What’s next for YouTube? Is YouTube getting worse?

I started youtube in 2013. I uploaded whatever I fancied and whatever I uploaded did quite well.
I could pick up my iPhone, point it at my face, ramble on and it be live a few minutes later. This was YouTube’s golden time. It was the advent of vloggers filming their everyday lives, and really interesting niche channels. It was fresh and exciting. Nobody older than 40 knew what YouTube was and YouTubers seemed grounded and relatable.

Since then, a lot has changed. Many YouTubers live opulent lifestyles with mansions and fast cars. They’re no longer confined to their bedrooms and several have made the successful transition to television and even the music industry. But along with these changes, they are somehow no longer so relatable. They feel that have to do ever more amazing and dramatic things to keep us hooked, when the truth is that watching a simple day trip to the seaside is the kind of relaxing and endearing content that hooked us in the first place. But they’re not entirely wrong that things needed to change. In a way, YouTube has become boring. Many viewers blame falling subscriber counts on YouTubers themselves for not uploading the same great content they used to, but the fact is that most of us have YouTube fatigue. Vlogs are no longer novel and interesting, so we watch them less. The answer is change, but not to a change to epic productions, boxing matches or filming corpses. YouTube was successful because it wasn’t mainstream TV. If it becomes like TV, then a new YouTube will emerge. Thankfully, there are constants to remind us of the old days. The likes of Techmoan, who reviews rare and forgotten music technology, and while I don’t watch his videos with the same regularity as before, I still enjoy them when I do.

Another reason why things have changed, and perhaps the biggest, is the dreaded ‘algorithm’. This all seeing, all knowing entity has the power to kill or resurrect your channel at the switch of a virtual neurone. The problem is, there’s a lot of conjecture about what it actually does and doesn’t do, what it likes and doesn’t like. It’s probably true to say that it likes videos with good engagement and long watch time. After all, they want people to stay on YouTube forever watching videos and seeing ads. The problem is, people are playing the system and cheating the algorithm, and there is a feeling that the algorithm has found the wrong “minimum”. Perhaps there are other ways to increase watch time without bombarding us with clickbait that appeals to children. If I subscribe to a channel, perhaps I do want to see their videos in my subscription feed, perhaps I want the choice of starting to watch them and deciding for myself it’s boring. The fun and quirkiness of YouTube has dwindled and I feel like I’m being manipulated into eating McDonalds every, single day.

So where is YouTube headed? My fear is that there’ll be an ultimate adpocalypse or a copyright meltdown that leads YouTube to severely penalise channels with even less than a million subscribers or to shut small channels down altogether. To some extent, this has already happened, with small YouTubers unable to monetise their videos. I wouldn’t have started my channel if I couldn’t have put ads on. As I eluded to earlier, I also fear that fashions will change so much that people not only don’t want to see someone point an iPhone at themselves, but they don’t want to see anything even remotely amateurish. Perhaps the mainstream broadcasters will takeover YouTube. I think this scares me most of all. But to end on a positive note, I secretly hope for a renaissance in independent creator content. YouTube favouring style and content over prank videos gone wrong! Gone sexual! But we’ll see.

#EndOfYouTube #FutureOfYouTube #NoMoreYouTube


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