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Let's Talk: YouTube Culture

Saturday, 6 February 2016
I love YouTube as a creative platform, I think it's been great for our generation as both a creative outlet and a source of education. I saw Jack Howards video (1st, 2nd) on this topic and everything he said, I completely agreed with. I've started to feel out of place on Youtube. I'm not a creator but I've been watching since I was around 9 or 10. It's always been there as a pass time or my go to place for help, however I've been feeling like I just dont want to watch anything and it's took me a while to realise why.


Trust:

I think I started feeling isolated as a viewer when all the sex scandals were revealed. As a 9/10 year old I found Alex Day and he was the first YouTuber that I properly subscribed to; I'd watch all his videos and I would even buy his albums. I remember I went off his content for a while because I found he'd became quite pretentious and just seemed like a bit of a dick but then he moved into the flat and was dating Carrie and seemed much happier and easier to watch. Then the sex scandal.
I think that was the point were I feel out of love with the ideal that is subscribing to someone and that personal connection you feel. For me I loved Alex's content and I think when you get in that position you trust the person and feel like you know them. All this was ruined and it kind of felt a bit gross that it could've been anyone. Also the lack of conversation from bigger YouTubers was very concerning for me. I mean you did get a lot of conversation around it but from the people that have millions there was just nothing and I thought it was odd considering, like Jack said, they can make videos discussing school and trying to help younger people but couldn't discuss sex and consent? 
Obviously I want to stress that this isn't aimed at one person its a generalisation and obviously there were important, stand out videos that really helped educate. 

On the topic of trust, I wanted to talk about money and ads. I'm totally fine with ads, I mean if Youtubers want their content to be their career, obviously they will have to make some sort of income in order to support that and keep growing. I think it's amazing that normal people are able to review or talk about certain things because it creates a normal marketing scheme from real people, unlike the aggressive and often unrepresentative marketing you get in the mainstream media. However, I do feel like YouTube itself and some companies exploit this. I was watching a video the other day and there was 2 ads in-between the video and one at the start, it was really aggravating because I dont block these ads in order to support YouTubers but then it's taking the piss when you can't sit through a video coherently because ads block it. This wasn't the YouTubers fault and it kind of felt like marketing was exploiting YouTube as a platform. 
Companies are trying to get a hold on the YouTube market but I feel like they are getting it wrong. If you want someone to advertise your product at least let them be creative with it. I mean giving a full script and planning out the video adds to the stigma of fake ads, which then means less people watch them. I feel like YouTubers are the creators here so surely they should decide how to show the product, I mean obviously you can't just be like 'yeah do whatever' but contriving this fake scene won't sell.



Unrepresentativeness:

I feel like YouTube has this amazing ability to be so empowering and diverse, I mean if you look under the surface of white males/females doing challenge videos there are so many diverse and amazing people. You get those who discuss LGBT, transitions, racism, appropriation, mental health, feminism and so much more but these are being buried by the video culture. Everyone wants views and to get these videos you have to fit into a niche; pretty girls doing tutorials or 'hot' men doing challenges. There's nothing wrong with this to an extent, like anyone can create what they want thats the beauty of the platform. However, many have to realise that this group have privilege over many of the smaller creators. Also when one of these beauty gurus try to branch out to make other, more interesting content, they get hated on and bashed, whats wrong with trying something new? For example Essie when she changed her style and there was so much hate. YouTube is a creative outlet and people should be able to create whatever they like instead of being defined by views and the platform as a certain niche.
I do think that mental health is really well represented, to some degree. I mean you have huge YouTubers discussing anxiety, depression and therapy and that is so important. Also feminism in some forms and the education surrounding sex is really well discussed. Obviously there's still more to discuss but as a start it's great and really utilises YouTube as a platform.

Overall:

This has been a hard post to write because I have so many thoughts and it's hard to write everything coherently.
In this post I am not bashing YouTube, I'm not bashing big or small YouTubers. I'm subscribed to those with millions and those with hundreds.
All I want to say is that I dont think YouTube is being used to it's full ability. I think there is some amazing people and amazing content on there but it's often overlooked for pointless videos that make more views and more money. I feel like I go onto YouTube and there's only around 2 days out of the week when I find something I really want to watch. My subscription box is usually dead because people have missed uploads or something like that and it's just got to the point were I feel like some creators  or Youtube itself dont put the effort in; it's all marketed and it's lost the charm of sitting down and talking to a camera. It's all production and money. Obviously there are amazing videos that I do watch but theres this overriding feeling that I just can't explain but I just feel a bit lost as a viewer. I dont know whether I need to change my expectations of videos or just ignore the negatives but that doesn't sit right. I know times change and the production of YouTube has meant that there's a lot of new opportunities for normal people to make it big and now they are able to get deals with companies that show products in a more normal way or get deals like Jack Harries and Skype, which allowed him to make an inspiring documentary series.
If you think I'm slating YouTubers you have read into this post wrong and I'm sorry for that. I just want to open the conversation in the comments and see how you feel. I personally just think that YouTube isn't being used to the ability it could. Vlogs create an outlet for creators to be more personal and at ease and they are the videos I now watch and love but at the same time I miss YouTube and the time that I felt like I could trust any creator. Maybe Im being naive?

Leave a comment of what you think, I'd really love to hear and please help me change my view because I miss being able to go onto YouTube and love all the videos I had to watch or even to have videos to watch.



