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YouTube’s top creators are burning out (polygon.com)
338 points by ilamont on June 1, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 169 comments

>This is all I ever wanted. And why the fuck am I so unfucking unhappy? It - It doesn’t make any sense. You know what I mean? Because, like, this is literally my fucking dream. And I’m fucking so unfucking happy. It doesn’t make any fucking sense. It’s so stupid. It is so stupid.

I think that most people who judge themselves by their accomplishments will run into this at some point. You'll get there, only to find out that there is no 'there' there.

Philanthropy seems like it might help. It can feel fundamentally impossible to be happy or content, when you mix a demanding always-on schedule with the very human desire to always be looking for more. But we also live in a world where many people never even have the opportunity to pursue happiness, and what about their hopes and dreams?

It is vicariously rewarding to see someone else learn how to do something and get excited by their newfound talent. And every hour of your time that you donate is an hour that you don't have to spend under the pressures of your audience or your thoughts.

The hedonic treadmill is very real. If you are trying to get to happiness via achievement you will either fail to achieve the things you want, or you will realize after achieving them that they haven't made you happier. I've achieved things in my life. I didn't have any major failures until I was in my mid-20s. But no matter what achievements I had (or failures), the changes to my happiness were always temporary.

I pulled on that intellectual thread and learned that this is exactly what you would expect based on the research. Achieving your goals only achieves short-term happiness, and if you base your happiness on that, eventually you are going to reach a goal that stops your happiness dead.

You have to find the things that make you happy, and none of them have a long-term impact. They are the things you can do to maintain a consistent level of happiness, if you put in the consistent work. For me, the biggest impact on my happiness is regular meditation and regular exercise. Research also supports gratitude journaling and philanthropy. Simple. But NOTHING has a long-term impact.

To reiterate, the things that work are the things that give you a little boost of happiness every day, and if you find the right ones you can get to a level that is good for you through constant maintenance.

This doesn't mean achieving your goals is unimportant. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a dogged persistence when it comes to achieving goals. But I don't expect them to make me happy. The key is to recognize that your goals reflect your values, the things you believe are important whether or not you expect them to make you happy.

Purchase your happiness separate from your goals, it's much cheaper that way.

Well stated. I think there's also a key difference between happiness, which my parents' generation [boomerish] constantly cites as a kind of fixed life goal, and contentedness, which I consider as a state of being more or less able to tolerate your own existence.

The word "happy" is related to luck and chance -- like 'happenstance' -- and used to mean something like "fortunate." [see 'Hamlet' - "We are happy in that we are not overhappy... on Fortune's cap we are not the very button..."] Whereas lately, it's come to indicate an emotional state somewhere in the vicinity of joy. Even so, the word's earlier use points up something key about high emotional states : they are fleeting and fickle, just like the strumpet Fortune.

For my part, I think that if I'd heard more about contentedness as a goal in my formative years, and less about happiness , the hedonic treadmill would have been much easier to avoid -- or, at least, consciously manage.

You can increase your happiness within a range.

Being economically secure including heath insurance and living below your means cuts out some major issues, but beyond that has minimal benifit.

Partners / children can be a boost or stress point depending on the person, but loneliness is an almost universal drag. Thus seek and maintain positive friendships.

Heath is somewhat up to the whims of fate, but a heathly diet, good sleeping habits, and minimal exercise can maximize what you have to work with.

Tangent: I've been looking more into longevity and I've noticed "minimal exercise" is a theme. What does this mean to you?

I'm currently around 20% bodyfat. I eat healthy, drink when thirsty, sleep 7.5-9 hours, walk/bike as much as transport and do "convict conditioning" workouts 3 days a week. Outside of that, I don't "workout" but I am active in chores, hiking, etc.

All my friends are extremely invested in fitness and all sub-15% bodyfat. I am very disciplined but I try to focus more on nutrition than fitness (I cheat too much!).

I'd love more insight and if you had studies on this I'd love to learn more about efficient/minimal exercise.

That's likely over the threashold I am talking about.

If you're consistent and do intense aka 75-85 max heart rate at least once for 30 minutes per week that makes a real difference over time. Lower intensity requires a lot more because the body needs to adapt to stress.

Traditionally you see stuff like : http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity... and people say I don't have time for that. But studies find meaningful change happens at under 1/2 their recommended levels.

Sometimes I wonder if language plays a part in perceived happiness as well. I usually hear things described in extremes such as "Wow, that's so shit" or "Yeah, it was pretty amazing" but when everything is only one or the other, surely it must start to alter how you view the world.

