Watching one YouTuber react to Jake Paul and his dad taking part in kissing competition by kissing the same 18-year-old girl made me realise one thing – YouTube is fucked beyond repair.
You deserve more, and your future generations deserve more than the current crop of content creators on the platform.
And let me be clear. This is not aimed at all creators.
Popular content types on YouTube moves in a wave – much like the diffusion of innovations. Between 2011-2013, your innovators tackled the idea of video blogging a day in the life of one self-known as vlogging.
Following this and the lengthened watch time of these reaching the same heights of the Let’s Play format, the platform caught up – forcing other people to play along by increasing financial incentive and reducing ad opportunities for those who do not comply.
Then, before you know it, the Early & Late Majorities have arrived with full knowledge of the very system they need to game. And in the same vein as forcing a positive image of yourself on social media, it became very clear that the way to subscribers was through one simple, one-worded solution.
That leaves you with vloggers creating an insane alternate reality of ridiculous scenarios, privileged enough with the millions of subscribers to lack any care for those around them. YouTubers call out other YouTubers, usually through the creation of a hip hop song with high production value (extra points for the addition of a 'Vevo' logo on the thumbnail), yet some God awful rhymes, leading to further vlogs calling the original YouTuber out amongst their sea of video-based visions into this same alternate reality.
But it doesn’t stop there – this social video circus is then covered closely by a selection of channels who actively report on this YouTube drama, as if it is the most important development of the day and sometimes, if you’re lucky, this artificial drama will even extend further into the broader news media spectrum.
Following this, the YouTuber moves onwards to a different kind of video - a personal piece to camera that makes a rather hypocritical complaint about the drama on YouTube, by blaming the advertising setup and other social pressures (it takes one with particularly big, brass balls to blame their own subscribers). And following this outpouring of fake emotion, the cycle begins again,
The self-perpetrating PR machine for every single one of these walking controversies continues to serve them instant attention & gratification from a younger, more affluent audience who desire nothing more than to live the life they have.
And who am I to question that? That’s just the power of celebrity, right? Well yes, but I’d argue that completely defeats the purpose of YouTube’s existence to begin with - to (in their own words) give “everyone” a voice.
This is expressly not that. If anything, this is slowly becoming an uglier, socially-pressured version of standard television – providing people with an over-inflated sense of self-importance and ego, when YouTube really should be a humbling experience of content consumption/creation.
So, what am I trying to say here?
The community has died, and its real creators buried under the very noise of “celebrity” and egocentricity that the platform was initially built to eliminate out of the creation of video-based entertainment.
Over a decade ago, it was an exciting place to watch people far more creative than myself bend the common conceptions of modern media forms in increasingly interesting ways. Fast forward to 2017, and we have a dumpster fire of over-privileged, obnoxious, fake millennial celebrities – outshining the honest, original content & dumbing down the rhetoric of young adults.
Run. Now. While you can. And pray Facebook’s Watch performs better. Or check out Vimeo, if you’re that much of a rebel.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.