13 comments

  1. I totally agree with this - I used to love watching youtubers, but maybe it's because I am getting older that I don't relate to them at all. I do love watching Carrie Fletcher's youtube videos though as I think she appeals to an older audience and it doesn't seem as forced as some of the others!
    Abbie xx
    www.alittlebutton.co.uk

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    1. Aw thank you for your comment!! Thats what I was thinking, like maybe I've grown out of the people I'm subscribed to? I love Carrie too XX

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  2. You are so right in this post. There's a lot of 'ideals' and 'perfectionism' on YouTube and it doesn't feel real (not always)! I also find that the small amazing voices speaking for the minorities are quite segregated, which defeats the point of a free open platform. That said, it's up to people like us who disagree with how it's become to be brave enough to post raw, honest, vlogs- not sure I would but I'd love there to be more!

    viicreative.wordpress.com xx

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    1. Thank you for your comment! Yeah exactly, I feel like it's more about production now? And yes!! They are all grouped together into 'the ones that speak about issues' when really their issues should come to the mainstream! XX

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  3. I think it's really great that you opened the conversation on this topic and you made some really great points. I especially agree with the fact that youtube is becoming more and more of a marketing platform and I feel like it's loosing some of it's realness. Sometimes I'm even wondering if the youtuber in question is even talking from his or her own experience and isn't making something up.
    Like recently in the blogosphere, I wish we'd turn the clock a few years back and start looking at why we started blogging and vlogging again.

    Love, Eline | www.elinesreturnticket.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for sharing your view!! Yes exactly, you never really know if the AD is completely real with some people. I know, it's sad I just hope theres like a new wave that brings it back to the more candid feel XX

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  4. I have enjoyed reading this so much, Sophie! This post popped up on my Bloglovin' and I knew I had to read it right away without postponing. I have been enjoying YouTube for so long, just like you. However, I completely support your reasoning about what's become of it and how it makes you feel.
    YT is such a great platform and could benefit people so much but then again, just like everything in this world, it went too commercial. While I do understand that some people put a lot of work and effort into their videos and truly do what they love (and deserve to be rewarded for it), others seem to be jumping on the bandwagon just to do something that was already done million times before them and isn't beneficial in any way to the viewer. Such things frustrate me. As much as I have had a habit of watching YT videos when I get ready in the morning, during commute, in the evenings when I need to relax, now I find less and less videos or YouTubers I really want to follow and stick around for. Of course, there are those who I love and won't stop watching. However, I'm not fangirling over anyone, I enjoy and respect YouTubers with a personality and the message they spread. Sorry for rambling so much. I am not even sure I got my point across the way I wanted to. There is just too much I want to say on the topic. But thank you for raising an issue like this, hon. Especially since we are all into YouTube one way or another. I definitely hope I will start enjoying it more in the nearest future <3
    P.S. I loved your Monthly Moments so much!
    xox N.
    http://www.mielandmint.com/

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    1. Wow thank you for sharing Nadia!! Yeah, thats what I dont like when it just feels like a bandwagon thing that the viewers won't really care about, it defeats the object a bit! And same! I often put them on for background noise now instead of fully listening like I used to! XXX

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  5. I loved this post so much! I watched jacks video and agreed with what both of you have to say on the matter! Firstly, I don't mind adds its not the end of the world to sit through a 20 second add is it but it's when people do Sposnored videos which have no relation to the theme of the video eg. Reviewing a chocolate bar in a makeup tutorial just no.... Instead I think the platform needs to be used more effectively! Everyone has something to talk about and I appreciate not everyone will want to but wouldn't it be more useful! I think if I was to do YouTube I would do a mix between arty videos, chatty/ funny lists discussions and raising awareness of taboo subjects- a bit like what I want to start doing on my blog! As regards to trust, I think there is very few youtubers that a honestly trust whole heartedly! There is some I watch fleetingly but very little that I would actually ever buy anything Off! Ps: sorry for all the spelling errors in this comment, I am so tired but I think you get what I mean x

    http://thriftyvintagefashion.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Nicole!! YES! It's like fair enough people have to make a living but at least do it in a productive and sincere way! I'd love to see your videos, you'd 100% be someone I wouldn't get bored of watching!!XX

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  6. This is such a great post! I do feel like Youtube has changed a lot (and not just the look of the website). Maybe I have changed as well. I can see my liking of certain videos changing ever so often. For example, I used to love watching Marcus´ and Alfie´s videos but right now I just don´t click on them anymore. That´s not because they aren´t uploading good content or because they have become pretentious. I think it´s a two-sided process where they and I just have grown apart. That´s a think I´m completely fine with.
    I have also noticed the lack of new uploads coming lately. I´m in my exam period right now which means I am watching hours of Youtube each day as a 3-minute-break between 20 minute learning intervals (because there´s no way I can learn 400 cue cards in a row). But I find myself watching old videos or videos of new Youtubers instead of watching new content because there only is so much new content that I enjoy to watch. I understand that good videos take a lot of time and effort and that´s totally okay but if I don´t get a video for three weeks and then just a mediocre one, I´m just disappointed.
    I´m now going to watch Jack´s videos (because they have been in my recommended ones but I just haven´t gotten around to them yet.)
    xx Lisa | Following Lisa

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    1. Thank you Lisa!! I barely watch them anymore too, I just feel like it's become the same old thing repeated! I like the idea of growing apart and being two sided, maybe I just need a fresh subscription box!! Yeah, I also stick on an old video or a sims build because theres nothing new, which is annoying! XX

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  7. Hey! We had our interaction on #TheGirlGang, and then I saw this post. I think it's very true, and honestly companies are seizing the oppertinity of YouTube as a business venture, not as real people talking about real things. That's why I never liked TV, it's too orchestrated, too fake.

    I do believe YouTube will wake up, I BELIEVE IN YOU YOUTUBE!!

    Hiba xox from thepinkandpowerful.wordpress.com

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