World Champions –
Thank you for the insane (in a good way) response to last night’s video. If you don’t know what I’m talking about: Of the eight videos I’d posted in April, seven had been demonetized and all had been suppressed, censored, and had likes and views vanishing in real time.
While this matters for all the obvious reasons – YouTube is my full-time job, other people depend on me, it’s massively illegal – the freedom your independent support has given me to choose what content I cover is hugely important.
What do I mean by this?
Though for myriad reasons I won’t go into details, and while my videos get hammered by YT (read: Google) pretty much across the board, it’s not like I haven’t accidentally come across certain “acceptable” topics/individuals that are consistently allowed (read: Monetized) and uncensored. For example, I can make a video out of any of the million things Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had done to humiliate herself and it will almost never be demonetized.
Why these people are “green-lit” for monetized content, so to speak, is beside the point. My point is that Google not only actively constructs your online reality without your input or awareness, but also passively influences my content by keeping me in a state of uncertainty, i.e. dependency, then providing a limited set of financial “outs” – as in, “SHIT I HAVE TO MAKE AOC VIDEOS FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH OR I WON’T MAKE RENT.” Not only does this force me to present you with a skewed reality, but it forces me to present you with Google’s skewed reality. Really think about that for a second – that’s why donations, subscriptions, merch sales etc. are so important.
The first obvious workaround is to independently sell advertising on the channel. This is something I’ve actually been working on for a while, but the hold-up is the same as it is with YT/Google – I wouldn’t be breaking free of outside influence so much as switching to a different master. I do believe having multiple, unconnected, smaller businesses (read: De-centralized) would significantly cut down on any one investor’s ability to swing content in a certain direction, and I have been with working with a number of individuals to identify brands we feel would fit into the channel synergistically – but more importantly, brands that are controlled by people worth promoting.
In the interim, this leaves recurring donations (subscriptions, my ghetto version of Patreon, whatever you want to call it), random charity, and merch and music sales as the only un-fucked-with (so far) means of supporting what I do – so I want to say again to everyone who contributed:
This is how you get good content. Better content. Accurate content. Consistent content. Shit you’ve never seen before in the best possible way; weird, crazy meme songs; increasingly-higher-quality sound and video finally starting to move in the direction of the content I’ve so far lacked the tools to make. The one gripe I don’t mind making when it comes to YT and money is this: If every subscriber gave just one single dollar per year – not per month, per year – I could permanently shut off ALL outside ads, be totally free of ANY outside influence, and within a few months build out one of the pimpin’est studios YT has ever seen.
I actually don’t need a whole lot in terms of day-to-day living. With or without YT, I’ll be fine personally. But as corny as it may sound to some, I care. I give a shit about what I’m doing. I (and many others) can see a billion different ways to make this experience better, which is precisely why I understand why Google/YT does what it does and targets what it targets. When it comes to YouTube, we’re all stuck in one giant Abilene paradox – no one really wants to be there, but we all go anyway.
So it’s moments like last night that remind me that the solution is actually quite simple, sitting right there at all our fingertips, waiting for us to get organized and do something about it. I can’t express enough how cool it is to see that kind of response from a lonely computer in a lonely office in a random corner of the world – and how thankful I am, in spite of how far there still is to go, that this is how far we’ve already come.
You – you “subscribers,” you World Champions – your influence matters a lot more than I think many of you realize.