If you're reading this from my blog, you'll notice that I've added to the masthead, "Thoughts and Impressions Exploring the Third Platform." As I've expressed here previously, I consider social media creation - in particular the most creative YouTube programming - to represent a developing third entertainment platform beyond Motion Pictures and Television. My new subtitle is just the first part of my developing effort to express this particular concept.
Traditional Media sometimes seems limited in its perception of YouTube as a commercial resource. In addition to a video sharing site, and a means to promote traditional media content, it might also be seen as a talent pool as well - there have already been a number of musical, special effects and other artists that have been "discovered" on YouTube (i.e. Justin Bieber). Popular vlogger Hank Green reported on his Vidcon Blog titled "Crossing Over," that YouTube star Michael Buckley was contracted by Fox to host the online red carpet coverage of the Teen Choice Awards, where several YouTube stars were represented (Shane Dawson, a top YouTuber, took home an award for his work).
What seems very clear, however, is that, for the most part, traditional media doesn't yet recognize that many YouTubers are in fact successful (by any measurement you choose) not simply because of their onscreen persona, but because of their abilities as writers, producers, directors, camera people, editors and marketers. Regardless of their objectives in creating on YouTube, they are an extraordinarily talented bunch - and they're uniquely connected to their audience.
When television began, it's worth remembering that the motion picture industry first ignored that platform out of arrogance, then fear of the new "threat" - acceptance and involvement by the studios in creating television content didn't come until later. It may be some time until traditional media truly understands and embraces the "third platform" - if they ever truly can. They may continue to exploit social media - but I believe opportunities will continue to evolve for the individual as well. After all, can mainstream media ever "create" a YouTube star?
I recall Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike), speaking at the Vidcon YouTube conference, expressing his developing experience with traditional media and offline events (hosting live events, etc) - and his emerging recognition that only on YouTube can he truly create freely. He wasn't giving up on a "mainstream" opportunities by any means, but social media was his home.