YouTube and YouTubers
Research Paper Instructions
Draft, Review, and Reflect:
Transcending Home Video: Rough Draft
YouTube is the most organically searched and visited website on the internet. With roughly 1.6 billion monthly visits, it is to no one's surprise that the giant media sharing outlet has transformed into a creators' livelihood; but why is YouTube still not considered a "real" career, and what does it take to make a profession in an everchanging yet saturated media sharing platform? Studies by media marketing solutions such as, GaryVaynerchuck Media, shows the hyper observance to audience retention times to trends, the authenticity of a personality, and the strive for innovation on YouTube are what makes or break a YouTuber. In order to consider YouTube as a viable and "real" career option, it is necessary to view the hardship and work of currently successful content creators, brand relations and opportunities, as well as the longevity earned from the platform.
YouTube is viewed as "easy" work, and people believe that anyone can make it on the platform with minimal hardship. There is truth in that statement because the barrier of entry for YouTube is extremely low. However, the general YouTube consumers fail to realize that a YouTuber does "A-Z" on their own; meaning, they come up with the idea, put it into writing, manage all pre-production, film the video, and do all post-production work. Even with employees, a creator is essentially their own CEO, CFO, and COO's, while doing the grunt work. Assimilating 10 million subscribers over the last 11 years, a well renowned tech reviewer, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), said:
"90 something percent but yeah... when we have an idea it goes from the script phase... to the shooting phase... to the importing all the footage and organizing it in editing phase... and I'm a part of all of that just because it's my idea so I'm trying to like... make what I envisioned and we'll have things like motion graphics and other fancy little pieces here and there that I can hand off, but yeah... 90 something percent of it is me clicking and pressing buttons..." ("Brownlee, Interview by Dietschy", 00:27:10 - 00:27:45)
Due to this direct hands-on approach, it is immensely time consuming and more tiresome than picking up a camera, shooting "something" quick and uploading it.
Drawing from these hardships and work required to make an average video, it is vastly different from the standard 9AM to 5PM workday that people praise and call a "real" job. In fact, professionals in the traditional entertainment industry, such as television series and moviemaking, agree that being a YouTuber is more demanding than what is considered a regular job, because there is far fewer helping hands along the path to YouTube success. While being questioned by a retired industry professional, Jason Nash, on their podcast VIEWS, his co-host David Dobrik highlighted few differences with his previous job as a busboy versus creating content on YouTube. Throughout the episodes of his podcast, he explains that being told to do something is much easier than doing the "whole thing" yourself from the start, while managing a proper public image. He also continuously mentions that there is never a set time to make videos, especially since you make them on your own time. Thus, comparing a job that is 9AM to 5PM to producing video on YouTube is a fallacy, because they do not operate the same way at all. Jason Nash adds to these statements throughout the episodes with supporting statements and comedically agreeing that he felt "healthier" before the YouTube stardom, because they have to work around the clock.
Additionally, to further advance a creator's career from the web-video sharing platform, they collaborate with brands and acquire sponsorships. This creates a stable stream of income, as YouTube pays based on the views on advertisements per video, which may drastically vary month to month. While Bryan Le (Ricegum) guested on the podcast Impaulsive, Logan Paul asked him about his most recent sponsorship and how much money he received from the company. After explaining that Ricegum partnered with an online-bidding company only for the money because he hadn't been too active on the platform and his revenue was taking a hit, he promptly responded, "...a six-fig check..." ("Le, Interview by Paul", 00:01:17 - 00:01:30) Logan adds that this may seem like an absurd amount of money, however, it is extremely common to receive large payouts in the entertainment industry. This type of quick brand partnerships allows creators to live without financial stress which may come from working an entry-level job and working your way up the ranks.
On the contrary, there are the "old-generation" of creators who made a career solely off of their content and without brand partnerships on videos. But even the "old" creators agree that the brand partnerships would have only helped cement their career and not damage it. In fact, they believe that it may have hindered their growth by declining sponsorships and trying to grow without proper networking. Ryan Higa and Marques Brownlee spoke on the podcast, Off The Pill, about how working without brands slowed down their growth at times and professional in "regular" disregard them despite their success. They continued to elaborate how a partnership with someone like Samsung could have legitimized their career as mainstream. Working with established brands, such as Coca-Cola or Nike, help YouTubers get the recognition they strive for and help in viewing their work as "real" work.
Not only do creators receive these advert and affiliated sponsorships, they receive an array of different opportunities that a standard career just doesn't offer. For instance, a software engineer is usually limited to opportunities tied to his field, like working on a website for an up and coming startup, and they won't be presented with a task like acting for a commercial of course. Yet a tech YouTuber could be presented with the same opportunity to build a website for the startup and star in the commercial, as they may be just as well versed in the technical department and even better in the front of the camera after years of making videos. This may seem like a false analogy; however, there are instances in which this has occurred. Linus discusses on Sara Dietschy's That Creative Life, that he used to be a sales representative and part-time technician for a company until he discovered a livelihood from YouTube. Due to this background and interest in technology, he grasped the knowledge needed to make informative tech videos for other people. As a result of his previous technical work, companies such as Intel have worked closely with him to provide the best curated experience for the end consumer. Furthermore, they even had his own videos sponsored as he has a growing community of 10 million subscribers who are interested in the same tech as him and look to him for the technical expertise needed for product testing before the purchase of a product. This is not to knock the work of traditional jobs, but to show emphasis on how YouTube does require technical skills to further the growth of your influence.
That being said, longevity after reaching a place of success through YouTube is almost a given. An individual creator needs to work off their success, just like any other career as you are climbing the ranks. Individuals that argue YouTube may provide short lived financial stability and happiness without longevity are false. Although there are more examples of YouTubers "burning" out and not sustaining their livelihood like other standard careers, (i.e. software development, sales representatives, etc.), it is their own individual doing, as they could've capitalized from the place of success like in any career. For example, Lilly Singh, better known as "Superwoman", transitioned from a YouTube career to having her own talk show. This type of opportunity was only presented after she built an empire of over 20 million loyal fans across all social media platforms.
As explained, comparing YouTube with traditional jobs and calling it a "fake" job is a fallacy that has to end. People of their chosen profession work hard regardless of being referred to as a "real" job. The media sharing platform offers almost an endless supply of opportunities, and sponsorships, as long as the creator takes initiative like Linus. Finally, the public seeing little to no longevity in the platform are proven wrong, as YouTube has been a source of income for many creators in the larger part of the last decade. Constantly changing, it is a platform that thrives of originality and likability of the person, but everyone can use it.
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