In the past decade, YouTube has evolved drastically. Playlist Live 2019 was a perfect example of how these changes have uniquely impacted creators. This was my first year attending Playlist Live Orlando and the weekend was swarming with creators, industry professionals and thousands of fans. The panels covered several different areas, but a theme that I saw throughout the convention was how much YouTube has changed over the past decade, and how that evolution impacts the creators who dominate the platform. My three main takeaways for how these changes affect creators are:
1. The Content Hamster Wheel
In the age of social media, there is never a shortage of new and engaging content. With more than 400 hours of content being uploaded every minute, creators are fighting to keep their fans’ attention. This constant pressure to publish new content has forced some creators to commit to a rigorous and time-draining posting schedule in the hopes of remaining relevant and popular on the platform.
On the other hand, some creators have been able to breeze by this and keep to an occasional posting schedule. For example, Jon Cozart, musician, comedian and speaker on the YouTube Honesty Hour panel only posts new videos every few months. He’s specifically found success in this posting schedule because he was able to find a niche community on YouTube who are excited by comedic singing videos. More popular YouTubers such as Shane Dawson and Liza Koshy are also able to post less frequently since their loyal fan bases remain after years of growth.
Because of YouTube’s “ad-friendly” policies and recent trend of problematic content, many creators find themselves censoring their videos to remain monetized. With this rapidly growing problem, creators are forced to alter the nature of their content to be more family-friendly.
Over the weekend, another panelist and creator Alex Wassabi spoke about how he has been unphased by this issue because his content is consistently family friendly. However, he mentioned that his friends have been increasingly reaching out to him for editing advice or collaboration opportunities due to unfortunate past demonetization experiences.
3. Creators for Good
As creators share difficult topics such as mental health and bullying with their audiences, many feel the pressure to be seen as issue “experts.”
Throughout the many panels that I attended, countless creators mentioned the daily messages they receive from fans disclosing their most personal and difficult struggles. Due to the sensitivity and complexity of some of the problems that fans disclose, creators are feeling the pressure to become experts in fields that they’re not trained in. This has led some creators to partner with nonprofit organizations that can better address their audiences’ problems.
Andy Lalwani, lifestyle and comedy creator and speaker on our very own panel, The Power of Influence: How to Use it Effectively, spoke to how his partnership with The Ad Council helps address some of his audience’s concerns. Andy is an ambassador of our Seize the Awkward campaign, which advocates for suicide prevention by addressing and normalizing awkward moments and difficult conversations. Our partnership not only provides his audience with his own personal and relatable story, but also supplies his fans with the resources they may need when dealing with a mental health crisis.
With all of these developments in mind, it will be interesting to see how YouTube continues to evolve as a platform and how the community of creators continue to be affected. Additionally, it’s our hope that our Creators for Good program continues to help creators on all platforms integrate social good into their content and can help them mitigate some of these challenges accordingly.