Youtube has degenerated quite significantly since Google took over, the website has been constantly changed to the point where it is hard to know even how to operate it. Google has only ever supported the most successful channels, you need to have 1000 subscribers before they even acknowledge you and many of the changes that they have made make it next to impossible to grow a new channel. Other changes include scrapping the video response and friends features, changing the subscriber feed so you don’t automatically see what you are subscribed to and Google + to name a few. Changes that Google have not made are making cover photos and channel icons easier to set up and allowing channels to change their names easily, features that the other sites all incorporate.
The content on YouTube has also evolved. When I started on YouTube there was a fair amount of good content that had a shelf life, in other words, there were many videos that were worth watching more than once. For example:
You can clearly see that a huge amount of work was put into making this video back in the earlier days of YouTube. The person who made this video is a man named Anthony Siguido, he also made a making-of video about the process.
After watching this video it becomes painfully apparent that making this video was a mammoth task. Meaning that the frequency in which he could produce this kind of material would have been extremely low, making sustaining a YouTube earning any ad revenue virtually impossible. I show this as an example of the change in the content as the platform has grown and as a sad reminder of the quality of work that could be found on Youtube back then.
Over time, the main thrust of content has moved toward hyper-current, one-time only view, throw away vlogs, reviews, top 10’s and so on. The reason for this is that more and more people are chasing the dream of being an “internet celebrity” and earning their living from making videos and these types of video represent an easy way to get views. Views and time watched equate to more advertising money and the circle-jerk is complete.
Although this is a comedy video it does hit on many the problems with YouTube since Google took over, pay close attention to the background.
Firstly YouTube needs competition to elaborate on the theme in my video at the top of this article My Thoughts on YouTube set to Final Fantasy Vice (Original Tune), (yes I did use it my own music because I needed a video for the tune and a tune for the video, six of one etc) creators need to take one or two of their regularly scheduled video and move them exclusively to Vidme, Vimeo, Dailymotion or any other video sharing site. If bigger YouTube creators were to do this it would really put the cat amongst the pigeons and Google would eventually have to respond. Smaller channels (with tiny amounts of views, subs and no revenue) should move altogether. Obviously, this is only my suggestion, any person reading this will, quite rightly, do what’s best for them.
Another thing to bare in mind for creators who have made the move to Vidme, Vimeo or Dailymotion etc is that their new site of choice does end up becoming YouTube Mk 2. I say this because this is the floor in my argument for change. If creators move over to the newer sites and just carry on as if they were on YouTube then no real change will occur. The only thing that a person can really change is themselves, with the monetisation of videos, it is not in any creators interest to help the competition, pulling the ladder up after you have climbed to the top, so to speak. One idea I had was to do a monthly picks video where I would have looked for four or five videos and showed them to my audience, unfortunately, I managed to acquire an audience.
The New Televangelism
I despise being asked for donations by content creators, This kind of collection bowl, hand out mentality is the new televangelism. At a time when attitudes are hardening toward people on welfare benefits, the sick and the homeless, how some of these people have the brass neck to ask for money so they can make videos for a living is beyond me but what’s worse is that people give their money to these channels. People complain about welfare benefits but they support the military, in essence, what they are saying is that that are quite happy for their money to be spent on killing people but not feeding them and this general lack of generosity in people’s attitudes, is terminal for a community, online or anywhere else. I do agree with the idea that taxation is theft but seeing as taxation is fact of life I would rather see that money go to people to feed themselves than to the machinery of war.
YouTube has become a monster in every sense of the word, should one or more of these sites become a legitimate challenger it will need to be fundamentally different and that will require everyone involved, administrators, creators and the audience to really think about their behaviour whilst they are online and make a positive change. I realise that if anyone reads this it may be quite unpopular but I ask that you to think about some of the points I have raised and not to take this article as a personal criticism, it is very easy to get swept up in the smallest of things (like YouTube) and this article, in part, is just my attempt to give you pause as others did for me.