It’s something we’ve ALL seen YouTubers tweet about; “I’m sorry there’s no video today because of [insert reason here]”. But the real question that we’ll be tackling today is whether our favourite digital friends should have to apologise the lateness or lack of content on their channel. All of us here at We The Unicorns are totally supportive of our YouTube faves, but we’ve all felt that level of disappointment when we’re promised a new video on a certain day of the week and nothing appears in our sub-box. Should they apologise for their lack of content, or should we as fans apologise for being so demanding?
If you go onto Twitter right now and type the word “sorry” into your search bar, you’ll be surprised at how often YouTubers in particular tweet out about “letting down” their fans with delayed or non-existent content. Throughout this debate piece we will be linking our own examples just so you can see how prevalent these tweets can be. For example, below is a Twitter exchange between Victoria (InTheFrow) and a fan who has been waiting “(im)patiently” for a new video, totally unaware it seems that Victoria has just moved house.
So who’s in the wrong here; Victoria for not keeping up with her YouTube channel, or her fan for not realising that Victoria is a real person with a life outside of her channel? We’ll be breaking down this debate even further below, but stay until the end and take part in the poll if you have a strong opinion!
SO WHO’S TO BLAME…
The YouTubers Themselves
Jenna Marbles promises new videos every “Wednesday/Thursday”. PewDiePie uploads videos pretty much every day. And Grace Helbig uploads as and when she feels like it. But what happens when these promises are “broken” and fans are left with no new content? It’s true that we’re not technically paying to see these videos, whereas if the TV randomly stopped working you’d be a bit more miffed, but none the less – it’s called a YouTube channel for a reason.
As content creators who make money from the videos they upload and the amount their fans are engaged, surely meeting their own self-imposed deadlines would be very important to stick to? However, should they REALLY have to apologise if their free, unlimited and totally voluntary videos don’t appear on time? For those YouTubers with millions of fans, we’re certain it must feel pretty heavy receiving thousands of messages demanding where these videos are, especially for people like Jenna Marbles who, since she started her YouTube channel six years ago, has uploaded a new video every single week without fail. If she suddenly went AFK, who should apologise for that lapse in content?
This can be taken to a more radical step when YouTubers share every waking second of their lives on social media. Even though we’ve seen them sat at home in their pj’s eating pancakes all day, were they really too busy to upload a video for their fans? There are clearly certain cases, such as Victoria’s, in which content is understandably delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, but what about vloggers such as Alfie who uploads a daily vlog every day of the week?
The Hardcore Fans
You buy their merchandise, you go to their shows and you religiously watch every single video even though you know every word already – so why do we get so angry when a video is 24 hours late?! It’s not like you’ve PAID to see them perform for five minutes on this exact day of the week, nor have creators signed a contract explicitly stating that they should put their YouTube career first or we will force them from the Internet like last weeks memes. So why the heat?!
At the end of the day, we’ve all witnessed certain fandoms on the Internet and they way they feel attached to their idols – and we’re talking about the wider scope of fandoms here, including the likes of Directioners and Beliebers. Because of the level of fascination and adoration these people feel for their idols, it makes perfect sense that they would feel cheated out of their daily/weekly/monthly dosage of shared time because they were “too busy travelling”, “moving house” or basically living their lives. Should the YouTube fan apologise for being so narrow-minded? Is it fair of us to expected YouTubers to give up their lives to feed video content into their Subscription box as and when we expect it?
The Culture Of The Internet
Okay, so the last idea is a bit meta so bare with me a little bit on this one, but what if no exact person is to blame – an environment is. We’ve been watching TV for DECADES, visiting the movies for nearly a century and reading magazines and books for lord knows how long and we’ve never had any apologises about late or no content. However, since the assimilation of the Internet into everyday life and the fact that the Girl Next Door can generate her own fanbase by posting lip sync videos from Musical.ly to the WWW, suddenly things don’t have a set schedule anymore.
With absolute fluidity and limitless possibilities, digital creators can take control of their own careers and do with it what they please. In response, they can be closer to an audience that thrives off the fact they in turn can be closer to their favourite online celebrity. However, thanks to this low bar between the entertainment industry we once knew and this crazy millennial focus tech-hub, suddenly everyone can be a critic because we’re expecting the old fashioned way of conducting business to remain the same.
Perhaps the problem isn’t between the fans and the creators themselves, but the level of accessibility between the two. Whether you love, hate or are confused by the lack of a new video, fans can immediately jump onto social media and blast their faves straight onto the lock screen of their phones. This level of “betrayal” and upset when expected content is missing is made even more drastic due to the thin filter between YouTubers and their audience – we already feel best friends with them, so why would they lie and totally not turn up at the exact time we agreed to meet every week?! It sounds silly, but it makes total sense.
But what do you think? Is there anybody to blame in this situation? Vote in the poll below and leave your longer form thoughts in the comments.