If you're saying something was "fantastic" but really it was average, wouldn't that disconnect make you feel like you /should/ be happier than you really are? Maybe you'd wonder if there's something wrong with you when really it's just an inaccuracy. I think it makes sense that social media culture at the moment would cultivate that since you want everything to seem way better than it really is. Not that humans don't have a tendency to do this stuff regardless.

It's something I think about from time to time and this post reminded me of it.

I’ve thought about that recently the same way after I lost someone very important to me. I think the whole thing can be described by a 2-by-2 matrix, the axes being:

- pursuing life goals no/yes

- being happy no/yes

Some people just live their lifes and are simply happy, don’t pursue any goals at all. Then other people pursue goals without being happy. Of course being in the top quadrant is optimal, but many people decide to optimize for one axis only. I realized that I’m in the bottom left...

It is easier to have pleasant feelings and a pleasant judgement of life if:

- one has money and success and other things that meet the personal criteria of a good life.

- one has none of the problems related to poverty and failure and frustration and health issues.

Feelings are triggered by hormones and the nervous system.

E.g. panic attacks are related to too much epinephrine (adrenaline).

Quote from the article: “My life just changed so fast,” Elle Mills said in a video from May 18. “My anxiety and depression keeps getting worse and worse. I’m literally just waiting for me to hit my breaking point.”

I guess being creative on youtube also means (too) much physical and emotional stress for some people. Especially for those who already suffer from anxiety and/or depression.

Dramatic change or lack of change despite efforts is also stressful.

Put yes/yes in the bottom left, problem solved!

Wow. The separation of one's life goals from the pursuit of happiness seems incredibly stoic, yet necessary. Thank you for sharing this.


I've found the best way for me to keep a steady-state of contentedness, sprinkled with joy almost every day, is to truly love my fellow man. I wouldn't consider that exactly philanthropy though, and philanthropy only helps when one has a basis of love for everyone (even for people who openly do 'wrong', or who go against your personal values). Along with that, this love must be freely given to individuals, and not just felt when contemplating mankind generally (it's easy to love mankind, but it's not so easy to love that guy over there).

It's hard work to find that kind of love for everyone and it needs constant maintenance, but once you know how to maintain it, it changes everything. Forgiveness is easier, empathy is automatic, and everyone else's joy and accomplishments become yours. It also gives a sense of freedom, which I suspect comes from not being boxed-in in one body and one sense of self because you have the opportunity to feel things through others, and to connect to others simply by passing them by on the street and noticing that, yes, you love that one too.

There are a few other things as well, though love for men is the biggest. These are: appreciation of beauty in all things, appreciation of beauty in nature (especially contemplating how dynamic nature is), and a creative outlet that is personal.

I think what you're describing is called "compassion", in case you were looking for a word that fits better than "philanthropy".

I described love.

I got a bit of that recently. After finally grasping a bit of electronics (which eluded me for years), I ... ended up thinking then what.

Got me thinking that these are important but to an extent only, basic human life is what makes you (only me?) happy. Smooth schedule and smooth people interactions...

I think it a good idea not to pursue happiness at all. Go for satisfaction instead.

What she said resonates with millennials in general. A lot of our parents worked dissatisfying jobs to give us a (relatively) comfortable lifestyle. They instilled this ideal of not choosing a dissatisfying job and instead finding our dream job. They also pushed the idea of going to college as guaranteeing a job.

It is a little shocking finding out that well, no, I can be unhappy even working in my dream job. I am not always going to be comfortable. There are going to be things that I have to face that don't coincide with the reality of my childhood.

It's okay though. You're going to be unhappy and uncomfortable. I don't think it would be normal to be happy all the time. There are people who have it harder and who make it through.

Some things have a universal comfort - I think a lot of times with my generation that a universal comfort is nostalgia. For me personally, it's going outside, breathing in the air, and just appreciating nature.

I think philanthropy should come naturally... I get a sense (especially here) that people are "outrage philanthropic" where they get overwhelmed by the state of society rather than focusing with a smaller more profound contribution. Even charity organizations sometimes seem disconnected. I think there are a lot of spontaneous, mundane things that can be done that help people and it doesn't have to be all about appearances or some preconceived notion of philanthropy.

The problem with goals is that you need to structure them like a food shmup (like Nemesis on the MSX); you progress just enough towards the goals to be satisfied and happy but you generally do not make it entirely. I set my goals so I need to become 1000 years old to reach them and then make stepping stones towards it as subgoals which are all very doable and those I make do give me happiness and satisfaction while I will never make the big goal (but who knows!!!).

