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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

YouTubers comment on careers, fame and hate

“The slogan for YouTube, I think, has always been: ‘Broadcast Yourself,’” said Leah Whetten-Goldstein, sophomore and YouTuber. “But I don’t think they had plans for people to start careers on YouTube purely based off a camera, an Internet connection and a charismatic personality.”

YouTube is weird and diverse. If you are into nitpicking popular movies, putting historical and fictional characters into rap battles or watching people pretending to have emotional breakdowns to horror video games, YouTube has space for you.

What is bizarre about this is that channels with millions of subscribers today started uploading just as a hobby.

“It was honestly just for fun, it was just a stupid show about playing video games,” said Arin Hansen of the Game Grumps in a Reddit AMA. “But when the first hundred-thousand subscribers showed up in about two days, it was like ‘oh, I guess this is a thing now.’ I honestly didn’t expect it to be a full-time thing, it was more of a side project.”

Some of you might be asking, “How do I get to make YouTube money?” First, we have to cover how making money on YouTube works with the help of UberDanger, a “League of Legends” YouTuber.

“When someone watches a video, there’s a chance that an ad will be served,” said UberDanger in another Reddit AMA.  “There are several types of ads, the highest paying being an in-stream ad (you know those annoying videos you have to skip?  Yeah). When it does, it’s because an ad agency has paid for it to be shown, then Google gets 45 (percent) of the gross revenue, and you are left with the net earning. This is then split between you and your network, depending on your contract.”

This is not including sponsorships and community fundraising from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Subbable and Patreon.

“It’s a really excellent creative medium and apparently very lucrative if you get enough subscribers,” said Alex Trout, senior psychology major. “I mean, (one of) the most successful channels is two people in Brazil who unbox toys and play with them, which sends the message that YouTube is where you can do what you want for a living, if you’re lucky.

“You have channels that were working for a year before they found any kind of subscriber base and started paying them a livable wage. It’s nice to just be able to put your work out there and see how people react to it.”

Despite this praise and the millions of subscribers that channels receive, no one really seems to understand what Internet fame really means.

“Being Internet-famous is unique because there is a huge group of people who know who you are, but an even bigger group who have no idea you exist,” said Whetten-Goldstein.

However, Internet fame does have negative side effects.

“Look at any comment section and you’ll see page after page of rage and insults that people say when they have that shield of anonymity that is far worse than any tabloid,” said Trout. “Not only that, but the criticism is immediate and you often don’t have that detachment of a seven figure paycheck.

“My greatest achievement in YouTube was having a reasonable discussion with another human being.”

Hannah Hart, host of channel MyHarto, had some advice about staying positive in the face of Internet trolls.

“Focusing on the positive isn’t always the easiest thing to do,” said Hart in a video called “Reading Mean Tweets.” “In fact, it’s a choice I make each and every day. It’s not like in a weird repressive way, but trying to find whatever shred of positivity there is, and if you look you can usually find it.”

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