I never write blog posts like, ever… But the more I think about this the more I feel like I need to say something about it. I have been on Youtube for almost 3 years now. I have always had a passion for creating and editing videos. I made them with my friends, we would watch and share them on Mini DV tape and we’d forget about them. A couple years ago I saw someone who lived in my area on Youtube. I knew of this person from the local music scene I was involved in and friends of friends. I would watch his videos from time to time and thought to myself “Hey, I can make videos, maybe people will enjoy watching me.” and I did. I knew very little about Youtube when I started. I had a channel when I was in my early years of High school. It was filled with some clips of nonsense I had done, and a few video production class projects, but nothing to the level of what I had seen some people doing on their channels. I deleted it and started a brand new one where I would plan to post a vlog or skit every friday. I would spend the whole week trying to write what I thought were funny bits, and would record them with only myself and a tripod. It was fun and I loved having a “deadline” for my videos to be up by, it made me feel important.
From the outside people see Youtube as just a place where random people on the internet post videos, as did I. It is only once you’ve been on it for awhile that you start to realize the depth and vastness of the platform. The people that the average person knows from Youtube (Jenna Marbles, Smosh, Epic Meal Time) are the absolute rockstars of Youtube. They are what every Youtuber dreams of becoming. You see these people and as a Youtuber you think “What are they doing that I’m not?”. You start to try to learn the ins and outs of everything having to do with Youtube, posting schedules, analytics, annotations, tags, and networks. Ahh Networks thats why I originally started writing this thing.
I first remember hearing about networks from a pretty popular Youtuber that I had the pleasure of Skyping with on a couple occasions. I asked her about monetization and the partner program, and she told me “I don’t have to worry about it I’m signed to a network.” I researched networks for weeks after that. It became a goal for me, for some reason I thought “If I could just get signed to a network I’ll be a successful Youtuber.” Which in all fairness is EXACTLY what they would like you to think. I sent in applications on the daily to every Youtube network I could find, to no avail. I got exactly 0 responses. Okay, so maybe my channel was small and new. I kept creating content and learning everything I could about how people became “successful Youtubers” my subscriber count grew slowly, like very slowly, like one a week. One day I opened my inbox on Youtube and there was a message in there from one of the big 3 networks FULLSCREEN. I was ecstatic. I talked back and fourth with the talent manager, and in no time I had a contract in my inbox ready to sign me to one of the largest Youtube networks there is. I thought “This is it, this is my big break I’m finally going to be a real Youtuber.” I signed it and waited…and waited…and waited. AND NOTHING HAPPENED. It is only once I signed that I realized they are signing literally every person under the sun who is willing to give them a cut of what ever minute amount they are making. It grants you access to what is basically their social network and a sound effects library. (Big Whoop) They parade around their rockstar youtubers like “If you sign with us you can be just like them.” THEY ARE USING THEM AS BAIT! Not once have I seen any network promote their “creators” who were not already famous on Youtube.
There are really 3 categories of social network posts from networks. Some inspirational BS about Creativity and having a can do attitude, a post promoting an already famous youtubers new video/song/project, or a picture of the team doing something in the office. From a business stand point promoting your biggest asset makes sense. No one cares about creators who no one care about. These big creators make bank for these companies and they promote them because it fattens their pockets. I also understand why they sign us smaller “nobodies” because we are dumb, we think we can play in the big leagues, we are so blinded by wanting it so badly that we’ll do anything that may increase our chances of getting there. All of our pennies add up especially when you’re signing thousands of creators. Would it kill them to rotate some promotion for the smaller guys?
I put more work into Youtube and promoting my channel than I do my real job. I spend every waking hour thinking about what my next video is going to be. I have used every tip, trick, and secret that anyone be it a network or Youtube themselves has given me. Still, my last 3 videos have under 350 views and and maybe 10 comments between all 3 of them. Signing to a network has done literally nothing for me or my channel, and if at some magical point in time my hard work actually does pay off and people start watching I’m sure they will instantly take credit. I want to do what I love for the rest of my life. I want people to enjoy the stuff I work so hard on every day. I’m tired of people asking when am I going to look for a real job or a real career, especially when I feel so strongly that this is what it is. Or could it be that all of this stress is for nothing and I’m just wasting my life chasing a dream?
P.S. I know I should stay positive, and I shouldn’t be complaining, but we all need to blow off a little steam sometime.