> For me personally, it's going outside, breathing in the air, and just appreciating nature.

For me that has been the most important part and the reason I cannot live in cities anymore; whenever stuck or stressed, I hike up a mountain or through a forest. It solves everything; it is exercise but it also shows that my stressors do no matter in any scheme of things. If I am stuck in some code issue, I will not be after I am done walking.

I think the concept of the hedonic treadmill explains this pretty well:


We have a strong tendency to revert to our internal happiness set point, in the face of success or failure. So the trick is to learn to change that set point, which mostly doesn’t depend on things outside ourselves.

I mean, think about it, right? No one says life is about being happy, at all!

There's no guarantee to that - no universal right.

Dunno, I fell into Existentialism before I dropped out of whatever pointless liberal arts state university I was needlessly going to. They had a good library, so I guess I owe them that.

I’m a moderately successful entrepreneur in a field with strong philanthropic kudos. We’ve won some big prizes recognizing our contribution. I get absolutely zero pleasure from this work and recognition and a lot of stress. The biggest pleasures came from the birth of my children and spending time with my wife, parents and friends. My work pays for my family and friend time; end of. And the less time I spend at work the happier I am. This is an incentive towards efficiency. Maybe the one thing I like about work is when I can interact with other people from all walks of life. Probably because it feels a bit like friend-time.

I couldn’t say I share your success, but I too feel like I make myself miserable trying to help the world. I design open source robots I hope will be useful for people all over the world and I operate a discussion site to try to get developers and fabricators together. It does feel like I’m using my skills to have the most impact, but it’s fucking exhausting. I’m on the edge of burn out at all times.

When I feel like that, which I do at times, I remind myself of what General de Gaulle once said, “the graveyards are full of indispensable men”.

Yes, this. People are most important. It's amazing how hard a lesson that is.

If you haven't watched this, it will change your life. Even if you have, it's one of the few youtube videos that is worth a re-watch. The book is just as good if not better.


Spoiler: It is a former CS professor at Carnegie Mellon named Randy Pausch. He had terminal pancreatic cancer. This is a dying professor's last lecture. It is a father sharing life lessons for his kids when they are older to watch.

Some relevant quotes:

- “As you get older, you may find that 'enabling the dreams of others' thing is even more fun.”

- “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

- “The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”

- “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

- “People are more important than things.”

I remember watching this 10 years ago as a 14 year old and getting really emotional. And here I am again...

The video and book were a great example of playing the hand right BUT

for me the conclusion was a rather grim Ecclesiastical one.

Stoicism seems to me 'making the best of bad situation' still we are doomed and doomed soon.

What difference is there between stoicism and fatalism?

Offside: If you are a conscripted soldier in 1940 Soviet army, ordered to march against a machine gun nest in Finland where do you get your solace?

The Finnish soldiers were amazed(and developed PSTD) how consigned to their fate the advancing Soviet soldiers were despite wave and wave of them being gunned down.

Same goes for a situation like in Boethius Consolation of Philosophy and The Last Lecture.

They are screwed and you can delude yourself into thinking things are great.


I love this lecture. He dispenses a number of classic stoic principles.

You'll get there, only to find out that there is no 'there' there.

This applies very generally to human nature, people think that there's some magic thing that if only they get that, things will be awesome. In reality, you will very quickly normalize that away.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill

Indeed. We expand to fill our means very quickly. Often this is physically observable, such as when moving to a bigger place.

An 18 year old with a clapped out Renault Clio is happier about that than Mr Jones is about his Jaguar. We lose the ability to be happy with things that once made us happy.

What I've realised is that we only sense change. A positive change is good, a negative change is really bad, and staying constant is nothing at all. Just like in physics. Constant is constant no matter the absolute level.

My personal goal is to regularly introduce small positive changes in my life, avoid big changes, and resist expanding to fill my means so that (hopefully) I won't have to endure negative change. It's working pretty well so far. My outgoings are a fraction of some of my friends and yet I'm just as, if not more, happy with what I have.

Happiness is a state of mind. What's actually necessary is a sense of purpose.

That's why people in vastly differing situations can both be happy, because it's a subjective function of how much meaning you have in your life. Having a purpose lets you battle through depressing lows and accomplish great deeds and still remain fulfilled. Otherwise it's just a chase for the next big thing, and while that can be fun for a bit, it also leaves you empty and lost.

