Today I realized that it’s been over 4 months since I posted anything here on TubeGeeks and two and a half months since I’ve written any posts about online video at all! I stopped writing about online video/YouTube/Teh Interwebz cold-turkey in August after covering it pretty much every day for three and a half years, and I figured it was high time to offer up an explanation.
So what happened? To put it bluntly, I got grumpy (much like this guy). It’s not that I got burnt out exactly. I just got sick and tired of the direction I saw the industry, and the general coverage of it, headed. I wasn’t finding it fun anymore.
Let me try to explain: Back in 2010, when I first started blogging about online video, YouTube was this magical place where everyday Joes were making awesome stuff, getting discovered and making names for themselves. YouTube recognized top talent and awesome viral videos, gave popular creators and videos a spot on their homepage and, if they were really good, a highly coveted spot in their Partner Program.
A select few partners were making money through advertising rev-share but, for the most part, creators were putting their heart and soul into creating content – not for money, but because they were genuinely passionate about it. And it was this passion, and the videos that were born out of this passion, that was front-and-center when it it came to media coverage of the industry. As a result, I found myself writing a lot about hilarious, inspirational, amazing (and sometimes amazingly terrible) videos and the stories behind them.
Fast-forward to 2013: Everyone needs to make money and Google is no exception. As a result, today pretty much anyone can put ads on their videos (which is cool, ’cause creators deserve to get paid for their hard work), YouTube has invested in a slew of original channels (which is slightly less cool, ’cause for the most part they just aren’t that good), pre-roll ads (True View or not) are found on pretty much every YouTube video you click on (which is a lot less cool, ’cause…pre-roll ads) and the magic I felt when I first started covering the scene has been overtaken with a mix of commentary about how to make money on YouTube, the rise of multi-channel networks (MCNs), and a vicious cycle of YouTube rolling out new features and getting massively bitch-slapped by their users (Google+ comment integration, of course, being the most recent example of this).
YouTube seems to be less about celebrating its community of literally tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of amazingly creative and talented people than it is about garnering views and making money. Case in point: earlier this month the YouTube Music Awards – “a celebration of music honoring the artists and songs that YouTube fans have turned into global hits over the past year” – was less YouTube and more Hollywood and Billboard celeb fest. Yes, a few YouTubers got to show their stuff, including Lindsey Stirling, and a CDZA YouTube medley featuring Tay Zonday and Walk off the Earth, but they were overshadowed by performances from the likes of Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, M.I.A., Eminem, and a live short film by Lena Dunham and Spike Jonze featuring Vanessa Hudgens and music from Avicii. And rather than opting to have a popular YouTuber host the awards, the show was hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, who even mispronounced popular YouTuber DeStorm‘s name multiple times when presenting him with an award.
But enough of my rambling. To make a long story short, I just needed to take a step back for awhile, to distance myself from the coverage that was making me grumpy and get back in the online video-loving mindset I was in back in the days where industry coverage was focused more on creativity and less on business, money, gossip and the rumor mill.
The creativity in online video isn’t dead. In fact, it’s more alive than ever, and I intend to cover the industry in a way that emphasizes this creativity and the amazing people behind it. You can expect interviews with people that are doing awesome stuff; tips, guides and intros to tools that can help you create better video content; must-see videos and trending video memes; and yes, a little bit of the business, money and gossip too – but expect it to come with a healthy dose of analysis about why the news matters to you as a creator.
I’m excited to get back into the swing of things and would love to hear your thoughts – what type of content would you most be interested in seeing? Do you have a piece you’d like to contribute? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.