One of the things that makes me most cross about YouTube now is how the community is no longer a community. It is now a hierarchy that works in favour of those with many subscribers who are heavily monetising from it.
I used to be friends (and by friends I mean actual friends; we met up, hung out, texted. I don’t just mean they commented once on a video of mine) with some people who are now *famous* YouTubers. And when I tell you this I honestly wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not: as soon as they started getting in the multiple thousands of subscribers and earnings lots of money, they just didn’t want to know me anymore. I got deleted off Facebook by some, others just stopped messaging me back and others never let me know when they changed their numbers. There is one YouTuber and I actually went up to him at Summer in the City 2009 and confronted him about it. I asked him straight out why he deleted me off Facebook when we had previously been on friendly terms. He got very flustered and told me it was an accident. He re-added me for about 2 weeks and then deleted me again. This happened with nearly every single *famous* YouTuber (who wasn’t what I would call famous back then) I was friends with. Gatherings are no longer gatherings. They are MEET AND GREETS. People queue up to get a signature and a photo. Believe it or not, we used to meet up and hang out and just chat and go for lunch with big groups of YouTubers, well-known and otherwise. There was no gap between the ones with thousands of subs, the ones with 20 subs and the ones who didn’t necessarily make videos at all but just enjoyed watching them. It was quite genuinely a community in the best sense of the word. I know I am not the only one who feels like this has changed for the worst, and I know I’m not the only YouTuber who was basically kicked out of any sort of friendship group for not keeping up with high numbers of subscribers.
The reason I attached the photo above is because Alex wrote that on my YouTube homepage (that used to be a thing, I don’t know if that still is) soon after I got featured. He probably had about 3000 subscribers and I was just getting into the hundreds. Everyone made an effort back then, it was an extremely different experience.
YouTube is now really not what I ever loved about it or ever what I hoped it would be. There are a few people who I am still in contact with whom I made friends with in the very early days when people still made friends with their viewers rather than making them queue up for an autograph. But honestly, seeing people rake in the money and then encourage people to send them stuff to their PO boxes and queue up to fawn over them makes me feel a bit sick. That would never be enjoyable to me, and I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that people had put me on such a ridiculous pedestal.
I’m very happy for all the YouTubers who have made careers out of something that they love. Fair play, that’s everyone’s dream. I’m particularly happy for the YouTubers who have stuck to their guns with their videos and who are doing what they’ve always done and for the right reasons too. In my opinion the people doing irritating sponsored videos - with obvious product placement for items that are clearly irrelevant to them or that they have no interest in themselves - are not creating content for the right reasons. But then I suppose what was right back in 2007 is not the same thing as what is right now, as it’s basically an entirely different platform to what it was back then. It’s very difficult to get this across to people who did not experience how wonderful YouTube was back then. I know a lot of people who agree with me, but I expect that bearing in mind many of the new viewers (the people who are queuing to get a photo with a YouTuber and who were about 8 or 9 in 2007) only know it as it is now will think that I’m talking utter rubbish.
I’m not going to stop making videos definitively because as I’ve said, I am still very grateful to the people who are interested in my channel. But this basically summarises the reasons I’ve slowed down. Obviously the horrendous new Google+ integration has a very big contribution towards it too, but I can say nothing on that that hasn’t already been said.
This was a very long post, unintentionally so. Good night x