I always dreamed that the thing I'd do when my ship came in would be Angel Investing. It's all the fun of being a startup founder without all the annoying parts of doing the grind. You also get smart interesting people who want your investment being nice to you all day and you get to hear about interesting new technology. You also possibly get to help talented people make their dreams come true and change the world. It's never ending novelty. It's the kind of thing you can do for years and never get bored of it. As long as you win every once and a while, it can go on forever.

As some who has started to dabble in angel investing over the last few years it is enjoyable, but at the same time frustrating as you meet so many great people working on garbage ideas or vice versa.

I think that the problem with wealth is that it attracts the worst kinds of people into your life.

When you're middle class or poor and not influential, the people around you are a relatively normal sample of the human population and they have a balance of positive and negative qualities but they're mostly genuine individuals.

As you become wealthier or more influential, new people come along who are increasingly greedy, selfish and scheming.

Then this becomes your new reality and that's why you feel unhappy. Your social connections are often entertaining and outwardly pleasing but on a deeper level they're mostly unfulfilling.

> You'll get there, only to find out that there is no 'there' there.

The chase was better than the kill. So why not just chase? Because the chase anticipated the kill. Now what?

Elon Musk is an interesting case.

> I think that most people who judge themselves by their accomplishments will run into this at some point.

The key is not to feel good about the accomplishments themselves, but about getting there. If getting there does not make you happy, then it might be the wrong accomplishment you are after.

More generally, this is about systems being preferable over goals.

This sentiment seems to be strongly related to the 'paradox of hedonism'. In short: Pursuing happiness itself may not lead to happiness. Pursuit of something other (greater?) than happiness may in fact result in higher levels of happiness.

"Unfortunately for the hedonist, constant pleasure-seeking may not yield the most actual pleasure or happiness in the long run—or even in the short run, when consciously pursuing pleasure interferes with experiencing it."


John Stuart Mill: "Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so."

Maybe part of the problem is a wrong diagnosis. Maybe they don't feel that unhappy. They just have a wrong expectation on how it would feel like, when they finally would be happy for the first time in their lives.

Happiness goes so much deeper than conscious expectations, and the feelings are dependent on these deeper functions that are rarely executed.

Yeah, I've always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. It's all I've cared about. Now I've created that successful company, made headlines, did the big exit and... I feel like killing myself. It's game over.

Related video (by exurb1a) -


That's a lot a fucks given.

Not just Youtube but this is all very applicable to Twitch livestreamers too. I noticed it on myself, it's a strange thing.

I started doing amateur game streams on Twitch (nothing serious, got a few regular viewers) but even tho I try to make an effort to just relax/chill and take it easy, I can't help but feel a bit stressed trying to be at my most entertaining version throughout the whole stream. Combined with having a regular schedule (even if it's just 2 hours of stream twice a week) it quickly builds up a certain stress that can only be described as stress similar to having a job. I end up hating the thought of "oh no, tomorrow I have a stream again" when I should be excited for it, I mean it's a hobby, it's supposed to make me feel good. But strange enough I spend 10 times more time at work and I rarely get this stressed.

It's hard to explain. I don't know exactly why this type of activity can become stressful so quickly. Maybe because it's much more related to how I feel in general. If I have a few bad days it's not going to affect much how I code at work (maybe reduce overall productivity/speed but code quality should be in the same ballpark). But if I feel bad I simply cannot be as entertaining as I can when I feel good and that stresses me out and I make an effort to still be entertaining, on schedule. Maybe that's what it is :)

It's not just videos and streaming too. Anyone who creates content has these issues.

Even blogging has the same effect on you and it really sucks because everyone will say "you need a schedule because it's what people expect, they need to know when to tune back in".

But once you do this, your whole mentality changes from sporadically posting something interesting because you overcame some obstacle and wanted to share your newfound knowledge to "it's time to think about next week's post, and it must be done because your schedule dictates a new post in 2 days".

It's very stressful, even if you enjoy it.

When I was front man of a slightly successful band I felt the absolute worst and lonlyest after a gig.

It was such a low feeling I’ll never forget it and one of the things I miss least about it.

I think it came from 2 hours of trying to entertain a lot of people and make them feel good about life while simultaneously experiencing full on imposter syndrome.

With blogs, at least you can write some posts in advance, and use them to fill in the schedule if you're not creative/productive/healthy/whatever once. I've used this pretty successfully to maintain a 1post/week schedule for over a year.

