A failed attempt with too much time to introspect about self and other trivialities.
A Shift in Perspective
The subject of social media, implicitly YouTube and Twitch among others have undoubtedly modified the job market and I will dare to say the world itself. They encompass so much of daily life that it is difficult to say what area they influence most. The correlation between the job market and YouTube/Twitch became a viability when the companies noticed a surge of traffic on their respective sites due to certain individuals managing to grasp attention through their content. Initially, no one paid much attention outside of just watching and simply enjoying the content provided, allowing the platform to basically benchmark the platforms and observe ways through which they could improve and grow. It was with the advent of monetization that the platforms were taken more serious by the populace, shifting from a hobby-ist type video-broadcasting platform into an opportunity that many would turn into a career.
Millions of Windows
The companies owning the aforementioned platforms continued growing throughout the years as more individuals, particularly teenagers and even some young adults going all the way up to middle-age would jump on to relax watching their favorite YouTubers/Streamers as they would eventually be named. The ones broadcasting basically grew with the platforms, becoming a visual bookmark for people to remember to return to the websites and continue consuming content. Monetization was the perfect incentive for those creating content to continue producing and posting to their hearts content, giving them all the power of judgement regarding their own work. The allure of transforming a passion into an activity that would provide income had caused many of the content creators to withdraw from any formal form of schooling in order to pursue content production as a career, risking a possible future in the process. They connected millions of youngsters along the years, becoming self-made celebrities that society would mock despite the fact of the truth which many found it difficult to accept. Despite becoming beacons of hope and relief for many of those watching, the value that content creators had for the companies they worked into was of human billboards, but nonetheless this was of little importance for the creators. The partnership between the two parties was more or less one of exploitation and even if this sounds controversial, I believe it to be true. Each party saw an opportunity in using the other for its own gain but due to the fact of dependency, the partnership managed to yield results for each party involved. The system grew increasingly functional as every new content creator jumping aboard created a new window through which the companies could sell and grow, amassing a great deal of wealth and influence from the world of internet entertainment. In spite of seemingly living the dream, content creators were suddenly in a position of leadership, turning themselves into a one man company, doing everything from production to advertisement and engagement, a reality that not many handled well. A new era was born and these new, "one man companies" were at the helm, enticing people every day to either watch or do as they were, inspired by what seemed to be a life of freedom and fulfillment topped with financial gain that surpassed expectations for many.
New Possibilities New Problems
The audience of the initial content creators happened to be young children and teenagers going up to young adults, which signified a high amount of easily influenced eyes being set on their content a majority of the time. Having this activity as a job imposed a different set of expectations compared to the average job which typically required the individual to perform a certain task each day for a certain amount of time and that is it, just rinse and repeat. Compared to such a relatively monotonous process, creating content was far more demanding as each day a different subject was tackled to completion, yielding an undoubtedly hectic flow of work, especially for the first generation of creators. Improvisation and imagination were the main tools used to birth the content presented to the viewers. The age of someone who would this job in the beginning was very close to that of the ones watching, meaning that the responsibility resting on their shoulders was quite high especially since their future was starting to depend on this newfound future. The issue of stress, mental fatigue and burn-out would soon creep up on these young minds who were possibly not fully capable of understanding how to deal with such issues and so many would overwork themselves in order to provide what was expected of them. This job was so simple yet intricate enough to make it much more than your average job due to the requirements of having to learn a multitude of other disciplines in order to provide better content with every upload or stream. Beginning with camera work, to editing all the way to acting lessons, new skills were necessary in order for the content to keep the viewer watching and due to this, the requirements for quality had grown to levels that were inches away from professional productions.
Mastering the Flow
As this natural flow of progress took its course, the companies grew and began imposing rules and regulations, albeit not always desirable, turning the platforms in a field where the quality of the content decided if your content was worthy of attention. Freedom comes with a cost and having the possibility to be yourself and build a company, a brand and a community around your personality and ultimately you, would bring about issues regarding privacy and public image among others. Getting attention was and probably remains the name of the game because as long as you received attention then you would manage to turn that attention into income and thus a very competitive field would catch root. Unlike the average job, turning yourself into a money making machine wouldn't be as feasible, especially when the number of people watching was going down, as more people began doing it themselves, and in short, everyone wanted some attention but very few managed to actually get it. Many viewers were still loyal to those who ignited the flame of this New-Age Renaissance, pushing the bar higher, becoming better and in return, making the job of newcomers harder. In spite of this fact, no one could be accused of the lack of success of another, especially in a field where luck and insight decided if someone was worthy of a position that deserves attention from those willing to give it. All in all, the industry continues to grow as more people engage in producing and/or supporting the industry by watching those that still strive to entertain for the sake of expression and monetary compensation.
The Digital Renaissance
Having spoken about the socio-organisational aspect of this partnership, I believe it is time to emphasize on the type of work YouTubers/Streamers were actually doing in order to entice the attention of millions. The name Content Creator is an umbrella term that has been created in order to encompass the incredibly diverse array of activities contained within a produced video. Simple at first, the content depicted in the videos was comprised of video games, skits, pets and pranks but this would soon change as content was limited simply because people hadn't yet caught glimpse of the full potential of said platforms. Anything could be made into entertainment if presented in the proper light and thus the possibilities were boundless for what a video could contain. This type of freedom gave creators the key to a world without bounds that permitted them to express themselves and their perspective in a unique and relatable fashion. Those seeking a voice finally had a loophole through which they could jump and be seen by people around the world, without the need for outside assistance. Self-expression had become the main driving force behind the overgrowing quantity of content being released and despite there being other reasons that were less than wholesome, what mattered was the end result and its capacity to ensnare the eyes of watchers. What was created was art, regardless of subject and form, that would then be displayed for the world to see in an increasingly heightened level of quality. The revolution of social media had given human expression the chance to grow and inspire others to follow suit and pursue the act of creating for the sake of expression.
© 2020 Bogdan L