I don’t know how to “properly” describe Youtube.
For starter, Youtube annoys the shit out of “traditional” media because of no good reasons other than it exists. They are like older siblings who despise their newborn siblings, taking their parents’ attention.
But, in this age, “traditional” media are helpless without digital platforms, including Youtube. Especially Youtube. They need it to stay relevant. They are like annoying elders who talk shit about the youngsters they are dependent on.
People will refute my statement, saying that there are good reasons to hate Youtube. Things like poor content, lack of talent and quick fame and fortune. Youtube does have those traits…and so does “traditional” media.
First of all, poor content. Youtube does have mindless challenges videos, overt-reliance on slaptick, second-hand humour, screamy gamers, dramas, tasteless pranks and clickbaits. Understandbly, it’s hard to be convinced about some Youtubers’ talents. Some.
Venture deeper and you will find thoughtful vlogs, witty and off-beat humour, nicely-packaged educational videos, satires and even honest commentaries. Yes, they tend to have lesser views. But, many still manage to get over a million views per video. Talents, on some levels, are still appreciated.
“Traditional” media, even in the for-profit one, do have quality content. I love shows like Community and The Golden Girls. I enjoy reading highbrow periodicals. But, it’s undeniable that mediocrity also (and still) dominates the industry.
“Reality” shows, “educational” channels airing anything non-educational, pundits pretending to be journalists, unethical journalists, gossip columnists, imitative and skin-deep TV movies, paparazzi, shock jocks, sitcoms without humour, irresponsible coverage of extremists, inappropriate children’s shows, just to name a few.
Youtube’s young. It is still eleven years old. It having dumbed down content is understandable, albeit extremely annoying. In fact, it’s impressive how much quality videos it possesses. “Traditional” media having that flaw is more unforgivable.
Printed media is centuries old. Broadcasting media is around a century old. They have lots of time to improve themselves. But, sensibility isn’t for everyone. Up to these days, one can still find content so horrible, it makes you wonder if “traditional” media people ever finish pre-schools (pre-schoolers are smarter than them, anyway).
Second, easy fame and fortune. I have encountered various comments online about how “traditional” media are more resilient. Some use their own money to start their careers. They also have more rivals. Once again, easily debunked.
Yes, some do need to invest themselves. They do have to wait for their efforts to take off. But, once their works are published or broadcasted, they will undoubtedly get paid. That’s not the same with Youtubers.
They can immediately upload their videos. But, they are lucky if they get one view. Most of them keep making videos for years, not getting a penny, not knowing if their channels will ever take off. They don’t have viral videos. While waiting, they obviously need to make a living by having other full-time jobs.
Admittedly, a few do get instant fame. But, more of than not, their viral videos are mindlessly inept, no obvious signs of skilled video-making. In the end, those Youtubers quickly fade away, just like any other fads. If they want a Youtube career, they have to step up their game and not letting themselves judged by their viral videos.
Even if the videos are of finer quality, they still have to work harder. Their viral videos shouldn’t be their only magnum opuses. Get too comfortable and soon they’ll be another fads as well. Sad, wasted talents.
Talents. Skills. I admire “traditional” media people as well. But, I abhor the belief that every single one of them strongly have both and Youtubers have none. Again, easily debunked. (I copied and pasted that one).
In their early careers, Youtubers have to be their own hosts, actors, idea makers, camera operators, channel managers, editors, writers, thumbnail designers, special effects people, set designers, basically everything. As their channels grow, they have to become their own PR practitioners as well.
In their earliest videos, they may include other people to participate. But, they are usually either volunteering friends or relatives.
They can hire professionals, obviously. You know, the ones with actual needed skills. All they need is sufficient amount of money and leadership skills. That sounds like an easy feat, right? Right? Right?
“Traditional” media people don’t need to do that many tasks. More of than not, they are already assigned to focus on specific tasks. Not a requirement to be skilled in various disciplines (even though it is a plus point).
I also mentioned something about less rivalry in Youtube. Yeah, no. In “traditional” media, your rivals are the people who have entered or attempted to enter the industry. They’re not that visible. But, you know their exist. It’s not the same with Youtube.
Everyone who can access Youtube is a potential rival. Many started Youtube either out of boredom or the need for self-expression, no prior interest or skill in media. Never underestimate them, though. They can easily eclipse your gleaming career sooner or later.
Already-established Youtubers can possess millions of views and subscribers under their wings…and still be unknown by the majority of Youtube community. They are such a colossally-huge collective, it’s possible to be both popular and under-the-radar at the same time. It’s harder to know who your rivals are. The competition is absurdly more potent.
Actually, instant fame and fortune on Youtube is a possibility. All you need is one thing: an already-established “traditional” media career prior. With an escalator, you would have it way easier than many Youtubers.
(I acknowledge the rivalry aspect also applied to the world of blogging. But, as I’m new to it, I prefer to focus on Youtube instead).
If you think the title should be changed to “Youtube fanboy getting abusive traditional media”, I would agree with you. I admit that I am being harshly unfair against them, throwing all of their hardwork out of the window…
…Just like how people treat Youtubers. Many of us are too snobby to acknowledge their potentials, too ignorant to realise that the website’s much younger age. We are too comfortable with the olds, refusing to give the new a chance.
Notice how I type the word “traditional” with quotation marks. Well, I am one of the people who realise that everything old used to be new.
Slowly but surely, the new continues on its journey, resiliently defies the sneering from the old ones. Then, they relent, finally admitting the new one deserves a place among them. The new becomes old, slowly replacing its predecessors.
The story’s not done yet. The formerly new takes its turn as a sneerer, wishing that the new dies young…
One day, digital media in general will be regarded as “traditional”. If Youtube dies, a new website will replace it. What we consider “traditional” nowadays will be too quaint, even older people will abandon them. Even digital media cannot escape such fate.
I overuse the word “traditional” here. I was warned that such practice takes away the meanings. Well, that won’t be a problem here. Traditionalism is not that meaningful. In the end, it’s more about widespread acceptance rather than supposedly-existing intrinsic values. Don’t judge something from its societal status.
(Wait, I also overuse the word Youtube. *sighs*. Oh well).
Oh and one more thing. I am indeed a Youtube fanboy and I am not ashamed of it. I love both the excellent and horrible content of the website. I also have never created a single video.
Well, I always want to. But, not only because I’m a chronic procrastinator, I also lack the confidence. I don’t have a single experience in both video-making and performing arts. So far, my confidence only extends to analysing Youtube…
…And blogging, of course.