What's Happened to the YouTube Community Spirit ?

Something concerns me … I am not asking for anything, no recognition, no pat on the back. Over the passed few months I have been conducting some research. 

When I first started YouTube the feedback was amazing. That very first video, recorded with a little compact camera on a piece of grey cardboard. As if sharing it was not exciting enough, but imagine when I started getting comments from viewers. The feedback was amazing and I loved how there was a REAL discussion happening. Starting with that very first video, I replied to pretty much every comment. As my channel grew, it became harder to deal with how many comments I received, but still, I burned many hours engaging in the conversation.

Fast forward to today and I still pride myself in replying to people whom take part in the Geekanoids community. After all, it's the interactions that make it worthwhile. 

I am a strong believer that we can learn something new every day, so I set myself a task to try and get to know the creators that I personally watch. Over the passed six months I have been commenting on others videos, both small, large and very large channels. 

It's a real eye opener to learn that of the small channels I received approx 50% replies. Of the large channels with 100K or more subscribers this dropped to around 4%. When it comes to the very large channels of 500K or more subscribers, well, I can only recall receiving 3 or 4 replies, so I don't think this deserves a percentage. 

What to take from this? I think it leaves more questions that answers. Do all creators really care? Do they value their viewers? 

Let me know your thoughts.

Above all, know that I appreciate you and wish you an amazing day, week, year & future.

Why YouTube is not working for Content Creators

I had that "told you so" moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch.

To give you some context to what I am about to share with you, I have been a content creator on YouTube for almost nine years. Around 2-3 years ago, myself and many fellow content creators saw a shift in the way their channels were promoted. YouTube changed their game and did not communicate this effectively to the thousands of channels that were partners. For want of a better explanation, partners earn revenue from the adverts placed on their videos. Even top performing channels were hit by these changes and only those on their rise to fame seemed to be protected. 

Being what I would term as a "professional content creator" part of my daily, or at least weekly tasks is to keep an eye on my viewing figures. This includes seeing where views are coming from. When this decline in views started to happen, I noticed a shift in how little my channel was being "promoted" by the powers that be. In previous years, I would find myself featured in the "Top Ten Channels" in my particular genre. This was one of the features and promotional activities that had disappeared. Alongside this, YouTube was investing in top channels, injecting cash into their business activities to increase their production value. 

So I had analysed my own channel and moved on to checking how others were doing. I saw the same trend again and again. Reaching out to some content creators, they confirmed the same thing was happening to their views and indeed revenue. It seems the right thing to refrain from naming any of these channels here, as I would not like them to have to deal with any fallout. 

A couple of years ago, I really felt I had to talk to my viewers about the importance of pivoting. How they should change paths, look for new platforms and revenue models. Because I care so much and was aware that many of my viewers were also YouTubers, I wanted to warn them to always be on top of their games. Many of them took absolutely no notice or even argued the fact that I was the only one experiencing a drop in views. It was important for me to take action, so soon after I came across Patreon and launched my own campaign, giving loyal viewers the chance to support what I was doing and trying to achieve.

Patreon is a website/service that allows content creators to gain support from their viewers, readers or listeners. Think of it as a subscription model, whereby the creator offers various perks in exchange for a small monthly contribution. Many viewers rebuffed this model, as they were (and still are) so used to getting their content for free. Only loyal supporters realised that their favourite creators needed support to continue what they are doing.

"I had that 'told you so' moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch." 
Just today, I watched a video from one of my fellow video creators. I was so happy to read the title of the video, but also had another "told you so" moment. Toward the latter part of the video below, Linus starts to talk about the recent changes YouTube have made to their Terms of Service and the need to look at other revenue models. Citing the likes of another revenue generating platform such as Vessel.

Video Credit: LinusTechTips

As a whole, this is a very positive video from Linus, but shows that even channels with over one million subscribers cannot sit on their laurels. They have bills to pay and revenue to generate, to enable them to do what they are passionate about … sharing great content. YouTube either need to sit up and listen. They need to publish clear and concise guidelines. It is also time that they re-evaluated their own business model and offer professional creators on their platform a better deal and more opportunities for stable revenue streams. 

Jon Rettinger, President & Editorial Director of Technobuffalo adds … "This is a very scary time for content creators.  Once reliable streams of revenue are being systematically closed and replaced with a system that is taking chunks out of profits.  TechnoBuffalo is currently partnered with Discovery Communications and is grandfathered into their old Tos, so fortunately, we are not affected.   However big paradigm shifts like this are a primary reason I started the website, as an extra insulatory layer from the changes in the video space.   The best advice I can give is to hedge your bet.  Don’t rely on one single source of revenue.  Diversification, much like in the market is always to your advantage."

Now is the time for change! If you are a viewer, maybe consider supporting your favourite content creators. If you are a content creator, do not get lazy, get creative and research different ways to generate revenue. It would be a shame if we all rely on this "free model" only to find that the only free videos out there are nothing more than a toddler biting a babies finger.

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Why Wouldn't You Share Your Own Videos?

Technology changes very quickly and I remember back to when I published that first video on my YouTube channel recorded with my 4 megapixel Canon PowerShot camera. The video quality in comparison to what is possible nowadays was very poor, but the content was more than acceptable. 

 My first YouTube camera … the Canon PowerShot A80

My first YouTube camera … the Canon PowerShot A80

That was over eight years ago and the advancements in technology, during such a short time, is simply quite amazing. I experienced compact cameras that gave us 720P video, soon followed by the same small photo snappers delivering 1080P video. Conventional camcorders giving up the ability to not only record in full HD, but also in 3D. Tiny little action cameras, that one could mount to a car, surf board, your body or even your pet dog. If we fast forward to the current day, all of these wonders of technology can now dazzle our visual senses with even more detail in 4K resolution. 

Throughout my journey of creating visual content to share online, I have helped many others with questions and product recommendations. One of the most common questions, or for want of a better term, "excuses" is that many people want to create videos, but use their lack of "expensive" camera as an excuse.
Emails I receive are often like this (what follows is part of an actual email I received)… "Hello Dave, I really want to start my YouTube Channel but need an amazing camera and microphone setup. Can you suggest something around the £1,000 to £1,500 mark. Once I have saved enough money I can then start producing videos like you". 
The perceived need for the so-called "best camera" could not be further from the truth. Look at how I started … with just the family point & shoot compact camera. Also, consider how smartphone technology has also evolved, with many capturing awesome 1080P and some even managing to deliver a crisp 4K experience too. So why wouldn't you share your own videos. Now is the time to use the technology you already have in your pocket or bag and share your story. We can no longer make the excuse that we do not have a great camera, 

Throughout December, Intellicig are running a competition to give away a £200 Red Letter Day experience for two. Check out their #WhyWouldntYou campaign here.

Written in collaboration with Intellicig.