From YouTube hit to mental breakdown: Is it the community, the platform or the content creator?

Whether you frequently binge-watch YouTube or not, it may not come as a surprise that more and more content creators seem to struggle in maintaining a positive image and reputation online. Some of them acknowledge it is mainly in their minds, and some see their views and amount of subscribers fall back as negative sentiment among the community rises. The formerly very loyal group of followers may not be as dedicated and committed as it once were anymore.

Brave souls versus copycats
Back in 2007 when YouTube started to grow as a platform and creatives began to profile themselves online, it was relatively easy for creators to be original. After all, there were just a few of them and if anyone had to courage to open up about a controversial topic, they would be welcomed and admired for their bravery.

These days, it seems less simple. Since almost any topic already seems to be covered (from once to a zillion times), it has become harder to make a difference on the platform. And if you can no longer make a difference on the platform, how on earth could you make a difference to the community?

Snowball effect
As soon as there is some sense of a ‘community’ in the comment section, it seems like the response to content – whether that is positive or negative – becomes enhanced and unified. Maybe some video was never intended tot insult anyone, but if just a few people interpret the content as offensive, it will take just a few commenters to get the snowball of negative feedback rolling.

Thumbs up or down?
So one might argue that the community plays a large part in the mental well-being of content creators. But then there is the platform. YouTube. A platform that, unlike Facebook, does not only allow for people to give their thumbs up, but also to provide a thumbs down. Is it the responsibility of YouTube to find ways to block negative feedback or even moderate this?

Healthy mind, healthy visibility
Finally, some people are as bold to say that creators who are having a hard time dealing with negative feedback, just need to withdraw from the platform. The unhappier YouTubers are with themselves and their content, the more they may use their channel to vent their feelings and emotions online.

I am curious to hear your opinion. Who is responsible for our mental health online? Should the community be moderated or restricted from spreading negative sentiment? Does YouTube need to change its policy and design features to prevent creators from uploading certain content or stop the community from showing their dislikes? Or is it the creators themselves who need to take a step back when they tend to “overshare” online?


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