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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

And This is Why I Never Advertise (and Other Stuff)

In the almost nine years I've been producing content on YouTube, not once have I ever asked anybody to subscribe to my channel. Never. In fact, I don't even go around procalating or advertising my channel in general, unless somebody expresses interest and asks about it - otherwise, I just stay quiet and let people find it on their own.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk to me about advertising and ask what I do about it. What people don't seem to realize is that advertising does nothing but make enemies for yourself: I learned that the hard way in the days before I even began creating original content for the web - when you advertise what you're working on, all it does is tick people off at you, because they see it as nothing more than shameless, desperate cries for attention, and thus are actually less likely to look at your work . . . and if they do, it's usually just to troll and tell you how much it sucks.

Unfortunately, when you don't advertise, you're really not getting much notice, and as a small channel on YouTube, that can be problematic - especially when YouTube itself just loves to hawk these bigger channels, and in the process, sweeps the smaller channels under the rug. In fact, YouTube has not-so-subtly been reserving more and more special features for bigger channels with thousands and millions of subscribers. Sure, small channels can access certain features like being able to upload videos longer than fifteen minutes, and using custom thumbnails - both of which are wonderful and helpful (even though it took me a year just to get YouTube to send me a verification code to unlock them) . . . but certain other features are unavailable to you unless you have an insane amount of subscribers (like a 100,000 minimum). For example: YouTube had formally announced that they were retiring tags a year or two ago, but apparently it was only for small channels, because apparently bigger channels have been unaffected by this (because in speaking with different owners of bigger channels, apparently tags still work for them) and don't even realize it. Also, notice how whenever you log into YouTube, the first thing you never see are the channels you're actually subscribed to, but rather, what trending videos YouTube wants you to watch. The bottom line is that if you have a small channel on YouTube, you're basically screwed.

So, when the opportunity arose to speak out about this issue, the end results were explosive. A big YouTube celebrity, Casey Neistat, had announced he was ending his daily vlog, and it apparently was such big, earth-shattering news that almost all of the internet exploded over it. It, apparently, was a really, really big deal. Why? Because Casey Neistat is a really, really big YouTube celebrity. How did he get to be a big, YouTube celebrity? Because all he does is just talk about his life. That's it. Come to think of it, this is apparently how a lot of YouTubers end up becoming big celebrities, by just sitting around and talking about random stuff. YouTube has become a sea of people just sitting around and talking about themselves. Who knew YouTube became NarcissismTube? But anyway, the main reason Casey Neistat's retirement was such an explosive news story was because he has a following of over 6,000,000 subscribers. That's all well and good, but what does this say about the smaller channels out there who are struggling to even be noticed? You think the earth would shatter if Tim Kelly announced he wasn't going to do anymore ZOOK & MAX? You think the world would end if Thomas Ferranti decided to give up any of his multi talents like voice acting, character acting, singing, and orchestrating? Julio Robles is planning on a SCRAPSTV reboot, and I don't see this trending on social media.

Since Casey Neistat's retirement was exploding all over social media, I decided to take an opportunity and address this very issue of the struggles of smaller channels on YouTube, the smaller channels that are swept under the rug, the smaller channels that are never seen, the smaller channels that are never given a chance. That turned out to be a mistake. While a few people actually understood the point I was trying to make, other people flipped out, you would have thought I was advertising my own channel . . . and some people actually thought I was, and sure enough, some of those people went out of their way to seek out my channel to attack it. See now why I don't advertise? But here's the thing: in trying to raise awareness of an actual issue on YouTube, a large number of backlashers saw this as a shameless and desperate cry for attention . . . and not once did I ever tell people to look at my channel, and not once did I ever tell people to even subscribe to my channel. Why? Because I don't advertise, because when you advertise, crap like this happens. Some people were even accusing me of accusing Casey Neistat of stealing subscribers away from me (uh . . . what?), which is absurd.

But still, the point remains: why is it that people like Casey Neistat, and others get posturing by YouTube simply for talking about random things going on in their life? In fact, why is it that YouTube has become about trends? Vlogs, reviews, people just talking about nothing . . . I mean, if this is all it takes to be on YouTube, then what's the point of amateur and independent animators, artists, cartoonists, filmmakers, producers, storytellers, and yes even puppeteers, to even bother trying to share any of what they create with other people on a platform that seemingly only caters to people who sit around giving out promiscuious relationship advice, or reviewing why a certain movie sucked, or talking about who they voted for and why you should too? Wasn't YouTube supposed to be an outlet for creative people to share their art and creativity with the world that would otherwise hide it under a bushel? Oh yeah, that was before it was sold to Google, I forgot. There's no room for anything like that on YouTube. But even so, what's so fascinating about talking about your everyday life and having millions of people listen? Are some people's mere existence just so spectacular that it must be shared with the entire world? I guarantee you if I talked about my life everyday, not only would nobody be interested, I'd bore myself.

And you know what's ironic? Why is it also that big channels always beg for subscribers? Getting back to Casey Neistat again, he once did a video begging people to subscribe to he can reach 3,000,000. Dude, you've already got millions and millions of subscribers as it is, why do you have to make a big spectacle about needing even more? And all of these other big YouTubers: how many of their videos always end with them squealing, "Please-please-please subscribe!!! I need more subscribers! Please subscribe! Please subscribe!" Gosh, it's like rich people: they always want more money when they've already got more money than they know what to do with! In a sense, you could actually argue that I at least have something bigger YouTube channels lack: integrity. Because, once again, I never beg, or even ask for subscribers.

But that does beg the question: why is it that advertising actually works for some people, but not for others? Big YouTubers constantly beg for more subscribers and get them; small YouTubers try to earn new subscribers and make enemies in the process. What gives?

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