a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  245 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Memelord in his Labyrinth

For me, this line is key:

    First, the news media — which wouldn’t understand that all that “Subscribe to PewDiePie” stuff was as much a joke as an actual endorsement — would accuse him of inspiring a mass murderer.

"Inner Youtube" as used by the author describes a place where context is necessary (the "UV sensitivity" he talks about). But the exclusivity of that context is what defines the place. If your parents were "in touch", the jokes cease to be funny, the community dilutes and the show's over. It's not just that the kids have become "UV sensitive" it's that they've become dependent on UV light to thrive.

One of the things every Youtube creator I've ever worked with has in common - and I've worked with some big names - is that no matter their level of Youtube fame, they'll gladly trade it all for a shot in the Real Machine. Subscribers and views are seen as the diluted markers of allegiance that they are- a SAG actor makes more from ten seconds as an extra than a Youtuber will make from ten million views. So they all want to rub against the real world, but they all know that if they rub too hard, they won't have that special UV coating any longer. So they're all left singing for their supper under rules that could change any moment as interpreted by popular opinion.

veen  ·  244 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I only recently realized that that desire to grow out of YouTube is not just because there's more money or fame to be had, but that it's one of the only ways to escape their own cultural irrelevancy. Some YouTubers are pretty good at reinventing themselves, but most have no way to go but down or out. They become more and more stale each day they fail at that.

kleinbl00  ·  243 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The lie at the heart of the Internet is that it allows all creators to find their audience without having to go through the tastemakers that have mediated audiences and artists since the dawn of patronage. What it does is replace humans with algorithms.

An artist like Pewdiepie is every bit the slave an artist like Amy Schumer is - the difference being Amy Schumer is interacting with humans who are making money off of her. Pewdiepie is interacting with algorithms that are constantly trained and retrained by computer scientists to optimize engagement - which is not the same thing as fandom. Unfortunately the money is rewarding the algorithms over the tastemakers and has been for long enough to fuck things up royally.

There was this awesome period where everyone was convinced Netflix was going to rule the world because the Napoleon Dynamite problem had been solved and they had all this algorithmic engagement data and it was going to help them pick the best movies and best stars because that's what everyone was watching and that's why they gave Adam Sandler a quarter billion dollars not because they're tasteless shitheels but because they know more about what you like than you do and then they made Marco Polo and then they decided that maybe it wasn't that the algorithm was straight bullshit it was because Ted Sarandos didn't trust the algorithm enough.

With the exception of Orange is the New Black and 13 Reasons Why, every series up there was originated within traditional media channels by traditional media moguls adhering to traditional media standards. Notably, a lot of those series are resting on the season-or-two they made on traditional channels and limping through the two or three seasons Netflix pasted on in a zombie-like afterlife of scuttled greatness.

Youtube stars are having to navigate this dichotomy with no experience and very little insight into what's driving the process. Youtube is not a starmaker; it's a telescope that cryptically wanders the heavens and points at some things more than others.

A telescope the stock market thinks is worth $75 billion.

elizabeth  ·  243 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really like watching John/Hank Green transitioning out of their YouTube heydays.

They were amongst the first to “make it” on the platform, and have since started so many projects (to various success levels) since.