Being an internet-dependent creator is a mixed bag these days. The whole system of gatekeepers is profoundly broken. I know that recently I wrote about wanting some sort of gatekeepers in place, in certain areas, for quality assurance. I still do, but how long did it take for YouTube to finally get around to demonetizing Logan Paul’s account? Not taking his offensive content down mind you, just making it so that he can’t profit from bad behavior. Presumably it’s all still up there, generating ad revenue for Google but not for him. Which seems like a way to punish him without actually addressing the real problem. All he needs to do is follow in the footsteps of YouTubers like P*wD**P** (I don’t want to invoking him, Beetlejuice-like, nor do I wish to have his followers around), set up a crowdfunding campaign to replace the lost ad revenue, and keep making videos.
A few days ago LGBTQ YouTubers started reporting that their channels were being demonetized. The only reason given was that they were “not advertiser friendly”. There are no terms of service violations cited, no content warnings issued, they just got cut off. The only conclusion to be reached, the only commonality, seems to be that they’re all LGBTQ creators. Which is chilling. Of course, a number of them already saw the writing on the wall and have had crowdfunding campaigns going for a while. World of Wonder even moved its new content behind a paywall on its own site, creating yet another streaming service as the offset for declining YouTube revenues.
Then we have Facebook, which does its gatekeeping with algorithms. You can’t simply follow someone, or subscribe to a page, and have it show up in your feed. Nope. They will show you what they want to show you. If you’re a creator and want your page to be seen, Facebook will happily extort money from you to allow people who have said, by liking and following you, that they want to see your posts, to actually see your posts. Maybe. If they feel like it. This is gatekeeping based not on quality of content, but by who is willing to accept this pay-to-play scheme.
Facebook groups, and most of Twitter, are just filled with vicious trolls. Just hatefulness all around, making those options practically worthless. It gets worse if you’re trying to use those spaces to promote a product, either directly or passively. Assuming, or course, that you can be seen in the algorithmic, non-chronological timelines they present to people. Gatekeepers in these spaces should be corralling the awful people, but terms of service are applied inconsistently and sometimes it seems like people filing complaints are at likely to catch a ban as the people exhibiting terrible behavior.
I have no solutions to offer. Better minds than mine, people with far more knowledge and experience with social media, haven’t cracked it yet. Until they can, all we can do is keep plugging away, hoping that our work will be seen by someone, and wait for the next opportunity to come along.