I think I’m broken. After 8 years of toiling for the YouTube Masters I think my creative will for video has left. This is not a screed against YouTube, platforms, or the modern gig economy. This is simply a statement. I have sat for hours in front of the camera only to have silence emanate from my my mouth. I have dragged the camera to cool places, only to leave the lens cover on, as I sit and ponder what a cool place I’m in. It’s not that I don’t want to communicate. It’s not that I don’t want to pass my knowledge on to the next generation. It’s not that I don’t want to give others a glimpse of the wonders in the world that are just around the corner. I’m just… I’m just tired of YouTube…
Being a YouTube content creator is a weird way to make money. You have a tremendous amount of freedom in a way, but you also have more bosses than most people could imagine. You can do what you want, but… YouTube needs to be happy… your viewers need to be happy… advertisers need to be happy…. your sponsors need to be happy… and you have to be careful of pissing off outside parties too much… additionally you’re supposed to be a part of the YouTube “community”, whatever the hell that actually means.
This is the point where I’m supposed to go into some long winded, well reasoned, explanation for my fall from grace. The reality is though I’m just tired. I’m tired of trying to figure out the view and revenue algorithm. I’m tired of vendors acting as if I should thank them for “allowing” me to talk about their products. I’m tired of cleaning the bile out of the comment stream. I’m tired of the direction content is headed on YouTube. And at the end of the day I’m just tired of hearing my own voice.
YouTube has been a good way to earn a living over these last 8 years. There have been highs, and definitely there have been lows. Overall though as cheeky as it sounds to say, it’s been an experience I’m glad to have had. Being on YouTube has taught me a lot about communication in the modern world. It has shown me the power of these new platforms, and it has also showed me where they fail.
There are real problems with these communication platforms. In the rush to build the next great thing, a lot of companies forgot to build foundations that can survive a hard rain. With YouTube they simply don’t see their creators as real partners. It feels as if we are valued less than a commodity server. For a while that can work, but what happens when creators just start silently walking away..?
With the #RESIST movement coming out of Silicon Valley creators have to realize that at any time we can have our cords pulled. We literally get paid by pushing the boundaries, but if we push an inch too far we can have our accounts terminated with “no appeal”. I don’t personally like Lauren Southern’s content, but I would be stupid not to take the warning. Since the Adpocolypse how many channels have seen their revenue tank to unsustainable levels? Without some form of security and protection how can creators trust the platforms they depend on? YouTube just doesn’t care. To call creators cogs would be an overstatement, we are paperclips on a good day. Useful, but if one (or a whole box), fall in the trash can it’s really not worth the time to dig them back out?
This is not a status quo that inspires loyalty. This is not a way of making money that doesn’t come with a heavy mental burden. When you’re tired, you’re revenue has fallen, vendors treat you like a beggar, viewers treat you like you should be grateful simply to produce content, and your platform treats you like Kleenex, is there a reason to get back up? Sometimes the smart move is just to stay down and let the ref get to, “3”.
What’s next..? I don’t know. I have some ideas… but… well… I guess we’ll see what happens…