The Myth of YouTube

I was in a discussion about myths in the media recently and thought I’d share one of the myths I was thinking about….

This of course is The Myth of YouTube! The Myth that putting your face on YouTube with a clever video = instant fame is still quite a popular myth. Sure people see you making a fool of yourself, doing something clever, or even answering political questions. However, the fame part is where it get’s tricky. To make my point, I’ll use a simple analogy; getting a good video on YouTube is similar to getting a good clip of yourself in the paper or on the morning news. Both result in you being “seen” by a lot of people. Both get seen by a lot more people (via syndication & word of mouth in both cases of YouTube & other media) if your clip is in any way engaging. Both can even get you a few phone calls from the press, family, or even friends. compared to fame though, it is far from similar. Well, unless you actively work to become famous (and have other people actively working to make you famous). The one million people forget who you are as time passes. The syndication of your clip disapears faster than it started. Of course the money that fame commands for publicity engagements never shows up.

This is all despite what is said about people who started their careers on youtube and other video blogs. People like ABC’s Amanda Congden or The Mentos & Coke guys. Add to these stars the fact that we are now seeing traditional entertainment & information material being posted on youtube such as presidential debates, big production music videos (which take up most of the “top” spots on youtube – perhaps one could argue youtube is the MTV replacement), or weekly comedy skits. These are not your average videos though. In almost every case they people behind the scenes had to work just as hard or harder to make their fame happen. The comedy actors? Professionally trained, or just as unprofessionally trained as the rest of the famous ones. The Coke & Mentos guys? Professionally trained & calculated to launch their career on YouTube. The list of people who became famous from YouTube is really long, but filled with hardworking professionals that would have worked just as hard and could have done the same thing through traditional methods…. at least if they moved to hollywood and slept around a little.

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