These are thoughts I’ve actually had in my head ever since YouTube became a legitimate platform for artists, bloggers, and so on - although a sudden increase in concerning events have brought my fingers to the keyboard, and I’ll apologize in advance in the case that this becomes a lengthy rant.
I think the most appealing part about YouTube is that anyone with a camera phone, an idea, and an internet connection can accidentally become famous, if only for a month. Anyone can think of something quirky and jot it down and maybe influence enough people to watch their channel, through crazy thumbnails or legitimately interesting concepts, and get to the front page. Everyone has a voice now. Everyone can be heard, and that’s such a great thing!
But I think it can be incredibly scary, too. It’s terrifying if you actually take the time to think about it. I mean, at first, it’s not bad. You have a small channel, you make videos in your free time and a few people watch them and enjoy them. That validation that your ideas are interesting and fun to watch, that people take their precious time to listen to what you have to say, is invigorating. The possibility that your single voice could make any change in this world is wonderful, and it’s a fantastic feeling to have.
In the beginning, it’s easy. Low expectation, low casualty if you decide to drop out. You have little to no chance of hurting people with any of your videos because your audience is so small you pretty much know what topics to avoid in order to keep the peace.
You have a hundred followers, and wow, it feels so good that ONE HUNDRED people like your work.
You have a thousand followers. A THOUSAND?! You couldn’t even have a party for them, but you are still able to keep up with most of the fan mail and the tweets. Everyone has their own lives, after all, and not everyone is focused on you.
Then you have a million.
That is one million people.
That is a huge population of people that you couldn’t possibly hope to chat with individually at one time - what an awful host/ess you’d be! Some people wouldn’t be able to see you and they’d be upset, but hopefully they would understand how impossible that is, right?
Five million people.
Six million people.
This is great but-
Seven million people.
Okay, but can I just talk to-
Eight million people.
Jesus, I can’t-
35 MILLION PEOPLE.
And you are only one.
And your hobby has become a job devoted to keeping the peace in your fandom. What used to be a fun distraction has become a tight rope of anxiety over a sea of 35 million matches below you, and there’s no possible way of knowing how to avoid each strike.
I can’t imagine that. That metaphor might be totally off base, but when I think about that many people - even a million, even a thousand, even a hundred - watching my channel and getting frustrated if I don’t upload a video or if I suddenly get a love interest or if I decided that I wanted to move on to something else.
People that could tell me that my videos are the only thing keeping them alive.
People that write about me in ways I know I’m not, thousands of times because to them, I’m a blank slate.
People that I would suddenly become responsible for, and why?
Because I decided to make a channel that a lot of people enjoyed, and that’s not bad at all! But…
Listen, I have a hard time catering to the 30 people currently subscribed to me - and I only have 10 videos up and I’m not even sure if this is the direction I want to take, even for five years of my life, because there’s that potential that I get too popular. And at first, I thought, “Wow, that’s really conceited. Why would I be the next Markiplier, Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye, Jenna Marbles, etc.? What would make my channel so special? Ashley, calm yourself down, deng.”
But that’s not the point. It’s not that I think my channel is anything special. I mean, I enjoy what I talk about and I’m still going to make things for my own reasons, but that’s not the point. It’s scary to think that, if my channel caught on and I did get popular and thousands of people enjoyed my channel that I would no longer be a person.
I would become an image on the screen.
I would be trapped in the box that you can pause and play whenever you want. And it might give you the idea that I exist for you and your entertainment. And that might make some people think that whatever I do should be a reflection of that. I can’t date because, wow, that is so r00d to the dudes and ladies in my fanbase that want some of dis. I can’t make any snide comments because it could be taken out of context and I have to write thirty apologies because I upset someone so much that they relapsed into bad behaviors. I can’t be myself anymore, because now I exist for you.
Except that I don’t.
No one does. Not Jack or his girlfriend, Wiishu, not Mark, not Felix, not Jenna, not any of them. One day, they are all going to stop making YouTube videos and fade out of the limelight. And it is really sad when I realize that they are probably going to enjoy being a memory to people instead of part of a huge family on this amazing platform that gives everyone a voice - and then somehow, has it taken away.
I mean, I could totally be off by everything and I’m just paranoid because bunches of people liking my stuff would mean a crazy commitment and I’m constantly scared of letting people down even though I really want to make a difference and change the world in positive ways.
But…If I feel this way now - with few, but meaningful, subscribers and little to no real damaging impact on my tiny community - how must it feel to be in the millions? That’s scary. Seeing comments and posts and tweets towards certain YouTubers have almost turned me away from my own channel. Almost.
Except that what got me really interested into YouTube in the first place was the family that I saw among the YouTubers. The friends that played games together and the people that made skits and sang together. It reminded me of my high school drama family, and I would love to be a part of it, and to contribute to it. There are a lot more reasons that contributed to my perseverance, but those don’t exactly contribute to the point I’m making.
That point is:
Imagine sitting in your room, on your computer.
Imagine looking at your inbox and seeing over 999+ messages.
Imagine looking at comments on your YouTube channel and being 10 pages away from the first comment 2 minutes after it’s uploaded.
Now imagine that every single one of those people are depending on you.
That’s nuts. While I know most wouldn’t exactly call that a “burden”, it’s got to be damn taxing on the soul. Especially when you’re worried that one of those people might really need you, and you might not get to them in time because, how could you? You couldn’t know. And that’s okay.
