It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube.
I went from uploading once a week, to not touching it for a year, to uploading every day, to not touching it for a year.
I’ve always loved creating videos, vlogs especially, but hated the time and effort it takes to edit and upload them. I love filming my life, I love having a place I can chat endlessly and I love being able to test my creativity. But I hate how difficult YouTube constantly make it.
Recently, however, YouTube has become a bit of a mess if you’re a smaller creator like me. People talk about it being hard to grow on Instagram? Try YouTube. Jesus.
I decided last year, I was going to take a step back from YouTube to focus more on blog content. I was going to create content as and when I wanted, with no pressure to upload weekly. I didn’t care about the subscribers or the views, I barely made any ad revenue anyway so that was never an issue.
Then this morning, a lot of us had an email land in our inbox from YouTube.
It was the final straw for me.
“Today we are announcing changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). While our goal remains to keep the YPP open to as many channels as possible, we recognize we need more safeguards in place to protect creator revenue across the YouTube ecosystem.”
I call bullshit.
“Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Rhianna Olivia, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days.”
In other words, YouTube have randomly changed the goalposts and decided to alienate and punish their smaller creators. Because they’ve suddenly decided we aren’t “big enough” anymore.
There are so many awesome creators out there who don’t hit these new eligibility guidelines. So many that have struggled through YouTube’s algorithm changes favouring larger channels, or stopping videos from showing in sub boxes, or all the other crap they’ve done over the last few years.
All YouTube are doing with this new change is cementing the idea that the only thing that matters is numbers. If you can’t reach a certain figure, you aren’t good enough. And honestly? I’m done.
The fact that so many platforms are making it so hard for smaller creators is endlessly frustrating. People with genuine talent aren’t getting the credit and exposure they deserve. Surely, these platforms should want their smaller creators to flourish, succeed and grow? Because, at the end of the day, the more success you have on your platform, the more income you’ll make?
Feel free to tell me “you don’t make much money anyway, you’ll still have the features, what are you bitching about?” but honestly? It’s the principle. I’m so sick of YouTube making it harder and harder for anyone with less than ~the magical number~ of subscribers to succeed. I’m sick of people with genuine talent being shit on at every turn.
So, I’m done.
I personally don’t think the blogosphere is as it was a few years ago. I don’t think you NEED a YouTube channel to “succeed” online. Sure, it helps your online presence to have your fingers in as many digital pies as possible, and the way we consume media is changing – preferring shorter, more instant forms of media. I don’t think having a YouTube channel is ever going to harm a creator, but I genuinely do not think it is a necessity anymore.
I’m keeping my channel live. If any brands want me to create video content, I will. If I get some random bright idea about something that will only work in video format, I’ll do it. But otherwise? I’m done.
Who knows, maybe the goalposts will change again in the future. Maybe I’ll really miss filming and just say bugger it, I’m going to do it because I enjoy it. I can’t predict the future and neither can you. And we all know how constantly changing the online world is.
But, for now at least, fuck YouTube.