YouTube: Great for the Masses, Bad for the Creators
YouTube: such a beautiful and wonderful landscape. It is where the creative can go and spread their beautiful, unique voices out into the world. Yet how unique can your voice truly be among 2 billion other people?
The platform that we have taken for granted for so long is an overfilled water balloon. This bubble will inevitably burst, along with YouTube’s popularity, leaving millions of content creators without a platform.
Value is Function of Scarcity
YouTube content creators are facing drastic problems. Due to the inherent simplicity of uploading content onto YouTube, anyone and everyone can do it. Unfortunately, as media critic and college professor Read Schuchardt says, “Value is a function of scarcity.”
When everyone uploads constantly on one platform, it decreases the value of each video on the platform. This depreciation of video value is similar to the concept of inflation.
By now, YouTube has grown so large that it has surpassed being a platform. Now platform has become a social medium itself. Users refer to those who “do YouTube” as “YouTubers”, showing the change from platform to medium.
As a platform, YouTube has inherent boundaries that limit the capabilities of their content creators. Unfortunately, for the people aspiring to be famous, succeeding as a YouTuber is harder than being a Hollywood star. In fact, according to The Washington Post, the median views per video in 2006 were 10,262. Today, each video receives closer to 82 views average. As more videos are uploaded onto this platform, each video loses it worth.
Since it’s so simple to upload on YouTube, the number of content creators is constantly increasing. Unfortunately, the number of new users is starting to level out. At almost one-seventh of the human population, the amount of people joining and uploading on YouTube is flatlining.
The growth of users joining is slowing. According to Statista, 2018 – 2019 there was a one million decrease in new users joining then the years 2017 – 2018. Despite the decrease in new users, the number of content creators is increasing steadily and surely. Everyone desires the promise of easy Internet fame, who wouldn’t want to create and upload content for the Internet?
YouTube has consistently caused problems for their content creators. From removing the verification from all of their content creators to their famous demonetization rampage, YouTube has repeatedly interacted negatively with their content creators.
Change in YouTube Verification
Most recently in September of 2019, YouTube had decided to change their verification formula. Originally, a content creator only needed 100,000 subscribers to receive that verification tick next to their name. According to TechCrunch, users accused YouTube of using the verification as a form of endorsement from YouTube. YouTube, however, claims that verification is only supposed to signify the real, original account.
YouTube changed their policy so that they get to decide who to verify depending on who they believe is the most prominent and searched-for people. This change sounds more susceptible to bias than before, but YouTube claims that it will lead to less bias. As the most recent problem YouTube has caused, it will certainly not be the first or the last.
YouTube is only going downhill from here.
Despite receiving negative consequences from YouTube’s actions repeatedly, content creators continue to use this platform. YouTube seems to hold the promise of Internet fame, yet so few people are able to even make a livable income from it.
But it’s never that easy. A new content creator on YouTube likely has better luck becoming famous in life than on the internet through YouTube.