Being raised in the age of social media has a way of ruining people.
I use the word ruining (for lack of a better word) loosely. Depending on the person you talk to, and the generation you’re speaking on this subject with. Regardless it seems as if everyone has an opinion on millennial, and generation z. The two generations that compose the world’s current, and future leaders, doctors, lawyers (you get the idea) but I’m part of a unique hybrid group that is right in the middle of being considered too young for a millennial, and too old to be generation z.
Being that I had a “normal” childhood without social media, it allows me to keep my head out of my own ass. I realize that social media isn’t real life, and the entire world isn’t about me. Which is a thing I see some of generation z struggle with, and for a good reason. I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I’m not enough for the age of social media. Maybe I’m not made for this. I’m not going to film dead bodies hanging from trees to get a reaction… that’s not me.
It has become much harder to build an audience on social media. Social media giants changing their algorithm what seems like every other week. Making it nearly impossible for your work to be seen, and you can easily fall through the cracks. Platforms like YouTube making it much harder for smaller content creators to grow, because they blatantly prefer their cash cows. YouTube will purposely not send notifications to subscribers, unsubscribe people from channels, and suggest videos from larger (already established) channels.
In addition to recent changes to their partner program, a lot of smaller channels are no longer able to be monetized. It seems as if platforms like Instagram, and YouTube only care about creators that are already making them millions. They make it extremely clear that if you’re a smaller content creator, you can get bent. You aren’t valuable to them, and you never will be unless you can generate a lot of traffic. Since these two platforms are constantly changing the landscape, it’s damn near impossible.
This harder to grow a platform environment starts to get into dangerous territory. How far are people willing to go in order to generate a lot of traffic? Are they willing to sexually harass people in public (ala Sam Pepper, who I might add never recovered from his dumbassery) or film deceased bodies in a different country, while simultaneously making a mockery of said countries culture? (aka Logan Paul, who somehow has still managed to be in people’s good graces, seeing as he still has a career) I’m honestly convinced that I might need to commit arson to start seeing some growth on my YouTube channel.
I’ve talked about this before on my YouTube channel:
Since I’m mainly in the beauty community, it’s almost unfeasible to grow your audience in that section of YouTube. Brands only want to feature, and give sponsorships to creators that have large audiences. The beauty community is one the ugliest places to be in. I hate when bigger beauty influencers say that “there’s room for all of us” because clearly there isn’t. Otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing the same 10 people being featured on Instagram.
I’m not knocking the hustle, but bigger beauty influencers only ever shout out influencers with the similar audience size. I hardly ever see bigger beauty YouTubers/Instagrams show love to smaller channels. I think it all boils down to wanting to sift out the competition. You can’t have competition if you (un) knowingly contribute to the stifling of smaller beauty influencers. The less these bigger beauty influencers have to worry about smaller beauty influencers the better the landscape looks for them.
Honestly, for a lot of brands… you’re just a number to them. If you don’t have certain numbers before the “k” you really aren’t shit to brands, or other beauty influencers. Beauty influencers now feel the need to act, and be outrageous. Tabloid style “tea spilling” videos now garnering the most views, which leads to unnecessary drama being started within the community. Screeching like a bat on questionable substances, or playing into stereotypes are what attracts an audience.
I’m not putting the entire blame on the creators. I constantly see comments on different instagram pages stating that they always see the same beauty influencers, but people need to go out of their way to get smaller beauty influencers off the ground. Comment on smaller channels videos, give them a like, share their content on your social media. You can’t complain about the large discrepancies between bigger, and smaller beauty bloggers. While concurrently doing nothing to lessen the gap between smaller, and larger influencers.
I’m not angry that my channel, and blog is smaller. I appreciate that I have an audience AT ALL. I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years. I don’t make any money I haven’t seen a single fruit from my labor regarding this aspect of my life. If I had been solely motivated by money… I would have quit a long time ago. I’d like to be able to have a career based solely on blogging/social media… but at this point who knows when that will happen.
I’m not hating on larger beauty influencers, because there’s the possibility that my channel will grow into something beyond my comprehension. It’s frustrating to me that I feel like I started this way too late. I know that feelings are temporary, and they only have as much power as I give them, but it doesn’t make them any less valid. I know I’m not the only small creator feeling this way, feeling that maybe I’m not enough in the age of social media.
All I can do is work, and wait. The rest will unfold itself, all will come in due time.