos. I have a fairly specific process that I use to find a good “fit.” If that’s something you and a few others would give a peek that gives me further interest in doing it.

I know I’m a nobody in yoyoing and that’s honestly something I am fine with. For every current star and past legend there are hundreds of common dudes (and a relative few ladies). So, my sort of vision for my channel is that I am an everyman sorta dabbling here and there in different yoyo areas. Most of my stuff so far is reviews, but FWIW I do try to offer honest and balanced assessments (no sponsorships attached), so while I do rave about some yo-yos I will point out issues or things that I just don’t like. I am a teacher by trade, so when I grade coursework I always note what is good and what could be improved. I try to translate that to yos.

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In my experience, I’ve seen quite a shift in yoyo culture/community and how we did things vs how we do things now.

Aside from the 90s when your “trickcircles” were literally standing in a circle with your friends, showing off tricks, it seemed that forums, blogs, and Youtube were the 3 main things that drove the community. Youtube and forums worked hand-in-hand. While Youtube wasn’t a place for discussion of things, it served as a vehicle where we could show off our tricks on our favorite forum(s).

Instagram was in its infancy only allowing for 15-second clips and Facebook was just there. I’ve watched Instagram evolve and slowly become the dominant force of the community over recent years. Instagram has its drawbacks though due to its flawed algorithm…newer players go unseen along with your “average joe” throwers like myself.

Facebook groups seem to be a secondary method that’s replaced the forums. In the end, call me oldschool/not getting with the times but I feel more of a connection with the forums…more opportunity to be seen, get feedback, generate discussion…not rigged by some algorithm that decides what is popular or not (or ‘pay for views’). I kind of miss the days too of written reviews with detailed shots of a given yoyo. I know reviews are entirely subjective and kind of fallen out.

2020 put quite the damper on things too for obvious reasons…lack of clubs, contests, actual in-person meets

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This would be a good thread here on the forums on its own. I’m a big believer not every string plays well on every throw. Right now I really like Prestige on my Parlay, but have to play Fat Kitty on a Grail. Have a SF Ceasefire and it was a dog playing Ziplines, strung it up with some Duncan Bulk Poly and its plays like a bi-metal should.

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As I’ve said before (in other threads), I don’t find reviews useful to me. The chances that the reviewer has the same preferences, needs, and aesthetic values as me are slim to none. I’m not going to learn anything (meaningful) from a review that I can’t learn from specs and pictures. And ultimately, the only way I’m going to know if I’m going to like a yoyo is to (buy one and) try it out for myself.

Case in point: everyone raved about the Cadence. Every review said everyone should have one in their collection. So I bought one and was very disappointed. Sold it as quickly as I could. Yoyo preferences are so intensely personal that I just don’t find reviews useful at all.

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I 100% understand the idea that reviewing is completely subjective, but I can’t get behind some of the absolutes in which you speak. While reviews MUST be taken with a grain of salt and I have certainly been led to buy throws I ended up not liking because of one or more rave reviews, there are things that I would rather learn from a reviewer. A couple of quick examples: Dylan Kowalski’s review of a certain throw that revealed a number of QC issues. Granted, it was a budget throw, but still. Also, I have a yoyo review coming out in the next couple of weeks I which I point out an apparent issue with the ano where it scratches off during thumb grinds. Not getting that stuff from specs lists or stock photos.

Absolutely. I have a process that helps me land on the “perfect” string for each yoyo. So many variables to consider - string material and thickness, yoyo gap width and response, etc. Maybe I will run with this idea lol

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To be honest, it almost seems like the community needs a platform with the strengths of different mediums. As I sort of said, social media is cluttered with everything from ads to the other stuff you’re actually interested in seeing. So aside from some people just avoiding social media on premise, the people on it still aren’t tuning into a dedicated “Yo-Yo place”.

But at the same time, I think people are drawn to social media partly because of how your profile page becomes a browseable museum of all your media. Hashtags also make it very easy to browse everyone’s media surrounding a certain keyword.

I dunno, I feel like if an in-depth analysis of different mediums were conducted, you’d get a formula for the perfect Yo-Yo community website. It would probably function like a sort of social media/forum hybrid. Most things don’t need it all in one place, but again this community is small.

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It seems to me that yoyos with serious flaws are extremely rare these days, unless you’re talking about real budget stuff where QC isn’t paid for by the manufacturer (usually reflected in the price). So while it is helpful to find out about those things before buying, that sort of Buyer Beware information isn’t representative of most reviews.

It also bugs me when reviewers talk about how good a yoyo is at a kind of trick they can’t really perform themselves. How am I supposed to trust their assessment if they aren’t good enough to actually put the yoyo to the test in that area (fingerspins, finger grinds, and horizontal play are examples that immediately come to mind)? They should just stop giving their opinion on that particular aspect until they can convincingly demonstrate what they’re talking about.

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