It's 2014 and the YouTube world is massively different to what it was, even compared with 2012 when my nervous rambling first appeared on the site. This year in particular, it seems the new brand of YouTube celebrity has simply exploded, with Zoella becoming a household name and even an Apprentice task all about the candidates creating their own online video channel.
This post has been a long time brewing. I first sat down to write it at the height of the Sam Pepper scandal. Life got in the way and to be honest, I have nothing to say about that horrid situation that hasn't already been said in a much more articulate way than I am capable of mustering. Instead, I've been observing the YouTube community, finding out a bit more about the "giants" and looking at the culture.
Here are four things I've been dying to share:
1) The Sam Pepper Thing Really Annoyed Me. But not for the reasons you might think. In no way am I denying that what Pepper did was wrong. His videos and the allegations that have since come out are absolutely horrible. However, people are acting like he's the only horrible YouTuber. During my research, I have found out that Sam Pepper was not even the first person to do this video and that other big YouTuber's are far from squeaky clean. Why did I not see the same uproar about Shane Dawson's blackface? Lukeisnotsexy's "Sex Change Video (now has its named changed...) It began to feel like people were only condemning Pepper because it was "trendy" and there was no big effort to further rid YouTube of sexist, transphobic, homophobic etc videos.
2) Writing Nasty Things About Zoella When People Like Sam Pepper Exists Is Ridiculous. I'm sure by now you've all seen THAT Independent article about Zoe Sugg. Among other things, the article attacks her for the way she looks and the content of her videos. Even if you ignore the fact that I actually think Sugg is a pretty damn good role model for her audience, even if you ignore how ridiculous it is to equate an interest in beauty with antifeminism, the the thing that ticked me off most is WHY would you pick on Zoella when, as I have just mentioned above, there are GENUINELY problematic YouTube videos out there promoting racism and transphobia among other things.
3) The Same Goes For Alfie of PointlessBlog. Quite a while ago now, I saw a similar artice on Vice about how awful Alfie Deyes of PointlessBlog is. Same argument really, Deyes' videos are rather harmless and certainly don't promote hate of any kind. He is the wrong target if you want to criticise YouTube. The whole Vice article just smacked of jealousy to me, written by a very bitter man whose own channel just hadn't taken off and he resents the fact that he's stuck in an industry notorious for piss poor wages while people younger than him are making money in what was once a brand new and unprecendented manner.
4) Maintaining A Successful YouTube Channel Takes Just As Much Energy And Effort As Your "Real Job" - if not more. Few things drive me crazier than seeing people think that having a YouTube career is an easy way out of "real life." I am a hobby YouTuber, I do not earn any money from my channel and while I am proud of my 250 subscribers, I know that means nothing to anyone else but me. Even so, the amount of work my channel requires is insane. After filming the videos themselves, editing EATS into my days like nothing else and if you have anything less than fibre broadband, well, even just uploading your video is a pain in the ass. YouTube is also now a fiercely competitive industry - for everyone that 'makes it' there are millions who don't. The bigger YouTubers face serious invasions of privacy, they are earning other work off the back fo their channels and they have a busier schedule than I can fathom. How anyone thinks this is "easy" is beyond me. Is it that cheeky jealousy and bitterness again?