A lot of videos on YouTube have been made with the aim of getting as many eyes on them as possible. Seriously, a lot. But of course, some creators will make a video that’s just meant for their audience. Yet throughout the site’s whole evolution of promoting certain uploads – from Featured, to Spotlight, to Trending – the wrong videos appearing in front of the wrong audience has been a constant problem.
Yesterday, artist and vlogger Jamie Jo shared her experience of having a Q&A video appear on YouTube’s “prestigious” Trending feed. Intended to be a “get to know me” video for her 300,000-subscriber milestone, Jamie’s video ended up in front of the greater YouTube audience – many of whom weren’t welcoming.
Watch Jamie’s reaction to her Trending video below.
Jamie admits that she confidently brushed off any extra hate comments, or accusations of paying to be featured; but that her real problem was YouTube’s decision to feature her video in the first place, without any dialogue on how to remove it. Especially in a climate where the site is still under fire for not pushing creators’ uploads to their subscribers’ feeds.
“[The video] was a celebration between my viewers and myself,” claims Jamie. “And it wasn’t sent out to my viewers; it was sent out to people who weren’t my viewers”.
“I don’t want that video to go out to the general public. I don’t want everyone to see it; I want you guys to see it”.
At present, it’s not clear where the human factor lies in deciding what goes on the Trending page.
YouTube’s official guide to the feed cryptically states “We don’t talk about the exact details of the algorithm to prevent abuse of our systems”, but that it considers growing view counts and “many other signals”. However, there currently seems to be no clear way for a creator to directly contact YouTube to have their video removed from the page.
YouTubers have accepted for years that being featured on a wider part of the site will always be a double-edged sword; but without the human element to contribute, especially in a larger and increasingly polarised online community, creators are often left to fend for themselves against a floodgate of unprecedented abuse.
In early days, selecting Featured Videos was the job of an editor at YouTube; but following the boom in online video, using algorithms has become the only sensible, realistic approach to content curation. However, if there is still a human at the other end of the Trending feed, it would be beneficial for creators to have some form of contact; especially if the platform has any interest in not alienating its creators any further than it already has.