You’re allowed to have an opinion on a topic, even if others don’t deem you ‘successful’ in the field.
Once upon a YouTube upload, not too long ago, a girl (that’s me!) chatted about the ‘10 things vloggers hated.’ It was a light hearted, comedic look at the platform, its users and fellow vloggers. A list of ‘first world YouTuber problems,’ you could say. And, whilst most joined in the fun, several people got in a huff in the comments and the words ‘bitter’ and ‘unsuccessful’ were banded around a lot. I was everything thing from a ‘washed up Daily Mix has been, trying to stay relevant,’ to, ‘bitter’ because I wasn’t ‘successful’ on a platform I had put so much time into.
Like any long time, internet user knows, engaging with the trolls often proves futile. So, I sighed, and logged off the internet for the day. Fast forward a few weeks and after a few arguments broke out in my comment section (between supporters of me and my content and the ‘h8ers’) I decided to end the drama and privatise the video. Shut down, move on. I appreciated the support, but it wasn’t worth the hassle and there was an itch over the video in the back of my brain that wouldn’t go away.
But months later, I’ve seen far too many people in the blogging/vlogging circles dismiss other’s concerns on the community or platform as ‘bitterness’ and ‘jealousy’ of those deemed more successful at the craft. I decided it was time to put fingers to keyboard and furiously bash out a blog post which would summarise my feelings.
1) The measure of ‘success’
Who’s to say what counts as success or not? Take YouTube for example- is it when you hit a certain view count on one video? Is it a number of subscribers reached? Is it consistently high views? Or can it simply be having the courage to put yourself out there? I celebrated hard when I hit 20,000 subscribers, it felt like the success was perhaps more measurable and tangible at this point, but if I thought about it honestly, the real success of my YouTube career was carrying on posting videos throughout 2014. When I’d stay in bed all day, depressed, anxious and broken- unable to muster up the courage to speak to my own friends, family or housemates- I’d never, ever fail to get up and plaster on a fake smile when it was time to film a video. Keeping my channel going through that horrible, dark time was the real success. I knew one day I’d need it.
You can never tell how far along the path to success someone is. How fast and hard they are paddling, unseen, under water to get where they need to be. Never forget that.
2) What makes me worthy of an opinion?
When the Sam Pepper scandal of 2014 broke, I made a video on it. A ‘this is the story, this is my opinion, this is where I think we go from here’ video. A lot of die-hard Sam fans trolled this video with comments suggesting that my size on the platform, in comparison to his made my opinion unwanted, invalid and unworthy. He was successful and I ‘wasn’t’ and that, was that. Yet, he was a rapist and I wasn’t. So in my opinion, THAT, should have been that. At what point am I allowed to have an opinion on a fellow creator? Is it when I reach their size or is it when I surpass it? Wrong on both counts. I can have an opinion on anyone and anything, and provided I feel fully informed on the subject and am presenting my views in a way which is arguing a point, not attacking, I feel pretty secure in handing them out. And BOY do I have a tonne of opinions.
3) Who’s to say I’m jealous anyway?
The automatic response to criticism is often ‘you’re just jealous’ which in some cases, is true. But if someone is presenting a well thought critique, who are we to dismiss them as bitter or jealous? Who are we to assume they ARE jealous of us? Just because someone has a channel on YouTube or a blog, doesn’t automatically mean that’s a career goal or aim for them, it might simply be a hobby, and even if that is the future plan, why does that equate to jealousy? Can we not be happy for someone else’s success and yet also moderate them when they cross a line? Or present an opinion which differs to theirs?
We are all utilising these social platforms to learn, to grow, to have fun or to entertain, (about whatever topic, in whatever genre) whichever side of the screen we may be on and we need to start learning and growing and entertaining together. Not diving down the middle into little vs. large or ‘successful’ vs ‘un-successful.’ And if you do come across a TRUE, mean, salty hater, just look at pictures of cute puppies and remember there is good in the world.