No such option with live streaming.

Yeah, no doubt about it, streaming is way more demanding.

I usually prepare at least 3 posts in advance, but this has its flaws too because sometimes a certain topic is interesting "today", but it's not that interesting a month from now.

Also a lot of my posts come from experiencing something first hand and I find it to be a better writing experience if I write about what happened shortly after it happened, instead of weeks in the future when details might get stale.

Lastly, some posts take multiple days to write too, so it's not like you can just say to yourself "I'm going to crank out 4 top quality posts today and I'm set for the month".

I am in an artistic niche field that uses Instagram heavily. We are independent artists who tie our personal identity closely to our business identity, like musicians or graffiti artists.

While it's rewarding to gain followers and attention, it raises the pressure on me to post new images, and on what type of content and it's quality. At the end of a day that I don't update my Instagram I feel guilty. While I can gain followers and reputation by posting, I see myself lose followers by posting media that doesn't match my audience's expectations or by not posting often enough.

This has the effect of chilling the content creation that got my social media started in the first place. It makes me weigh the value of things I am doing in terms of whether I can exhibit them online. I especially shy back from posting personal content, but I don't really know what my audience prefers. Just art pics, or life and personality? To make things more complicated, there is social pressure as I know about 10% of the audience personally.

I have started other Instagram accounts where I post semi-anonymously to have the same sort of normal social media outlet as a regular person. If that were to grow in followers though, the same thing would happen.

Sounds similar to what I used to feel playing MMOs, and to a lesser extent online games at all. They caused me a lot of stress when they were supposed to be enjoyable. My work is stressful enough.

Now I only play single player games, and I’m much happier for it.

This is the reason I had to stop playing EVE Online. I love the premise and universe of the game, but my goodness does it start to feel like a "job" quickly.

I played some Eve, but yeah I felt the same feeling coming and had to quit. My original MMO was DAoC, which when I look back was a second job.

When I played some WoW it was care bear enough that I could mostly solo and not have any real obligations. Eve was very hard to solo much.

I feel this in relationships from time to time as well. We end up talking about it though, and figure out that the situation we ended up in was not a good one. We bring what we can, don't try to make the other person happy but rather try to make oneself happy and that in itself has a positive effect on the other partner.

I myself rather watch someone when they have something that they are eager to tell or show, rather than on a schedule. It feels like we all got that nerve as watchers, when we expect something to occur at a certain point in time with a certain quality we are effectively eating up the spontainious creativity.

My advice is to tell the audience that you need a break, you still want them to hang around. But you need to have faith in them being there, very much like any relationship. Or else it's up to you to satisfy the audience, when it's actually up to them to enjoy the stream.

Audience is a toxic that we should be vary with, not healthy to be in too much, but that's just my own opinion. It's nothing weird, just how it is.

> I don't know exactly why this type of activity can become stressful so quickly.

The weight of expectation, probably.

Try a web search for “emotional labor”.

This is just a modern newfangled manifestation of a problem artists have always had: When your rent payment depends on your art (I am deliberately sidestepping the question of "what is art?") you are in a shitty situation indeed. What used to be fun turns into a chore. It's better to have a day job, even though it means you can't spend the whole day doing your thing. (I wouldn't necessarily want to anyway, and I don't think I'm alone in that.)

Think of your art or fun hobby as like a horse. Making it pay for your rent and food is like throwing a heavy saddle on its back and sitting on it. If you let a day job carry you (or a patron or parent etc.), your thing is suddenly freed from your heavy ass and you can remove the saddle altogether. It will be a lot happier, treat you better, and incidentally run a lot faster too!

I dunno, I’ve been absolutely delighted that Patreon has made it possible to pay my rent by drawing arcane comics about robot ladies with Phillip K Dick problems and cartoon animals in space. Especially since I don’t have to crank out product every single day without any break like these Youtube kids do; I can actually have downtime to go for a walk in the park, watch a movie, play a video game... these folks sound absolutely miserable in part because they are constantly working on stuff for their channels, without a chance to build up a buffer, or ever do anything else besides bars survival necessities.

To extend your analogy, these folks have to ride that horse all day, every day, from dawn to dusk, and they are starting to get some serious saddle sores.

(And for what it’s worth, when I believed all the advice from web comics folks from the pre-RSS era that you have to set a schedule and stick to it, no matter what, I was starting to get pretty miserable. When shifted my official update schedule from “Tuesday/Thursday” to “aim for two days a week, don’t fret if life gets in the way”, my job satisfaction shot way up.)

