There was a time, not too long ago, that YouTube had something called the YouTube Partners Program, and was specifically directed at helping constant YouTube contributors to earn a living at making video content. There was also a time that YouTube was very focused on news organizations. Functions like YouTube Direct were pitched to news websites, and some, like SFGate.com, actually used YouTube Direct, even if how it was used could stand to be improved.
But now, YouTube seems to be ignoring news and journalism and is headed in a direction that is at best questionable, and at worst, alarming. In switching from YouTube Partners to YouTube Creators, and focusing on those content producers that are young, white, and aspiring show producers, YouTube sends a message that its desired content producer is some silly-acting young white dude who’s 18 and with a terrible acne problem.
Moreover, this blogger signed up for the YouTube Partners meetup for Ocotber 18th, and was one of the first to do so, yet received zero feedback. Zennie62 is not a show channel, and never will be; it does news commentary and always will do that. But to not be invited to a YouTube meeting because I suddenly don’t “fit the pattern” (or complains too much) is beyond the pale – no pun intended.
On occasion the focus of commentary has even been on YouTube itself, where there has been a terrible allowance of the use of the N-word in comments. (As a momentary aside, that a black person has to point out that problem is shameful. Racism is everyone’s problem and not something any organization should be seen as feeding into.) Or on how YouTube handles, or fails to handle, controversial problems with news and copyright, as I talk about here:
YouTube’s sending a message that it doesn’t want to know your opinion, just see you act like a silly goose. There’s not even a category for “news” to find YouTubers like Zennie62 in the YouTube Partners and Creators page.
For YouTube to seem to be discouraging content producers like myself does not spell a good future for the program, and opens up a huge market for video news commentary that YouTube appears reluctant to fill. But that’s for the future – my issue now is that I feel YouTube is trying to push people like myself to the back benches because we don’t do shows, are minority, and take on news commentary.
That’s a mistake in so many ways.
First, it’s a way of silencing a person because you may disagree with their message. Second, it is playing on the edges of violation of free speech. Third, it works against the very spirit of YouTube – free expression.
There’s nothing wrong with YouTube wanting to draw more advertisers and ad dollars, but the simple fact is not everyone wants to see the antics of an orange-haired, would-be comedian. Moreover, some of the content producers who have these jillions of subscribers YouTube touts, got them because they used PC-based tools to artificially boost their subscription numbers. If you have a Mac, such programs were never made for you, and I’m one guy who’s used Macs religiously.
On YouTube, the idea of playing by “the rules” is subverted by people who use all systems and tricks to gain subscribers. By contrast, Zennie62 video views come mostly from videos found in mobile search, from YouTube pages, and from embeds to websites and blogs, and a small but active subscriber base.
Zennie62’s mission has been to show that anyone can make videos and make their news commentary part of the national or international discussion. That is classic video blogging. The kind of content production that could help YouTube in its quest to draw advertisers, because everyone wants to know what other people have to say.
It’s a better way that draws a more race and age diverse set of people. It’s much more reflective of where America is going, and much less insulting than the unbearably white and segregated direction YouTube seems bent on taking.