Sean McLoughlin is just a guy playing games and making people laugh.
Mark Fischbach is a dude that enjoys goofing off and making people smile.
Jenna Marbles is a a fun loving lady who loves her dogs.
Anthony Padilla likes Pokemon and joking around.
I could go on, but I think it’s getting redundant.
I’m not really sure how to wrap this up in a clear and understandable way, but I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff going on towards these people just because they are popular on YouTube and people seem to forget that, you know, they’re people. Yeah, you enjoy watching them, but gosh dang, they have their own lives. Lives that you don’t need to know about to enjoy their material and lives that may or may not directly involve your influence. And that’s okay! Because you’re still important, and you have a voice, too. Just because that specific person doesn’t hear it doesn’t mean you are any less important and it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They just…have a lot of people who want to be heard by them specifically.
Gosh, I feel like there’s more I want to say, but I don’t even think this makes much sense. <=/ Sorry about the rant, but, uhm. I guess
Imagine having 35 million people who depend on you everyday.
Now think of your favorite YouTuber and send them some good vibes (even if it’s not by directly messaging them!).
HI, I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but what's going on with Voltage lately? I took a year break from the fandom and now I see all this stuff about user agreements, having to repurchase stuff if not being logged on. What caused all this, and I think I heard they cracked down on blogs (not sure about this one), I'm so confused, what's going on with voltage?
It’s not a stupid question at all! This month has been a crazy one with regards to the Voltage fandom. This is going to be a fairly long post, so sit tight!
About a week and a half/two weeks ago, many blogs were getting strikes on their account for ‘copyright infringement’ and posts were being taken down - including fanart. Some got one strike like myself, others got two - and you probably know that if you get three, your blog is taken down. Blogs did get taken down, though I don’t know which - apparently the Japanese fandom got hit harder than us. The problem was - no one knew exactly what they were getting strikes for and initially, no one could figure out which posts were being taken down either.
@Nazhuka was regularly updating the rest of us on what was going on. In the beginning, it was thought that Voltage itself was reporting and taking content down, but some members emailed Voltage who stated that they had nothing to do with the whole fiasco, so then opinion shifted to it being an unknown fandom member going around reporting content. A couple of days later, Voltage confirmed that it was an employee of theirs who had gone around reporting content and consequently, getting blogs taken down or having strikes against them. Apparently, they had found content that was in ‘violation’ of their policies - though that still doesn’t explain why fanart or edits were taken down.
Obviously, no one was happy to hear that - especially since all of us were under the impression that we weren’t going against Voltage’s existing policies. And of course, for those who had their personal work taken down - they were especially annoyed. There was, understandably, an uproar and a few days later - Voltage announced a new set of policies, which quite frankly, did NOTHING to clear things up. We all assumed that perhaps sharing CG’s was going against their policy so for a few days - until their new policy was posted - people refrained from posting CG’s but what do you know - in the new policy - there is NOTHING stated on sharing CG’s. In fact, to be honest, their whole new policy is vague and hazy. They’re either deliberately not stating things clearly, or they need to hire a better writer who can state things point for point in clear English. Here’s their new policy post.
So, coming up to date, I’ll start with the one year issue - basically, if you are inactive on an app for a year, you will lose all your stories for good. If you want them back, you have to repurchase. Admittedly, it’s not difficult to log into an app once a month, but the issue is the principle of it. The fact that we’ve paid good money - and all those routes add up to big money - only to then find out that it’s redundant is, honestly, quite disrespectful. I understand they’re a business - and there’s a lot to consider from a financial point of view - but this was just not the way to go about it. As many have said, it’s like you’re renting their stories now.
Now the User Agreement issue. Oh boy. This is something that I can’t let slide. The one year thing - okay, I’m not a businesswoman, so maybe financially it was a decision they had to make. Fine. I don’t fully understand it and I sure as hell don’t like it, but fine. But this second issue….
Voltage have often mentioned that they’re okay with fanart/fanfics and any other creative contributions - in fact, they encourage it. Well now, that’s totally spun on its head. With the new User Agreement, essentially what they’re saying is that your creative contributions are effectively theirs.
It hasn’t been said directly in plain English - but what they’ve said is that if your work (can be anything - fanfiction/ fanart etc) somehow is in ‘violation’ with their policies (and who knows what these ‘violations’ are - they could make them up) you hand over the rights to your work over to Voltage who can do whatever they like with it. So if they decide to use it - tough luck for you, you’re getting no credit since it’s not your work.
Their policies in the first place are so unclear that trying to figure out what’s okay and what’s not is a task and half in itself. How would we know whether we’re breaking a rule with our creative work? What really, really irritates me is that Voltage is unable to set down CLEAR policies. I love how they just flew over the whole CG issue, totally disregarding it when so many of us clearly asked for their stance on that.
It’s sad because I really do enjoy their games - but Voltage could do with a little humbleness I think. I’m well aware that they put a lot of work into creating something we enjoy, and they do a great job, no doubt. But lately, it seems like they’re disrespecting their fanbase - who, at the end of the day, made them who they are. A business has a big personal relations aspect to it, and they’re doing quite badly in that department unfortunately. It’ll be interesting to see whether they revoke any of these new policies since they’re getting quite a backlash.