Yes. Even as a "non-artist", it's well worth avoiding this trap. I'm very careful to not let my software engineering day job get too close to my (quite extensive) electronics hobby.

My job can be stressful at times, which I don't consider to be strictly negative, but I have noticed just how much this has impacted my enjoyment of, for example, reading technical articles that are too close to my work subject matters. On the other side, I still have great fun on reading challenging articles, application notes or whole books on different subjects in electronics and signal processing, and my way to ensure that it keeps being fun, is to keep it away from being relevant for my income.

This is just a modern newfangled manifestation of a problem artists have always had.

Well, the "independent artist" directly selling to the market place is a fairly new thing in the scheme of things, originally artists had patrons, then galleries and art dealers set fashion. Youtube lets a wide variety of people sell directly to the world and this creates an intensification of the precariousness earlier artists felt.

The artist in the modern world is imagined as someone turning a hobby and a dream into a profession but profession artist derives originally from artisans of the middle ages or other time, individuals skilled by no means concerned with "art for art's sake" (coined by Théophile Gautier in the 19th century).

Of course, it should be noted that during the evolution of the modern artist, artists' skills increased but simultaneously the artist sold more their sensibility and "themselves" rather than simply selling their skillfully produced products.

I had the same with programming. When I was younger, both my work and hobby were programming related.

Regardless how much you enjoy your job, having the same hobby as the day job is not a good idea.

> When your rent payment depends on your art

I think this applies to ANYTHING you enjoy.

Take X activity that you love to do, and start doing it to survive (a paycheck).

Suddenly, X becomes a burden and a chore, and your previous love for X goes out the window.

I have experienced this with programming. When I started, I thought I had won the lottery. I loved it so much, and to think, I could make money doing this! Well, 10 years later my love has significantly waned. I still enjoy it, and I am content in my job, but I have nowhere near the intrinsic motivation to work that I had when I started.

This even applies to studying. It is better to get a 'proper degree' that is 'a job' (of sorts) than it is to study your hobby-interest.

Imagine that you were passionate about programming and already managed to get 'facial recognition for seagulls' working on your hand-me-down PC. You could go to university and then find that they start teaching you ASP.NET or ADA or some other dead language that only prepares you for the military or the city. Coding then becomes a matter of dread, herd mentality guessing what you are doing wrong and artificial deadlines.

Or even at school this can happen, if Geography is your thing and you are a walking gazetteer, able to talk and learn from anyone no matter where they are from. So 'Geography' would be the natural thing to study, right? A few weeks in you realise that you are only ever going to learn how 'volcanoes work' and 'Geography' then becomes a chore.

>What used to be fun turns into a chore.

Yup. Part of the reason I'm so wary of kids being told "do what you love" as advice on what career to pursue. Not bad advice per se, but can be tricky for the reasons you highlighted.

To be honest, that applies even to programmers

At one point solving the same problems ever again it turns into a chore. There must be some new challenges to have things interesting (either at work or outside)

Ask Dave Chappelle.

Has anyone watched the Netflix series bojack horseman? It seems to deal with this topic of burnout and mental health in a very realistic and touching way. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about an actor who makes it big for one tv show but becomes aimless and depressed once the show was over.

Bojack has been like a remote group therapy session for me in this regard. Especially leading up to the season 2 finale with that running scene.

Bojack isn't hilarious. It funny sometimes, but it mostly feels important. Like work. Rewarding to watch for having done the work.

Slightly OT: BoJack Horseman hits the nail right on the head in so many aspects regarding human nature, social interactions, mental health etc. The characters are so deeply human in many capacities. The series manages to talk about some heavy topics in a comedic setting while not making it seem silly. Highly recommendable!

Just wanted to say: this show is amazing and I recommend everyone to watch it.

Just pointing out for the historical record: this is an animated show, not live action.

I will be checking it out, tho, for certain.

In January I tweeted [1] a small thread about how the newer daily uploaders, especially vloggers do have a problem that they are creating for themselves. Spectacle over story. I've studied many of the top vloggers from YouTube rewind and without exception they play the similar part of exaggerated acts to sell the mundane.

Contrast this to Casey Neistat or purge gamers who started their narratives to bring about what's unique about them.

There's hardly a facade on any of it. I qualified what I meant by acting in my tweets. In the case of purge, it's Kevin being Kevin. He'll read patch notes for 7 hours and doesn't give a toot about what the watch count could be for that. He's active on twitch but without any mad acts and crazy tricks for the fans. His unique sauce is just being super analytical. So he does just that with no crazy voice or "YouTube face".

