I phrased it like that because I’m pretty sure I did a post about YouTube and its pros and cons a few years ago. (If you feel like hunting through my archives and you find it, go you.) Anyway, I do recall that several months back, I started thinking how much our YouTube viewing habits have changed in my family…and thinking that I should write a post about it.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, RIGHT?!
So, I do believe it’s unquestionable that YouTube has gone from being a niche market to an established force in the entertainment industry. There are literally thousands of people who actually make a decent income from filming and uploading videos to this site. Some of them are even household names. Including in my own household. White Fang introduced Muffin to legit legends such as DanTDM — who has been around since my oldest was the age my youngest is now.
Muffin has discovered plenty of his own favorites — like Unspeakable, FGTeev, and Kindly Keyin. Gaming Beaver’s videos on Jurassic World Evolution taught my kids how to play that game. The other day, even a Brianna and Preston Playz video about Minecraft had me cracking up.
Gone are the days of awkward Ryan’s World videos, worries that Muffin will want in on the Ice Bucket Challenge, and whatever the hell that thing was when people put a ton of rubberbands around a rotten watermelon until it exploded. YouTubers have found their own flows — whether they enjoy doing travel vlogs, putting a fun spin on general life things, reviewing movies, playing computer games, or making an entire channel from the POV of their dog. The platform doesn’t need to prove itself as unique or worthy of attention anymore.
And while I realized that the novelty, as such, has worn off for my family, I’m also very aware that now this platform has found a fixed place in our lives. We could do without it — but we really, really don’t want to.
A few years ago, I also started complaining about how crap TV shows were getting, and how the age of streaming services was seriously leading me to consider alternatives. Not that YT actually has formal episodes of shows (most channels don’t, at least), but it has definitely filled a previous void left by the lack of enjoyable weekly content.
It isn’t just us, either. YT is a major reason everyone sometimes randomly breaks into, “Ba-by Shark, do-do-do-do!”, and why the word “viral” is used in conversations not pertaining one bit to illness. YT absolutely helped us all get through the lockdowns without losing our sanity.
Not that it’s all fun and giggles, unfortunately. Like any industry’s celebrities, some YouTubers behave badly. (Logan Paul, anyone? UUUUUUUGH.) If I never see another video from the Spy Ninjas or Grace and Stephen Sharer, it will be too soon. And the fact that Ryan’s Toy Reviews has expanded into a literal empire of merch and even a Nick Jr show — all before the kid was 7 years old, for Lord’s sake — does not sit well with me.
But it’s a concrete fact that YouTube is here to stay.
At least for the foreseeable future.
And honestly, even with the downsides, I really hope it’s even longer than that. Content made directly by content creators establishes a bond between viewers and vloggers that simply does not exist when the media is pre-recorded and heavily edited with non-realistic effects. Scripted dialogue, even when delivered brilliantly, will always have its limits to how real people relate to it. Theatre and rehearsed performances are wonderful. But they also have their place, and their boundaries. YouTubers are actual people — your neighbors, co-workers, students, relatives. It’s why we’re so drawn to these individuals or families that look and act a lot more like us than the Hollywood elite.
It’s one of the biggest things we’d miss if the platform went away.
Although, as I just said, that isn’t in the cards anytime soon.