[Accompanies a Vlog of the same name, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjePFLsQ3FE]
At lunch yesterday, i was describing to a couple of friends the evolving social media landscape of the YouTube community, as contrasted with the general perception outside the community, and the ways in which of the most successful YouTubers are earning an income in that arena. We discussed the state of the current programming - which is, technically speaking, very creative but still fairly primitive as compared to television and motion pictures. To some extent, that's part of the characteristic of this world - the availability of cameras and editing technology that allows virtually anyone to create and build a following. Generally speaking, what an audience freely accepts on YouTube would be rejected in other platforms. In much the same way, a great television program wouldn't necessarily be considered a quality motion picture.
The discussion turned to the staying power of the top YouTube personalities - or any of the partners that have reached the minimal following necessary to qualify for that profit sharing arrangement. With YouTube still being in its early childhood phase at five years old, it's an intriguing question to ask about the fate of popular YouTubers in a few short years. Will they evolve with their audience and build upon their initial success? Will they have the ability to maintain a following by keeping their channels creative and continue to provide features that make their channels successful? Will some YouTubers prove to be fortunate reflections of their time, brief cultural icons of the YouTube community - but ultimately nothing more?
Even by looking at the rising and falling fortunes of popular YouTubers over the last five years, it's still a challenge to consider this world a few years down the line as it matures and brings in an even wider audience. It's a greater challenge to take into account the young age of some successful YouTubers, as their changing lives and circumstance impact their ability to create relevant contact.
Ultimately, I think, talent will prevail. Ten years down the line, we'll recognize some legendary talents unique to this platform, while others will exist only in faded memory - if at all.