In the generation of internet fame, it’s important to trace back the roots of our social media platforms and how they started. A popular video website, Youtube, has been getting a lot of attention over the year for its stars, policies, and how quickly it’s changed from being user first to income first.
Youtube has been a platform for creators to upload their entertainment pieces and reach out to millions of people around the world. In 2013, a popular trend called “Draw My Life”, where YouTubers explain their lives in a fast motion drawing video, was done by hundreds of creators on the platform. Through this trend, creators took the chance to explain why they started their YouTube channel. Many of the reasons were to keep in contact with family across the world, join a platform that’s an outlet for creativity, and put content they’ve created that others can enjoy. Recently, these same YouTubers that first joined the platform for fun, have admitted they have noticed many joining for greed.
I’ve been an avid YouTube viewer since I was about 10 years old, and I’m almost 18 now. Growing up and watching YouTube trends come and go, as well as popular channels, I’ve noticed how it has changed as a whole. I loved going online and seeing my favorite YouTubers collaborate with each other and simply have fun in front of a camera. YouTube was placed to see people do stuff you most likely wouldn’t dare to do or watch funny skits by creators who put a lot of time and effort in their projects. Now, it’s evident that the “popular” YouTubers only care about making money.
I first noticed the greed for money from YouTube in the beginning of 2016. The social media app called Vine was another large platform. The popular “Viners” started earning money through sponsorships and promotions. As soon as people saw they could earn money through the internet, they tried to get more. Viners have spoken about the fact they tried to get their vines monetized, like YouTube videos can be monetized, in order to start earning and income. The creators of Vine rejected the request and eventually, those big popular Viners began to move into YouTube.
The followers Viners had on Vine migrated with them to YouTube and many were making money within their first months as YouTubers. Viners turned YouTubers such as Jake Paul, Logan Paul, King Bach, and Lele Pons are part of the group of people who solely joined YouTube for the money and put mediocre content on the platform. Creators on YouTube have lost their popularity over the years, the same creators who joined the platform to have a creative outlet that just so happened to become a job.
As teen constantly viewing YouTube videos and being a fan of certain creators, I’ve seen the platform and community grow and evolve. Sadly, it’s recently taken a turn to a money hungry platform. Youtube cares more about promoting videos that bringing in the big bucks than it does of real creative content and the viewers that want genuine entertainment.
Over the years, the idea of quick and easy fame has become more and more realistic. You can watch your fan base increase by sending out a funny tweet, snapchatting an embarrassing moment, or posting insensitive videos to a channel.
Youtube has always connected the public with people of all backgrounds and helped those people get the platform to allow them to share their opinions, ideas, stories, tips, and more. The only problem with that type of platform is that it truly is available to all. Therefore, it’s just as easy to share hate, exploit certain groups of people, and post graphic insensitive content to millions of people with the click of a button.
This fact alone is not a reason to shame the company – the direct issue is that somehow these videos stay online until it hurts their business. While these offensive videos stay, other videos that have things like culturally informative content, or responses to past videos are being censored and taken down for not being appropriate.
A recent example of this is youtuber Logan Paul. He has posted graphic content over the years, from him pranking fans by pretending to get shot while in front of them, to a more recent (and now deleted) video of him, visiting Aokigahara, known as “The Suicide Forest” in Japan. In this video, he filmed the actual finding of a man who had recently committed suicide. This video went against many of Youtube’s guidelines, yet it failed to be taken down. In this video, he makes jokes about finding a man hanging who has passed and constantly shows the body. In response to this, another popular youtuber, Nathan Zed, posted a video talking about how Logan was being insensitive and that needed to be addressed. He also explained that Aokigahara shows multiple signs of encouragement in staying alive upon entering the forest. Zed’s video was then taken down temporarily until his fans’ complaints were listened to.
As a moderate user of Youtube, I’ve noticed many increases of ads and sponsored videos which can just be annoying, but I’ve also noticed that my homepage has videos from people I don’t even subscribe to, and even ones that I have purposefully unsubscribed from because of their status.
Youtube has been around for years and will continue to be around, but the poor shift to revenue-based priorities is apparent, and to see the company continue addressing complaints and work to fix big picture issues not just for success, but for morality.