Network vs. Network: A YouTube Creator’s Perspective [GUEST]

Austin Null is the creator of the YouTube channel The Nive Nulls. He and his wife, Brittany, and their new baby girl, Audriauna, make daily vlogs. To communicate directly with Austin, follow him on twitter: @thenivenulls 

YouTube is becoming one of the premiere places people visit to consume entertainment. Whether it’s an Epic Rap Battle of History or an episode of Ray William Johnson’s “Equals 3,” people are consistently watching and sharing the original content that so many YouTube partners are producing. Original YouTube content is legitimately competing with “more established” shows on TV and is on pace to take over video entertainment as a whole.

With the continual success of ordinary but determined individuals on YouTube, more people than ever are attempting to get in on the action. However, unlike the days of old when YouTube pros like Philip DeFranco, Smosh and MysteryGuitarMan started, it’s much tougher to break onto the scene and become a well-known talent. This has lead to the start of YouTube networks that help content creators grow their audience, make better content and make more money (you know, that taboo subject that every legitimate content creator is thinking about but will usually never admit).

There are many different YouTube networks (such as Machinima, Revision 3, etc.), but the “Big Three” are: Maker Studios, Fullscreen and Big Frame. These three networks are bringing in talent of all kinds, giving them tools for success, and everyone is making money in the end. However, through all of the success of these networks and the continual growth of YouTube creators making awesome content for their respective networks, I see both a possibility, and in some cases, a reality already taking place for a “creator of one network vs. creator of another network” mentality. No personal drama or bullying has lead to it. It’s “Me vs. You” simply because they’re with different networks. Let me explain.

As is common in the world of business, companies look to overtake and beat out their competitors. This same attitude will naturally apply to YouTube networks as well. However, I’ve seen cases, and many times feel a “vibe” amongst some YouTubers where content creators will look at other content creators of another network with disdain or as “lower” than themselves.

This is not how the YouTube community was designed to function. YouTube was founded with the idea that anyone can upload a video, voice their opinion and meet new people with similar interests or creative styling. YouTube thrives when the small content creators gather together and use their collective skills and audience to make something big. It thrives when YouTube “stars” find an unknown talent and help them grow their audience through a shout out. To make it on YouTube, you not only need the help of your respective network but your fellow YouTubers as well, and I believe that “your fellow YouTuber” is not defined as “only YouTubers within my network.”

I can’t point to specific, big occurrences, but I see the possibility for a shift in the way YouTubers think about one another, and I don’t like it. In the past, a YouTuber was a YouTuber. Nowadays, especially with the growing addition of many smaller channels, many people are linking up with a network and gaining a sense of pride and ownership that it’s “their” network. There is nothing wrong with being proud of the network you’ve joined. I just don’t want the YouTube community to solely become the “Fullscreen Community” or the “Big Frame Community” or the “Maker Community.”

Now don’t get me wrong–within each network there should be a sense of community. After all, a big part of being in a network is having easier access than normal to work with other YouTubers within each network. However, if people deliberately look to ignore or not work with other YouTubers of a different network even when they may be great collab partners or have similar interests, I find a problem in this.

I see the possibility for these kinds of factions moving forward with new and upcoming YouTubers. The veterans of YouTube (iJustine, Shaycarl, MysteryGuitarMan, Philip DeFranco, Smosh, etc.) are all friends who have, in some way or another, been a part of each other’s success. However, in this new era of YouTube networks, many content creators are starting out their YouTube career with Maker, Fullscreen or Big Frame. They are finding their identity as a “Partner with Maker” instead of a “YouTuber.” Again, this is awesome, but it shouldn’t be your only focus. If it is, you’ll miss so many opportunities to make connections, friendships and videos that could boost your audience.

I started making videos on YouTube a little over 2 years ago. My wife and I had been married for nearly a year and had been watching the Shaytards and thought, “They are such a fun family and have fun making videos. We should do that!” So we did. We started making vlogs, skits and prank videos and have grown a small but dedicated audience of just under 9,000 subscribers to date. Without the help of YouTubers like Shaycarl (partner with Maker) and Mr. Arturo Trejo (independent YouTube partner), we wouldn’t be where we are today. Through shout-outs, collabs and sharing our videos, by both them and other creators spanning numerous networks, we would not have been able to get to where we are as YouTubers.

Recently, we joined Fullscreen hoping to continue growing our audience, learn how to make quality content and, yes, make more money through better ad placement and sponsorship deals. We love making YouTube videos and connecting with and building our audience, and it’s our dream to one day make YouTube our full-time job. I knew that the only way, in my opinion, to make that happen was to join a network.However, just because I joined Fullscreen doesn’t mean that I’m just going to automatically have a sense of animosity towards Shaycarl, Kassem G, Kyle Mooney, Edbassmaster and many of my other favorite YouTubers that I’ve watched for years. They’re with different networks, but if given the possibility, I’d work with them in a heartbeat.My YouTube journey is probably very similar to so many other small content creators’ stories. We are all trying to chase our dreams. We all have the same desire to cultivate and interact with the amazing viewers who watch, share and comment on our videos. We all want to make videos that are entertaining and/or informative. I hope that we all, both big and small content creators, can gain from our respective networks and reach our goals. However, if in doing that we gain a sense of embitterment towards our fellow creators on other networks, I believe we will have failed miserably. After all, at the end of the day we’re all, simply, YouTubers.

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