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Uploaded:2019-05-14
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In which John Green discusses some things he has learned in twelve and a half years of making YouTube videos.
I hope this can be helpful both to influencers and to viewers on YouTube, and I'm also interested to learn any advice you have for those of us who make stuff online. Let me know in comments.

Personal finance stuff:

Gaby Dunn's book Bad WITH Money: https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Money-Imperfect-Financial-Together/dp/1501176331

Planet Money: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/

Two Cents: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL8w_A8p8P1HWI3k6PR5Z6w

The Financial Diet: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSPYNpQ2fHv9HJ-q6MIMaPw
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Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday.

This video is an open letter to professional YouTubers, but it's also for anyone who wants to understand the challenges of the fraught career of professional influencing.

Hi, I'm John Green. I write books and I've been making YouTube videos for more than 12 years now. Also, I'm somewhat repulsed by the word influencer. It makes me feel like one of the baddies in a dystopian novel, which, to be fair, maybe I am. But, the nice thing about "influencer" is that it's accurate. If you have an audience, you help shape their world view; both when it comes to which goods and services to purchase, and when it comes to what to believe and value. That's a weird job, and today I want to share with you some things I've learned about it.

First, being a professional person of the internet is not like being a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. It's more like being a professional athlete. Online careers are unpredictable and they're often short. Which isn't necessarily bad news, by the way. Like, it can be wonderful to do many things in your professional life. But, I do think it's worth trying to learn about stuff while you are professional influencer that can help you down the road when you are professionally something else, whether that's social media marketing or post-production or, as in my case, writing.

Secondly, many of us get absolutely no financial education in school, and professional influencers tend to be young and inexperienced with money. Which, one, can make it difficult to figure out how to prioritize financial stuff, and, two, leaves people vulnerable to exploitation. Even if, like me, you are aggressively bad at math, I really recommend trying to learn more about personal finance by reading books, like Gaby Dunn's Bad With Money, listening to podcasts, like Planet Money, and watching YouTube shows, like Two Cents and The Financial Diet.

As for the people who make you money, agents and managers can be wonderful advocates, but remember, they have no life-long investment in you. If you cease to be a lucrative relationship for them, they can find it a different you, a younger and hipper and more influential influencer. But, you are your only you. And, ultimately, that means you have to be the person to balance short-term interest and long-term interest when it comes to issues like when to turn down unsavory sponsorships.

Speaking of which, third, when it comes to money opportunities, Hank always asks me two questions: Is this in line with our goals for our community and our we adding more value that we're capturing? We've made lots of mistakes along the way, but, from what kind of shirts to sell to whether to promote loot boxes, I do think we benefit a lot from asking those questions.

Ok, fourth, this did not happen because you work harder than anyone else or because you are more talented. You are talented and you do work hard, but you have also been fortunate. You're fortunate to have high-speed internet and access to editing software, and you've also gotten lucky along the way in innumerable ways. Luck does not nullify hard work, but hard work also does not nullify luck. 

Fifth, you are a person. Those who love your work will naturally be inclined to think of you as more than a person, which can be intoxicating. It's nice to hear that you're a literal god or the best Fortniter or Vlogger or whatever noun is currently being personalized. But, there will also be people who think you're less than human, who say that you are literal trash.

We don't talk about this much because it can seem like ingratitude, but receiving online hate can be scary and painful, and I'm sorry if you have to live with it. In my experience it's really important to find places where you can be a person, whether that's an anonymous Reddit account or, god forbid, offline, because otherwise you can start to believe both those who think you're more than a person and those who think you're less than one.

Lastly, as my brother like to say, diversify your identity. In this world, so much of your life can become your job. Your friends and family can be involved in your job. When you take a walk, you're doing your job if you Instagram it. Your life and work can become so completely intertwined that you stop think of yourself as, for instance, John Green, person, husband, father, AFC Wimbledon sponsor, a vowed Hufflepuff, etcetera, and begin to think of yourself as just John Green, YouTuber. No career can healthfully carry all your identity, let alone one as weird and unpredictable as thing.

And so, dear influencer, I wish you the algorithim's wind in your sails, and a flood of new followers. But, most of all, I wish you a long and varied life of making helpful things with nice people.

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.