As one half of The Vlogbrothers, co-creator of VidCon and overall internet tastemaker, when Hank Green speaks, people listen. In the past, Green has been vocal about his thoughts on the YouTube ecosystem, breaching topics like multi-channel networks and content curation. While the majority of the time Green seems to give off positive feelings about YouTube as a whole, his most recent upload begs YouTube — the company — to step back and consider their creators.
Green explains in the above video titled “A Chat with YouTube” that the video site’s job, as a curator of content, is to allow talented creators to create and “then get out of the way.” Green goes on to address YouTube directly, saying: “This is a very unique opportunity that you have right now. It’s not about bringing television to the internet, that would be like having a radio DJ read the newspaper at the dawn of radio… You are completely misinterpreting the power of the medium if that’s what you think is interesting here.”
This sense of betrayal isn’t felt by Green alone; from the start of YouTube’s big push for more television-style viewing, creators have openly questioned where homegrown talent will exist in Google’s all-in-one entertainment ecosystem. Green expresses his concern over YouTube’s various unpopular initiatives like the recent integration of Google+ profiles: “Yeah, you’re going to want to leverage this for other Google products, I understand that. Yes, you are going to try to wedge it into boxes that look more familiar to ad agencies and Hollywood because that’s where the easy money is.”
With all of YouTube’s constant tinkering of page layouts, subscriber buttons and overall user experiences, it’s no surprise that Green — a pioneer among YouTube creators — would feel a level of frustration. So much of a creator’s life depends on YouTube as a platform; without YouTube, few creators would be able to sustain a large audience. With that inherent power YouTube has over creators’ livelihoods, it seems the Google-owned site has taken liberties with how they package and sell the site to advertisers; liberties that are not always to the benefit of creators.
Green ends the video with one last request for YouTube, one that they’ll hopefully hear: “While I don’t expect you to let it all be, I hope that you can understand that there is a business strategy there to let it be, enable and move out of the way. And I think that you will see here that this is just the beginning.”