The year was 2006. I was 14 years old. It was then I formally adopted the title of “Jacky the Nerd.” At this time, there was a thing that hit the Internet called YouTube. Something told me this new website would be amazing. New people were making new stuff which I’d never seen before! However, YouTube may or may not be going down the dark path towards evil corporationdom.
Hard to believe it was a decade ago (technically YouTube launched in 2005, but exploded between 2006 and 2010 to its current state) that YouTube, the world’s largest video sharing site, was launched. I’ve used YouTube as a consumer and have uploaded a few videos, and part of me wants to use it for vlogging purposes alongside this blog. I’m not here to discuss plans though.
YouTube, as a company, appears to be souring to quite a few of its content creators. While this is old news, this is something that’s still kind of going on. I can completely understand why content creators are fed up with YouTube’s recent behavior. I Hate Everything’s channel was deleted for a day. Jim Sterling—creator of the Jimquistion—calls the copyright claiming and fair use system YouTube utilizes is almost abusive and exceedingly easy for people to exploit out of sheer spite, but he made a video explaining YouTube’s new efforts to make things less abusive. Nostalgia Critic found out monetization on his videos was down, and that’s how he and people in his company make a living. Some people are angry—such as Boogie2988’s character “Francis”—irritated that large media corporations often get recommendations on the front page instead of native YouTube content creators.
YouTube’s current rash of problems over the past year or so—problems that are making bad experiences for its content creators—need to be addressed. A lot content creators are calling for YouTube to rely less on automated systems, but start acting and use some actual human intervention to get stuff fixed.
Back in 2006 when I was in high school and first discovered YouTube, watching the early exploits of channels like Smosh, the Angry Video Game Nerd, ScrewAttack, and a few other early content creators, I thought this YouTube thing was—hell, it is—revolutionary. I wasn’t the only one; a then more-or-less unheard of actress named Felicia Day realized how amazing YouTube is as a platform and started The Guild in 2007, one of the first massively popular web series. In 2008, Ms. Day would later go on to star in Joss Whedon’s—director of The Avengers—mini-web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog which starred Neil Patrick Harris (Barney of How I Met Your Mother) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly and Serenity, and ABC’s detective drama Castle). A lot of the stuff I mentioned is from before 2008. YouTube’s popularity exponentially exploded in 2010, and it started to resemble the landscape it has today.
I’m not a YouTuber. I use YouTube to watch content that I enjoy. John and Hank Greene a.k.a. the Vlogger Brothers make some awesome material that I love to watch. Zombie Orpheus—a production studio that made The Gamers movies series and JourneyQuest (a fantasy/adventure comedy done right and well)—, Boogie2988, TechnicalDave, and a few other channels that I enjoy, I love seeing their content. I love seeing their work. I like to discover new content, specifically fan films and web series for me to review here. YouTube is a wonderful place for people that want to create content, and it can be good quality content so long as time, effort, and resources are poured into it. YouTube is, in my opinion, one of entertainment’s saving graces from an ever increasingly monolithic and stagnating mainstream entertainment industry seen in Hollywood, network television, and I’m just going to say it, HBO and cable. Sorry, cable networks. But violence, drugs, and sex ain’t my cup of tea unless I’m reading a book. Thank goodness Game of Thrones was a book first. It costs time, money, and effort to try YouTube, and even though there’s a massive influx of content from all sorts of companies and individuals and while some make it and others don’t for whatever reason or reasons, I ultimately believe that YouTube is a content creator’s haven. For now, that is.
YouTube’s problems are major and pervasive because the company seems reactive as opposed to proactive, and they don’t seem to react unless a lot of people raise quite a bit of Cain and ruckus. According to Nostalgia Critic, some of his videos weren’t making money for three weeks. That issue has since been resolved. When I Hate Everything’s channel was down—even though it was for a day—it took support and alerting the larger audience community and bigger content creators (such as Jim Sterling, son) to get stuff done. If YouTube continues these bad behaviors (I seriously doubt they will because YouTube’s run by some pretty smart people) for the long term, then people—specifically content creators—will move away from YouTube. When those content creators move on, so will their audiences. It’ll hurt YouTube, and it’ll hurt those content creators as well because those audiences may not move to new sites with the content creators. I realize this sounds apocalyptic, and I don’t see YouTube going the way of MySpace anytime soon, but some of these trends bother me and that’s the end result I see.
Now then; I’m going to watch some stuff on YouTube. Maybe find a new film to review. Or an old one. I’m not sure yet. I have about 10 plus years of content to sift through.