“I order BLIND stuff for my daughter” is a video suggestion from Youtube when I open the home page. I have never watched BibisBeautyPalace, yet this video is suggested to me by her. The homepage is also overflowing with content that looks absolutely the same, with exaggerated thumbnails and dramatic titles. What ever happened to good old Youtube from 2010?
Over the years, the video platform has naturally evolved, grown and changed. Whether this development and change is positive or negative is up to everyone.
Since 2010, the dimension in which Youtube moves and operates has grown enormously. While a four-digit number of subscribers seemed an incredible amount back then, 1000 subscribers are practically nothing today. Even positive criticism is becoming increasingly irrelevant and commonplace. It’s all a consequence of Youtube’s development.
According to former Youtuber Mirko Muhshoff, this is a phenomenon that can now be observed on Youtube. From a certain number of subscribers, it becomes arbitrary, is no longer special. Back then, people were happy about every new subscriber, today it becomes irrelevant at some point, whether it’s 10,000 or 10,500. This makes Youtube and the production of videos somehow boring, which in turn makes the content more and more monotonous.
On the other hand, Youtube is becoming more and more professional.
Back then: cheap webcam, no extra lighting and poor sound quality.
Today: super professional equipment, studio and management.
In contrast to today, Youtube seems like a naive system in 2010. People “fought” for the platform to be accepted and respected by the established media (print, broadcast, etc.) as a serious medium. For a long time, after it went mainstream, Youtube was seen as the replacement for television.
However, from today’s perspective, turning the video platform into a mainstream medium may not have been beneficial.
But one thing hasn’t changed since 2010. Users are still grumbling. Back then about the fact that Youtube didn’t get any recognition, and today because, as it is, it’s not good either. Over the years, the level of videos displayed on the home page has gone down significantly. Intelligent experiments, or similar, disappear under the surface.
“If anything becomes too well known, then it becomes stupid” Mirko Muhshoff
One could almost think that the mainstream has ruined Youtube. On certain levels, that may even be true. For example, in 2010, the cult of personality around YouTube was focused on the videos and their content.
In 2020, however, it’s all about the attitude towards life that the Youtuber creates and wants to convey (what great apartment he can now afford, the new car, etc.). Today, Youtubers are celebrated like national superstars, young people look up to them as a result of idolization.
But it’s not just the big, nationally known, Youtubers who rely on exaggeration and over-dramatization. A majority of the smaller channels also rely on clickbaiting. Most up-and-coming Youtubers are becoming more and more alike, and the content is always the same. For example, the vlogger, who is still relatively small, undertakes a trip to Europe. At some point during this trip, a pane of glass breaks for a trivial reason. The image of the broken pane then becomes a dramatic thumbnail for a vlog with an overdramatized title. This is how you get other users to watch the video sooner. Because “You won’t believe what happened” sounds much better than “My trip to Europe from 2.3.-4.4. 2020″…
September 2011: The first hail of criticism from Youtubers against the Mediakraft channel and the platform itself. Mediakraft, as the channel was called, was said to be only out to make money and to be “commercially horny”. All the things that caused criticism at the time, that people were upset about, are now part of everyday life.
But who is to blame for the crash of the most popular video platform?
The platform itself? The video producers? The users, the audience?
So do you have to force people to watch something sophisticated? This would confront them with approaches that BibisBeautyPalace or ApoRed would never dare to take.
Back then: You looked at what came along, the selection was comparatively small.
Today: One has the free choice.
But these choices don’t lead to higher quality programming.
“I think sometimes you have to force people to watch more difficult stuff, because you don’t do that when you have a choice”
With today’s YouTube, you won’t be able to expand your own horizons.
The experimentation phase of the video platform is over, you have found the ecological best way. Irrelevant is what is left behind on this way!