GloZell Green established a successful comedy career by herself and published her own book of inspirational poems called Wait! Let Me Tell You.
Bethany Mota helped turn haul videos into a marketing tool, and has launched her own clothing and accessory line.
Hank Green runs educational science videos. He also established a charity campaign with his brother that, this year, raised over $1 million.
These three successful individuals got their start by posting videos on YouTube. They used their videos to reach people and build solid communities. Last week, these three YouTube stars got a chance to interview President Barack Obama.
The President gave his State of the Union address Tuesday, so when it was announced that he would be doing an interview with YouTube stars Thursday, all parties involved got a lot of attention. I myself did not get to see the interview Thursday night, but from what I read, the content creators brought some serious and honest questions to the table. And then I saw articles like these…
None of these mention any of the really good work done by Hank, Bethany, or GloZell. As a matter of fact, they all tend to point to their most embarrassing moments. Coincidence? Probably not. Let’s take a look at some of the lines I thought were very curious…
-“There were some hard-hitting questions about drones, college education and racial profiling. But he gets those all the time. Let’s focus on the weird.”
-“Incredibly, Obama to give interviews to…”
-“It’s not clear to us how 9/11 truthers, #teens and sheeple will help the White House achieve its policy priorities.”
-“…the weirdness, the limit-pushing, the cuteness that has contributed to the questioners’ success in social media was not much in evidence.”
-“Obama encountered fairly mundane questions about current affairs — from North Korea to terrorism, to marijuana laws to police and race relations.”
Personally, I’d like to know when North Korea and terrorism became mundane. Oh, North Korea fired rockets into the ocean again? I guess it’s five o’clock somewhere. Yemen’s government just collapsed? Move it to the C block, we need to talk about New England’s deflated balls.
These are professional news outlets that generally know how to do their job right, so why did they treat this growing news source and its successful businesswomen and men as pariahs? Is YouTube really just a gathering place for the Internet’s outcasts? No. Quite the opposite, as a mater of fact.
This coverage shows that mass media outlets are terrified by YouTube’s rise in quality content and active communities.
Do I think “old media” is a dying breed? Not at all. As today’s news is actively crowd sourced through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; the need for professional news organizations with proper credentials is arguably growing. But just because I don’t think mass media outlets are dying doesn’t mean they do.
Many traditional news sites are becoming more slanted in their bias, even if it’s just by a hair. This coupled with YouTube’s growth in quality content is creating a huge amount of competition between social media sites and mass media outlets. News sites are losing viewers to YouTube at a significant rate, so they’re going to do everything they can to prop themselves up and make their competition look like the Internet’s “Island of Misfit Toys.”
What’s my point in saying all of this?
This competition between social media sites and traditional news outlets is going to go on for a long while, and there will never truly be a victor. But while they duke it out, we can be wary of the fight.
YouTube is young and definitely still has problems to work out, but that doesn’t mean people can’t use it as a legitimate informational tool. And while traditional news outlets have professionalism and credentials on their side, they’re not below a little mudslinging to try to level the playing field. Ultimately, it’s up to us as consumers to discern what is quality content and what is mud.
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