Typically when I do response posts, I am talking about people that i don’t particularly like. But I believe that disagreement can happen anywhere, and the thing I like about my side of the ideological fence is that we’re more often than not able to come together and really talk about things. We don’t just get into yelling matches and block people. We’re not Steve Shives (#BlockedBySteve). With that in mind, there was a video by a man whose channel I watch a lot, and he made a video where he lamented the amount of negativity on YouTube. And while I get where he’s coming from, I think he isn’t aware of just how long-running the negativity on YouTube has been. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is his video, so you can see where he’s coming from. Then we’ll talk about it.
The thing that I don’t think Rich gets is that YouTube has never really been all that different now than how it was then. Let me explain.
I have been watching YouTube nearly from its inception. Back in the days when the original personalities were getting back. There’s a reason that The Amazing Atheist is still one of my favorite YouTube channels. But for those who followed YouTube back in the day, it was not the polished, corporate sheen that it is today. It was a battleground. When I think back to 2008 YouTube, it was pwnage videos, videos ridiculing and mocking people. A YouTuber I watch now, Tommy From the Bronx, laments the passing of that tradition. If people think that modern attack videos are bad, they didn’t see some of the pwnage videos that I remember from days gone by. That stuff was so hardcore that there was a video in a charity stream where a guy pulled a gun and threatened the people in the studio with him, all of whom were plastered. There were Tubers like VenomFangX who was the target for almost unending cruelty. Granted, he brought that on himself by going out of his way to pick fights with YouTube atheists, but still. A common practice when you were an up-and-coming YouTuber was to cut your teeth on VenomFangX. The whole reason that Laci Green’s credibility in the atheist community died is because she tried and failed. He was the lowest-hanging fruit there was, and she couldn’t measure up. The atheist community laughed her offstage at that point.
However, things got a lot better, for a while. Why? Because corporate America found YouTube, and they wanted a piece of that pie. There was a piece to be found. With them came the glossy integration, a rising quality of video quality. The old school Tubers and their shitty webcam videos were becoming too passe. They lost a lot of audience. The best of the bunch had to adapt quickly. Most didn’t. Some did. Channels that were once highly respected died out, and were replaced by ones who had videos that looked great. It was a changing of the guard.
The simple reality is that the way things were couldn’t last forever. Why? Because of the rise of social justice. See, the social justice crowd figured something out – there is money to be made in victimhood. But not just in that. There is money to be made in stirring the drama pot. People watch those videos. It gets clicks. Rich says that he hates how overused the term “click-bait” is (and I agree, it is), but there is something to be said in how using a title that pimps out drama gets clicks. Tons of new Tubers have figured this out. Whether you be one of the professional victims like Anita Sarkeesian, or one of the professional shit-stirrers, like Jenny McDermott. Clicks can be mined by exploiting it.
So now the negativity is back, among names that are infinitely larger than those involved in the pwnage wars of YouTube’s early years. This is being done by names that are radically large and now have much more avid followers who are more than willing to take it upon themselves to keep the battles going. That’s what happens when you have Over 100,000 subs and you make a video ripping apart a person or some stupid thing that happened. Is it fair? No. But you can’t blame the YouTubers who made these videos. After all, when Tim Schafer got on stage and made an enormous ass out of himself with a sock puppet, do you think he didn’t get some vitriol thrown his way.
But I can hear the counter – Rich said that this is happening to people who did nothing offensive at all! That’s where we get to another thing about YouTube that hasn’t changed since its inception – the comments section. I allow anyone to comment on my videos. I don’t block or mod. But you know what I don’t do – read comment. Why? Because anyone with perspective knows that YouTube comments sections are cancer. They always have been and always will be. I looked into a video about kittens, and I saw a very lively debate about Nazis. That’s the kind of cancer we’re talking about. It doesn’t matter how even-handed you try to be, or how nice you try to be, you will still get shit thrown at you because that’s how this works. Most YouTubers learn to adapt and ignore. After all, why bother sticking your nose in somewhere that it’s going to get hurt? We learn not to.
I get what Rich wants. He wants people to be nice to each other. There’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, I can even sympathize with his position. But the reality is that the way things are now is not unlike how things were then. If you want to make content on YouTube, you adapt. If you don’t have a cancer fetish, you don’t look at Comments sections on articles. To all people who think as Rich does, you’d do well to take what I said to heart.
You’re a good guy, Rich, and I feel for ya. But you learn to adapt. It will never, ever change. I’ll close this out with a thought from Carlin.
“And that is precisely what I find so amusing – the slow circle of the drain by a once-promising species, and the sappy, ever-more desperate belief in this country that there is some sort of American dream that has merely been misplaced.” – George Carlin, Brain Droppings