Note: This post was inspired by some recent YouTube comments left here. I’d love it if you read everything, but if you’re only here to read about my remarks regarding the comments left on Alfie and Zoe’s Sims video, you can skip to the bottom. Thanks! 🙂 YouTube. It’s the site we love to revisit and quite frankly, one that many of us depend on. I am an avid viewer and although I’ve technically had my channel since about 2009, I didn’t start utilizing the site until a few years ago. I use YouTube like I use Google and Television–for information and entertainment. It is the place I turn to for comedy, beauty, hair, pop culture, international events, and so much more. Every Thursday some of you waited for Scandal to air–no worries, I watched as well and online of course! 😉 –whereas every Sunday, I wait for people like Joe and Zoe Sugg to post a video for Sugg Sunday. I love YouTube and appreciate those who create content. Whether it takes them 5 minutes or 5 months, I love them all the same. I watch what I like and, as you would guess, I don’t watch what I don’t like. I give the videos that I love a thumbs up and if I’m really feeling happy, I leave a comment. I guess because I’m a bit older than some viewers, 23, I’ve always been a bit hesitant before posting things and a lot more understanding. I never give a video or comment a thumbs down unless it’s completely offensive and/or disrespectful. When I see someone who, in my opinion, made a comment that was possibly misinterpreted, I try to reply and give them some encouragement and indirectly tell others to back the eff off! I also get it if/when someone doesn’t post a video on their designated day–because, you know, they have lives outside of the five minutes I see on camera. The internet is one of the best things that we have, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. It gives you the ability to say and do things without the responsibility of consequences–which is unfortunate. But, this post isn’t about cyber-bullying–not entirely, anyway. It’s about realizing that no one owes you anything, especially not a complete and absolute stranger. Now before you get offended, let me just say that even though I may sound a bit hostile–I kind of am–I am writing this with love. Informative love. I love YouTube and its creators just as much as you do, so I just want you to understand where I, and maybe some of them, are coming from. I see berating commentary on people’s videos all the time.
- It’s been x and y amount of time, yet they still haven’t posted.
- They said they would do x, y, and z, and we’re still waiting.
- I am a dedicated viewer and I deserve, x, y, and z.
- I can’t believe x or y said that, I’m over them and their channel.
- I’m so over x YouTuber, I’m unsubscribing.
Um, okay? If you want to unsubscribe, please do. Yes, they appreciate your views, but by all means if you are unhappy feel free to exit stage left. & Don’t get me wrong, anyone that has viewers or fans in any capacity love feedback–they need it to improve their content and to make sure they’re delivering what their viewers want to see. But everything comes with some limitations and an understanding from both parties. And that’s where I think the problem lies with viewers. #Zalfie. You love them, I love them, they love them, the whole world loves them. Seriously. –A note to future bae: I will love you with all of my heart, but please note that a small part of me loves Zalfie more than whatever our ship name will be #sorrynotsorry. Even if Zalfie ever broke up, God Forbid!, I would stalk their past life and reminisce. For those of you who are not from the YouTube community, Zalfie is the ship name of Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes (if you don’t know what shipping is we can address that another time). They are two individual Youtubers from the UK that just so happen to be friends and are now dating. The internet loves them. But, when they went public–they were actually outed on accident–the fandom went crazy. Sure, we respect their privacy but we also love it when they are together in any video, ever. Even if it’s just for two seconds. As of November 1, 2013, both Alfie and Zoe began making Sims’ videos on Alfie’s gaming channel; as time progressed, they increased the length of the videos and posted more frequently. Clearly, myself and several others–like millions of other people–flipped our $h*t! Zalfie for days at a time? What more could you ask for? Apparently, a lot. As with any other channel, viewers can expect certain videos to appear on certain days; if that doesn’t happen some people get a bit upset. If it happens continuously, people get extremely upset and very vocal. In Zalfie’s case, they’ve missed posting on occasion, but they always made up for it by increasing the length of the next video. They also tell their viewers via Twitter if they are going to miss posting. They apologize and try to reassure the viewers that a video will appear soon. But, for 13-17 year olds, the average viewer age range–with some obviously being younger and older, like myself– that is not acceptable. Because, you know: As YouTube is your job, you cannot and should not miss days. Sorry, but they are not sorry about it.
Sure, being a YouTuber is their job, and if they want to keep their viewership they have to produce content, more often than not. But, unlike other jobs being in social media provides certain perks that other jobs just don’t have. It also gives the perception that those involved are never actually working, which just isn’t true. On one of Zalfie’s latest videos, there was a huge uproar about how Zoe and Alfie weren’t posting enough and they were continuously letting their viewers down. They were also saying that because they are professional YouTubers, it is their responsibility to make sure that their videos are uploaded on the designated days.