Either one of Casey or purge could be on the verge of needing a break. But they've been doing this a lot longer than any of the new stars and still seem very comfortable being themselves.

This is not to shit on the current Gen of daily content creators. I'm just worried a lot of them are not going to deeply understand why they are actually getting burnt out. They are doing excessive amounts of work where the primary requirement is to shed your self. There is very little difference between what they do and ye Joe average 28 year old working daily at a software engineering job that pays well but forces the worker to wake up with existential dread each morning.

Realising this might mean that some of these content creators might have a reckoning where they realise that long term they have nothing innately unique to offer the world of YouTube. I'm worried none of them will come to that conclusion simply because their brains are going to be fighting back saying "but this is what I always wanted".

We are all capable of getting what we think we want to do wrong. No shame in that. Just be willing to save yourself.

1: https://twitter.com/kiriappeee/status/953547948754862080?s=1...

Great comment! Loved it.

One thing to note is that Casey Neistat did burn out, stopped daily vlogging for almost a year, and said that even before he stopped, he felt his vlogs were not up to par because he didn't have the energy/time to make them better.

Now he's back to daily vlogging, but he's back with a whole production team helping him out.

Similarly GaryVee doesn't seem to burn out on daily vlogging, but that's because he outsources all of it. He goes about his day saying stuff that's useful and someone else records it then puts it together into an episode.

I think the biggest issue is with the regularity of having to post things and be a "consistent product". In the era of broadcast TV this was done season by season, with the bulk of the stress coming from avoiding cancellation. You got your slot for weeknights, or once a week in prime time, and that was it. The process was self-limiting and distributed the stress around - not to the point where everyone was relaxing, but it allowed for some breaks. In the open-platforms era it's all self-imposed, so the standards are allowed to creep upwards to extremes.

I started on a video essay project which will go on Youtube and can see this hitting me already. There are some incredibly productive folks out there who have a dedicated staff to add the magic of editing and audiovisual effects. I will be happy just to get my audio sounding OK and to have something resembling visual style.

Regardless, I have confidence in what I'm doing because I have a clear direction and intent with the content with relatively modest goals(a portfolio building career move). Optimization for the short term popularity metric guarantees that you end up competing in a world of formulaic "man talks into camera", "man plays video game", "man reviews product", "man lives everyday life" type content. And while I could see myself doing some of those, for fun or experimentation, I wouldn't want to become someone reliant on it. It helps to have a few different things going on.

I agree, except where you say it's a new phenomenon. Ever since the dawn of YouTube, the maniacal style of exaggerated content has always risen to the top, only to crash down after a few years. First it was Fred, then Smosh, then RWJ, then Pewds who occupied the top spot of most subscribed channel. All of them having the maniacal, "living cartoon" style. This is because one of the hidden truths about YouTube is that it is a music site first, and a kids site second. Therefore appealing to kids by acting like a kid will always be a successful formula on the platform

I think a largely ignored aspect is the unwanted celebrity effect setting in with the pressure to stay relevant. Because once you are doing it and have crazed "fans" showing up your door and calling your friends and family you better make a living off it. Because its unlikely they will stop once you want to be done. And your boss is unlikely to be understanding once they show up at her or his business.

Ironically, this is the lesson a lot of persons learned when they were kids on 4chan and co. Never put your information out there. Never ever period. It will ruin your life longterm. The internet is not a nice place. It is sadly a lesson, many people who grew up with facebook and youtube never learned. A lot of them were likely full of optimism and had a very sudden awakening where the path back out was no longer viable.

There are rather simple examples like this moment


And to be blunt, even she was naive when it came to showing the skyline. Have the right/wrong viewer and you are screwed.

There is a rather sad example of the German Youtuber "drachenlord". He is a fringe youtuber, out of work and is bullied by people in the hundreds. Yet it is his livelihood now and thus there are scenes like this


where he is selling posters.

I still think the south park episode about brittney spears is sadly relevant.

i've followed those rules for a while, surprisingly hard to keep it up these days, even harder to convince others why it's not a good idea. like explaining to your GF why you don't want to show a relationship status on facebook. maybe easier now with the analytics scandal, but still

About the second video, could you please provide some context?

His address is widely circulated and he has people showing up at his house in the middle of nowhere regularly including trowing in his window and general vandalism . Thus he decided to make the best of it and sell some posters behind his fence. By now the whole villages hates him, the police is fed up because he invited people and he files complaints against some of them for vandalism.

