Long story, but when YouTube started there were a bunch of random people on there doing a bunch of random things. It was more of a community back then. There were some more famous YouTubers, but no one was getting paid or anything.
Then I can’t remember exactly when, I think it was after Google bought YouTube they started advertising on videos and they installed the Partner Program where YouTubers would get paid a tiny amount for each video ad impression. The requirements to be a Partner were small, but not completely insignificant. Still, small fries could be Partners.
They have been scaling back the Partner Program for a while now. They keep eliminating videos and saying they aren’t “advertiser friendly” but they still play ads on them (as far as I know), but the Partner can no longer monetize them. They are proud of their big earners who earn six figures from ad revenue.
Now they just increased the requirements for YouTube Partners again, and this basically kills off all of the small YouTube channels from ever earning revenue — channels that YouTube can still profit off of mind you.
I’ve been on YouTube since about 2006, and I’ve made a tiny bit of money (which is not insignificant to me), and I’ve made a number of random videos about my life. The best part is that I’ve met a lot of really great people through YouTube. I can still do most of it if I want to…until YouTube kicks us out all together. I won’t be making any money from it any more, but it was nice to feel like I was a part of something. Now it feels like I’m not even a part of it anymore. I know YouTube doesn’t care about all of us “nothing” channels. They never really did, but it still hurts.
It hurts in the way that all things seem to be overtaken by capitalist pigs who don’t care about anything but making money. It hurts in the way that a lot of the people YouTube considers “valuable” and “worthy Partners” are assholes who engage in click-bait behavior and other stupid stuff just to get views. It hurts in the way that you try to be a part of something, and what you are able to do is NOT ENOUGH to be considered valuable — EVER!
I was never making much money from YouTube — maybe $100 every year or two, but this…this is another kick in the face. I think YouTube has been a valuable platform, but not for the stupid YouTubers who make shock videos that get 2 million views per day.
One day we will look back and remember fondly the democratization of the internet when YouTube didn’t have ads, when Facebook wasn’t interrupted by advertising every second, when Twitter wasn’t a platform for propaganda, and even when MySpace made us feel connected.
It is sad that what WE built (because where would any of those startups be without consumers…people?) is just destined for monetization and for some blip on a CEO’s chart. I suppose that’s what it all is about it and that is what it has always been about. It is just sad.
I think at the end of the day all of us want to be a part of something outside of our own brains. That’s why we come to Facebook and YouTube and Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and I know I’m forgetting at least 5000 other platforms. Humans are social creatures, and people have banked on it and will continue to do so. But there gets to be a tipping point when these platforms no longer think about what their users want and they only think about what their stockholders and CEOs want. We can see it and we can feel it. And we are watching it all unfold. Whether or not we can arrest the process and wrestle control back from extreme capitalism remains to be seen.
What I do think will happen someday, maybe not in my lifetime but who knows, is that extreme capitalism and greed will collapse. It can’t go on forever, because we can’t go on forever with it — not humans, not the planet, not anything. I’m not a Luddite by any means, but if there is no balance then there will be collapse. Extreme capitalists don’t think there will ever be an end to their reign, but someday it will come, and it might be the end of us all.
We are living in special times. We have the world at our fingertips, but…I’ll just leave it at that.
The “You” of YouTube and Others