So it’s been a while since a decent “hit piece” about the YouTube community has appeared in any traditional news outlet. But as creators have become more mainstream, thousands of them have faced plenty of criticism, based on the actions of a few. So much so, that people everywhere are easily inclined to believe all the “YouTuber myths” they’ve read; about how these vloggers are dumbing down their kids while living in mansions and earning millions per month.
So with our own experience to hand, we decided to take the initiative to try and debunk a few of the rumours about YouTubers flying around; based on the kind of news headlines they most likely came from.
1. They don’t all live in massive houses.
It’s always a big story when a creator spends more than some of us might make in a lifetime on a house; but that’s because frankly, it’s a rare occurrence. Sure, there are plenty of YouTubers whose income allows for lavish (and very public) purchases, but most aren’t earning anywhere near that scale. Not only that, but even some creators who do earn enough still prefer smaller, more discreet homes.
There’s probably something to be said about the ratio between a YouTuber’s complaints about privacy violation and money spent on a home; but that’s for another article.
2. They don’t control what ads you see next to their videos.
It’s easy to point the finger at the face on the screen when you want someone to blame for questionable adverts; but unless the creator mentions the product by name in the video, chances are they have no idea what ads you’re seeing.
For the most part, ads next to YouTube videos are predetermined by your own browsing activity; Google and Adsense pick up on things you’ve looked at, searched for and even bought, then tailors ads for your preference. If your kids are seeing ads next to content they enjoy that make you uncomfortable, reconsider blaming Zoella and instead do your Googling on Incognito Mode. Or use AdBlock.
3. They aren’t earning nearly $200k per video.
Honestly, unless “YouTubers” include literally the Kardashians, it’s a mystery where this figure came from; and even most YouTubers were baffled at this number. The collective average of $187,000 that “influencers” are supposedly paid per post seems to have been calculated from a wide, wide range of examples.
Speaking from experience, your average YouTuber is more likely to receive anything from a few hundred to £10,000 for a brand deal; and this is conditional of a wide range of variables, such as a required number of social posts per campaign, or how much information needs to be shared.
4. They (probably) aren’t making your kids less intelligent.
The data on this one isn’t exactly clear, but it’s hyperbole and a half to assume a single vlogger is to blame for the “dumbing down” of a generation. Because there has always been a medium to blame for something that is really down to bad education; so YouTubers today are just under the same critical lens as television or rock music were in their prime.
Also, stories like this do a massive injustice to the wide and passionate community of BookTubers; vloggers whose whole purpose in their content is to promote reading and encourage their audiences to pick up new and challenging books. As always, you get out of YouTube what you put into it.
5. They’re probably more diverse than you think.
While it’s not untrue that most of the world’s biggest YouTubers fit in a very comfortable box of privilege, there are thousands of other creators from other backgrounds that would like a word. Not every YouTuber is destined (or obligated) to cater to the same audience; and while creators of other races might not be thriving in the same circles as the popular white ones, that doesn’t mean they aren’t succeeding amongst masses of viewers who feel they represent them more.
YouTube are making a better effort in recent years to close the gaps between diverse audiences and provide a more unified front. But the work isn’t all their responsibility; viewers should also take a bit of time to wonder if their own subscription box could do with being a bit more mixed up.
Traditional media is moving closer towards a greater understanding of the YouTube phenomenon; and admittedly, some of these headlines are at least a couple of years old. But as the lines between this still very new media outlet and the greater world of broadcasting start to blur, it would benefit everyone – creators, writers, audiences and even advertisers alike – to move past sensationalism.
Also, have you heard? We have a new book!
‘Vlogging 101: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a YouTuber’ is coming out on 10th August; and is available for preorder now. So find out more in the video below!