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Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "Making a Better YouTube." YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 5 January 2018,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2018)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2018, January 5). Making a Better YouTube [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2018)
Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Making a Better YouTube.", January 5, 2018, YouTube, 04:00, you reform or revolt...that is the question. To me the question isn't whether we reform, it's how. And I would like to talk some about that. I think there's an easy argument to make that much of the problem with YouTube isn't YouTube's problem, it's a cultural problem, and this article in The Verge (that I agree with only partially) talks about that the best I've seen so far:

There isn't a way, at least right now, to create a YouTube alternative that would work for creators. Many people have tried...some are trying right now...but I don't think it's possible. So we have to do our best to make this platform and this community the best thing we can. And that's hard and long and it might feel foolish since, ultimately, it's not a democracy, it's a corporation, but it's where we are. And I think there is space to make it better, but we won't be able to do that unless there are good ideas that are getting pushed and implemented. So, let's go there. Please please share your ideas.


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Good morning John, 

Every time people get frustrated with YouTube, I get a lot of messages saying, "Hank! You make stuff, why don't you start a whole new competitor thing to YouTube?!"

And ultimately, I feel like this comes down to a pretty central question when you're upset with a situation in your life. Whether this is about your government, or your relationship, or your online platform - do you revolt? Or do you reform?

If you want to reform your government, you vote, you call your congressperson, you go to protests; you propose the removal of old, bad policies.

If you want to revolt against your government, you probably have to take down your government. Because you can't just leave. And usually, that goes badly, because the government doesn't want to give up power. So people start to kill each other. And once you start to kill each other, really, often times the worst people are the ones who win. 

But on the internet, if you want to revolt, you can just... go somewhere else... right? 

Maybe not.

Here are, 6 reasons why I have no interest in leaving YouTube:

1. It's actually quite good. 
Like, the video player works pretty much every time, it transfers really seamlessly between my phone and my computer and my TV. And as a creator, I get to benefit from a gigantic audience. And also that ad sales team of the second largest corporation in the world. 

2. (And I thought a lot about this one) 
Ultimately, my problems with YouTube, are my problems? Not my audience's problems. (You people!) And while I appreciate the people who said that they will go to the end of the world for their "favs" -- and I believe you. You are also my "fav".  And I want to make it a good experience for you, and to me, that is the experience that you're comfortable with, and that you've had for the last eleven years. 

3. YouTube is really good at getting people to watch videos
That's what that somewhat-insidious algorithm is designed to do. And while I have some philosophical problems with some of the training neural networks to hack the human brain into the watching more content, I recognize that every social media platform is doing that, and the ones that don't, are going to end up losing out to the other ones. Which is the situation we're in right now, so, buckle up for that over the next ten years! And on that same train...

4. I want new people to find my content 
So I have to put my content in a place where new people are going to find it. And YouTube shows my videos to new people. Hi new person... (if you're one of them...) Here's a big one,

5. YouTube's problems aren't really YouTube's problems
They are the problem that any sufficiently big social video platform would have. You have to get advertisers bought in, you have to monetize for creators, and you have to be open enough that there's so much content being uploaded to your platform, that there's no way you can review it all. The moment a new platform got big enough to matter, it would have all of the exact same problems that YouTube currently has. And I don't actually know how to solve those problems... *shrug*

6.  I'm sentimentally attached
Just like I'm not going to leave my country when things start to go bad, I just won't abandon this platform to leave it to become a worse place without me... *Shrug...?*

When we criticize stuff, we don't actually have to imagine a solution that works, we just have to imagine a solution that works for us. But communities, in real life or online, are more complicated than that. They have tons of different stakeholders with different needs and different wants. When you get further into the details, you find that it is complicated. And I'm not saying: Give in, give up, we're stuck - obviously not, when you love a place, you should want to work to make it better. Imagining that you could just run away from all the problems and just to some new place where no problems exist, is a self-indulgent fantasy.  

I care about this a lot. I'm willing to fight for a better YouTube, I know a lot of other people who are too. I think that's how you make a better YouTube, not by starting it from scratch, but by caring enough about a place to work for it...


If you have ideas for how to make YouTube better, please leave comments. Ideas are born out of people, and if you wanted to talk about stuff in the real world, then VidCon Europe, this year, is focused entirely on creator, and industry stuff: so these kinds of conversations. We aren't having a fan-focused community portion of the event this year because that lost so much money last year. 

But it's March 22nd to 24th, you can find tickets at And also, if you don't live in Amsterdam... you get to go to Amsterdam! It's the opportunity to get together with other creators of all sizes. Talk about craft, and how you make it work, and what you like to do. And also talk to brands and platforms, and the kinds of people who enable people who want to make stuff. 

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.