Article By Adam. H
I don’t know ProJared, hey I’ve never watched a single video on his YouTube channel… But I do know why ProJared is losing subscribers faster than his wife is spending her alimony, and quite frankly I don’t care.
You see, I feel like we live in really weird times.
YouTube and YouTube celebrities are still a new phenomena that we don’t truly understand. I mean, I understand why YouTubers are popular, I understand why they appeal to an audience who is looking for content that matches with their hobbies and interests. The audience logs into YouTube and watches content that they can not find on traditional media. I mean, come on, which TV network is putting out a play through of an old Zelda game? Not ProJared, not any more.
YouTubers are more personable, we know who they say they are, we know their families, their life is plastered all across the internet. Usually YouTubers aren’t playing a fictitious character, they are playing a version of who they are, giving themselves over to their audience.
We don’t understand the impact YouTubers are having on their audience and vice-versa we don’t understand the impact the audience is having on content creators either. Before the heady days of online content the audience was served entertainment. Content was delivered in spite of its audience. On TV, a network had a time slot to fill and they would fill it with a show in order to sell advertisement space. On demand viewing didn’t exist and usually if you missed an episode of your favourite TV show, you missed it until it was repeated. An audience had 2 choices, either watch the show or don’t. If enough people watched the show a new series would be commissioned, if not the show would be cancelled.
There was no way to really contact the people who were making your entertainment. I couldn’t leave a comment or e-mail Joss Whedon and tell him that he was a big douche for killing off Cordelia in Angel.*
There are many different accusations that are trailing the internet regarding ProJared. I don’t want to get into his particular case, because I don’t have any facts. The only thing I will say about the internet is that people can say anything. If ProJared has broken the law, then victims should go to the Police in order for him to face trial in a court of law, rather than face a trial by the mob on the internet.
The democratisation of the internet, the ability to get in touch with content creators and ultimately have an influence also has a darker side that can manifest itself in a type of mob mentality. This can lead to content creators making cynical content in order to please and appeal to their audience, to the point where the vast majority of content is similar.
But that also happened in the good old days, scandal and outrage existed, many networks covered up a talents discretions in order for that person to keep making the network money. Many networks copied other successful shows on other networks in order to tap into what an audience wanted to see. Though cancel culture is a hot topic at the moment, it is also the only real power an audience has ever had… Watch or don’t the choice is yours.
*A side note – I didn’t think Joss Whedon was a big douche for killing Cordelia in Angel, it was the only example I could think of at the time of writing.