The Internet

YouTube, Monetisation, Censorship and Common sense.

A lot has been happening on the internet since the end of 2017. Zoella had her calendar, Logan Paul made the Japan video and Alfie Deyes has joined the group with his £1 in a day video. All of which has caused an uproar and all of the YouTube stars have now apologised. But, is it really enough? We also need to ask ourselves why it’s happening and how we stop it.

The internet is great at creating celebrities, because of the freedom it enables

The internet is a  factory, just look at its history – Justin Bieber, Lily Allen, Zoella, Dude Perfect, Bo Burnham, and many many more. Some more famous than others, but mostly they’ve all become famous from the internet.

Some of the celebrities have been more like one-hit wonders, Psy, for example, had his limelight but has since effectively disappeared. Others have come world-famous millionaire, hidden away from the world in their own little internet bubble. 

Alfie Deyes YouTube video slammed by the press in a Google search.

This might be where we’re losing some common sense

The bubble that YouTube has created for itself is taking major creators from small-time creators to major megastars with millions of followers, without giving them any form of support or training and expecting them to exist with this new found fame. YouTube essentially just wants to make money from the bubble. 

The bubble now inhabited by these megastars, cut off from reality, are constantly trying to come up with inventive new ways of getting more money from their audience. Most have settled for merch, some make events and all make new videos, pushing the boundaries further and further. This pushing to new heights is creatively challenging for anyone, especially if you are a lone content creator, and with no channel or agent to advise on what you are doing you lose your sensibility filter. 

Which swiftly brings us into monetisation

To try and help battle the above issue, with the creators pushing new boundaries, YouTube set up their creator program – an “elite” club made up of the best, most popular creators. This included most of the above, along with some old-time favourites, but even that has come with its own problems. 

When money became involved in YouTube and it became a full time job for its creators, the game changed. A lot now rides on these people making videos and it’s leading to what I would consider forced creation. No one is thinking when making videos, they are just pumping things out whenever they can.

We’ve got loads of daily vlogs, all vying for attention and any five minute idea – poorly thought through – up on the homepage which is leading to bad ideas leaking out and getting media coverage, making it look like this YouTube thing is a bad idea. We are also seeing the videos get longer so creators can make more – a 15 minute video is good to have five adverts in it. 

Creativity, money and rushing videos brings us onto censorship.

Self-censorship is becoming a forced thing on YouTube, alongside the earning revenue part of creating a video on the site, this again is stopping creators from being who they really are. The recent change to the monetisation rules, the new algorithm and this family friendly kick that Google’s going on is turning a mass of its creators away, a lot of the people I watch are now going to Twitch instead.

In order to stop it, YouTube needs to have a long hard look at itself and think about everything that it’s doing to help, nurture, and grow celebrities on its platform.  But it isn’t just up to YouTube. 

Everyone is to blame, not just YouTube.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility when going on the internet, not just YouTube. This is what I think we need to do as a collective:

Content creators need to stop rushing to make videos on YouTube, they need to take a step back from every idea and think. A bit of common sense will see the incidents like Living on £1 for a day or the Japenese suicide forest. 

YouTube need to be more open to things, a lot of creators I watch swear. I have no problem with bad language or rude jokes, but this family friendly kick is harming the natural flow of some videos – with creators forcing themselves to act a certain way. My advice would be to rip apart their current monetisation guidelines and start again, incorporating a rating system from U > 18+ and give proper warnings and date of birth verification. There also needs to be better support for content creators, instead of just shoving them into popularity. 

ASA and regulators need to stop using regulations and laws that clearly aren’t working and need to unify for a global authorised body, along with Ofcom to make sure new creators, production companies and sites like YouTube (which in my opinion are TV channels), are following correct laws. Instead of immediately fining or accusing, this new body needs to teach, guide and help. 

Viewers, you and I, need to think more about what we find acceptable from a content creator. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and when it is, we need to understand that sometimes a sorry just doesn’t cut it.

The future is YouTube, and other internet TV stations

Internet TV stations, such as YouTube, aren’t going away and we need to be ready for that. New laws need to be put in place, mentoring, and black and white blame structures put in place to make sure everyone knows what is bad and what is good. 

There can be no ifs, buts, or maybes.