To summarize most of the comments: YouTube is their job and if they were working in any other profession they would get fired. Attending events like Vidcon or taking a vacation does not mean that they can’t post videos- there should be videos created for anticipated absences. So on and so forth.
Okay, here’s the kicker, kids. I get your point, I do. But I think you all are a bit ill-informed and don’t realize the entirety and complexity of what is involved in the life of a YouTuber. (Please, note that I am not a YouTuber, but as an adult with experience, some well-rounded knowledge and a bit of common sense, I can draw some fair conclusions).
1. Being a YouTuber involves more than just making videos. Although it started out as just a hobby, several YouTubers have now made this their sole profession. They get paid to make videos and (some of ) their revenue comes from the generated clicks on the ads, blah, blah, blah–too many specifics that I don’t want to misstate. But, with this popularity comes other opportunities. They are asked to speak at and attend certain events–many times to meet viewers like yourselves; they have meetings with companies and PR people to ensure that they get to continue doing what they do, expand their brand and remain relevant–also, so they can bring different opportunities to their viewers; they have photo shoots and interviews, and so on and so forth. All of those things are a part of being a YouTuber, aka THEIR JOB! It trips me out when people say, being at Vidcon or Digifest isn’t an excuse for not making a video because making videos is their job–but, so are those appearances. Yes, it is unfortunate that every viewer cannot attend the events and are therefore relying on the YouTuber’s weekly videos to appear as normal. & I commend every YouTuber that does both at the same time. But, you can’t automatically say that they’re being irresponsible and not working.
Example: If I usually work in an office all day and my coworkers see me on a daily basis, M-F, then every M-F they are going to expect me to be there. But, let’s say next week I have a conference out-of-town and won’t be in the office. When I return, my coworker comes to me and says: I am going to report you because I came into your office and you weren’t here; you’re not doing your job and that is unacceptable. Negative. I was doing my job, I was just doing a different part of the job in a different location. I can’t get fired for that.
2. Which brings me to my next point: YouTube cannot be equated to your everyday profession. As I stated earlier, YouTubers are paid by the number of clicks the ads get and the views that their videos generate. Therefore, if you don’t make a video, there will be no ads, and you won’t get paid. That’s not entirely how regular jobs work. If someone doesn’t go into work on any given M-F and they don’t supply a valid excuse, they get fired. If you don’t turn in your assigned paperwork, projects, etc., you will receive fair warning and then you’d get fired. YouTube doesn’t work that way. Fortunately, working in something like the internet industry allows you to do whatever you like. In a way, it’s like working for yourself and being your own boss. Sure, if they don’t make videos then they don’t make money, but the only person that it negatively effects is them. They may risk losing some of their followers, but that will be a price they’ll have to pay. The difference? They can always return to making videos when they’d like. No one can fire you from doing that.
Note: I could be wrong and certain YouTubers may have signed contracts that state that they have to make a certain number of videos in a given week or month, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have no idea as to whether or not that could be true.
3. Lastly, no one is required to do anything for you. Sure, if it weren’t for viewers like you and me there would be no famous YouTubers. Generally speaking, YouTubers upload videos for their viewers’ pleasure and they continue to create content based on the responses that they get. But, let us not forget they could very easily just stop. Much like a regular job, if you are unhappy with your performance or the performance of others you can just quit. There have been a few occasions in which I’ve heard certain people say that YouTube isn’t the same for them, they’ve been very unhappy and they may quit all together. Or, there are other instances where people have to take a break from what they’re doing because unlike a regular job, YouTube, for some people, involves being in the public eye. & with public attention comes public scrutiny.
So, I guess I said all of that to say: some of you need to just chill and possibly be a bit more understanding. Yes, YouTubers have a certain responsibility to upload; and yes, they should make sure that they are producing creative content, and frequently if they want to remain relevant. But, they don’t have to if they don’t want to. Most YouTubers, especially the original ones, began making videos because they enjoyed creating content and that was it. Some of them were fortunate enough to gain large audiences and I know that they are very appreciative of that; but, with that audience came more responsibility, more opportunities, and much more public opinion. Sometimes they don’t post videos because they are busy doing other YouTube related things, and that’s fine. Sometimes they won’t upload a video because they weren’t feeling well/didn’t look their best and could not find the energy to create a video or appear on camera. Also fine. Other times, they are on vacation, which doesn’t involve working, or simply need a break and just won’t post a video because they don’t freaking feel like it. & you know what? That is also absolutely fine. YouTube is not television and it is not Netflix. Some random stranger has decided to pick up a camera and share a portion of their lives or creativity with you. Should they be grateful that you intake that information? Yes. But you, too, should be grateful that they were nice enough to share it with you.
And that’s all I have to say about that.