There is definitely something ironic about the fact that I’m typing about YouTube. I feel that this should realistically be a video right now, but it would be totally boring, I think. The funny thing is, I think I know what works on YouTube and then other times I’m completely dumbfounded. I need to use this as a platform to mentally sort things out. I wonder if others are in my same boat and I wonder if others have things figured out.
So where do I begin? Shit, I don’t even know. I have this app on my ipad that I never use which basically is a mental map and lets you sort out your thoughts. I wish that were how this posting actually would look. My best bet is to try and categorize this and then hope it just all makes sense.
YouTube is walking a very odd line. On one hand it holds the key to careers and is a platform for major national issues. On the other hand it’s the hub for mindless guy-picks-fight-with-stranger-and-then-stranger-kicks-his-ass videos. Then there are sports highlights, musical acts, travel shows, promotional videos for company websites, and about 75 other categories. The truth is, I’ve been trying to figure out where exactly I can personally fall into YouTube clutter. But also, I think that YouTube is currently trying to figure itself out in the clutter.
I wonder if they want all of the clutter or if they want to trim down all of the under produced content. I mean, lets face it, it’s weird (yet cool) that a company can have such amazing high production quality content and then also host a dog taking a shit on a sleeping person (not sure if this video actually exists but I’m sure it does).
Trimming out the shit:
The cool thing about YouTube, and really the web, is the ability to post content anywhere so you can penetrate a surface that you couldn’t previously touch. It’s obvious that a TON of great opportunities and talented people have come from creating great things. That aspect of the web/YouTube is unbelievably amazing.
As it stands now YouTube has made things more difficult if you’re not established. Even the terms of being “established” have changed. Recently YouTube hosted its “NextUp” competition. Essentially it’s a program that allows people like you and I to submit videos, then people vote on the videos, and if you’re one of 25 winners you get help and assistance from YouTube to really establish your personal brand Sounds good, right?
Weird thing is, in the latest NextUp competition the submission guidelines were written as:
Have at least 10,000 subscribers on December 5, 2012 and/or at least 1,500,000 total videos views all-time for your Channel on December 5, 2012;
Wait. First off, it is fucking tough to get 10,000 subscribers and it is really fucking tough to get 1.5million views. So shit. 10,000 is borderline established to me. If you crack a certain amount of subscribers then what that tells me is – people like your content, they’re willing to share it, and you have a solid and possibly loyal fan base. The only way you can mess this up is by not posting videos for years or by immediately changing your style.
This brings me back to trimming the shit. It seems as though YouTube only wants sort-of-established content creators who can already build their audience. They want people who are big and they can make bigger. Not to profile small and unnoticed.
Can small folk succeed?
Yes. How? I’m not totally sure. What I do know is that if you’re legitimately trying to grow and not be a one hit wonder then you need consistency and quality. This isn’t new to anyone.
It is too late but not really:
If you don’t have a channel on YouTube, and you’re just getting going, and you want to create a big channel, it’s tough. You need to jump onto the social scene guns ablaze. If you’re trying to create a show then you need to release consistently. If you’re just going to drop periodic episodes of whatever you’re doing… eh… you may not get to where you want to be.
Where I think YouTube is going:
Like I mentioned above, it is trimming out the shit. YouTube recently said it’s going to alter channel design (again). Yesterday I had a moment to check it out via a iJustine video where she profiled the new layout. The take away that I got is that it is tailored for creators to brand themselves. This is cool. It forces people to really treat themselves as marketers. It’s unfortunate for people who just release good stuff but don’t know how to market themselves. Hopefully, content will succeed.
Final thoughts of this:
Where did this ramble lead too? I’m not sure. Where did this come from? It comes from a place of a person who makes content and occasionally feels a step behind in evolving with the system. I know this may not be how it seems but I’m not bitter or upset with the current system, I actually kind of love it. The YouTube landscape is an interesting thing. It can consume you. It’s amazing knowing there is something in the world that gives you so many varieties, and also this same something can be beneficial for your success.
YouTube is amazing. The web is amazing. I’d consider right now as sort of turning point, particularly for YouTube. It’s a moment when they make a push into quality programming and then possibly morph into Netflix with a pay-per-view style. Then what happens? We start over again and a new YouTube takes over, but one that is more tailored for up and coming creators? Doubtful…but possible.
One thing I do know – There will always be a need for total nonsense viewing. We will always have videos of humans doing stupid shit with bad audio, bad lighting, and a shaky camera. The voyeuristic aspect of watching content won’t go away. Dammit YouTube, I love you.