He wasnt that well adjusted to begin with and is completely out of his depth by now. He is a rather overblown phenomenon because he is incapable to deal with the attention but the basic problem is rather common. Sadly youtubers are at the disadvantage towards normal celebrities as their stalkers get to group up easily. I think very few are prepared for that kind of attention

The crazy and arbitrary demonetization seems like the biggest problem. Anything to the right of YouTube senior management, anything which touches on things they don't like (firearms, including historical information about bolt-action Swiss rifles of the early 1900s), anything even slightly offensive to anyone, etc. runs that risk (although not guaranteed). If you offend anyone, others can retroactively go back and flag innocuous videos, either for content or as a "copystrike".

Some of this is the biases of the YouTube management and employees, some is the beliefs of advertisers, but it seems incompetently implemented. Many advertisers would be perfectly happy running in front of "offensive" content in their same domain (e.g. any ammo company would happily run ads before a video about guns; maybe Disney wouldn't), etc. So they are basically making up for limitations in their product with arbitrary and destructive policies against the content creators.

I hope a non-YouTube, non-Google platform disrupts them ASAP, although this only seems to be happening inside verticals (like Full30 for firearms).

Dominant distribution channels have always come with their own arbitrary rules and randomness. It used to be the networks for video.

It's not that there's any shortage of video and other content distribution platforms. People just want the discovery and monetization associated with YouTube while not wanting to deal with everything that comes from getting in bed with the elephant.

Entertainment is great.

But it's also meaningless. Ephemeral. Fading.

If you're improving someone else's life, that's a bit more tangible.

I know people who would have died if they hadn't discovered that helping other people makes them feel like life is worth living.

So, maybe if you vlog stuff that helps people, that might make it more satisfying.

Just a thought.

There's a whole 'sub'-culture around very young (as in, pre-teenage) toy and unboxing vloggers who have got themselves (and/or have been enabled by parents) on to this YouTube production treadmill (not exclusively YT, but Insta, too). The self- and peer-generated pressure to increase views, shares, total viewing time, and in turn, churn out fresh and engaging content and the requisite social engagement is relentless, even if it's not on the same scale of these YT celebs. It's perhaps greater in some ways, due to the shoestring nature of most of them, lacking the specialist skills and resources to work productively, and having to wear multiple hats that professional content producers co-ordinate through a team. It's a massive time-suck on parents and children; I can't help but think there are going to be some latent consequences to this wide-scale phenomena amongst schoolchildren.

I had a concept designed to target the un-boxing video trend, but it failed really badly.

It's called a "Re-Boxing" video. First kids are happily playing with a mess of toys. Then a parent comes in and tells them it's time to put that shit away.

The sad kids then have to put their toys away in boxes, and then put them completely away neatly in closets and such. The camera then just focuses on the nice clean floor.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should have targeted these videos at parents instead of children. Well; Live and learn I guess...

You could have saved a lot of work by just playing unboxing vids in reverse. Like the "Reaction" genre, it's the "Reverse" genre.

Laughed out loud at this. Thanks :)

Already years ago deleted Photonicinduction his whole Youtube chanel because he said it was to much stress. People allways wanna see something bigger. He also had a problem when other people started to copy his content and others went to huge HV Labs and said "I'm better and can do it bigger than Photonicinduction".

So he deleted all his content.

But he came back and still do some videos. https://m.youtube.com/user/Photonvids/featured

The Sisyphusian struggle is real. Stop producing and revenue dwindles. Life becomes less about life and more about the next "pay cheque."

But much like repeated drug use the buzz wears off and the futility of your existence stares back at you in the mirror.

But with less new creators, what is YT going to do?

It's almost starting to feel like social media is becoming a hula hoop. Fun while it lasted. Everyone was doing it. But as the novelty wears off so does the mass and its gravity.

> But with less new creators, what is YT going to do?

Somebody else will take the viewers. Older celebrities getting out never killed any communication means. What kill those is lack of new people to take their place. YT seems to not be suffering from the later.

Perhaps. But will they be as good? I doubt it. The smart / best ones, knowing the futility, will take their time and energy elsewhere. It's a brain drain of sorts.

If the risk doesn't match the rewards the best will look to apply their energy elsewhere.

If the platform does not lose the younger public, yes, they will be just as good. People burning out on media is as old as language.

>>Life becomes less about life and more about the next "pay cheque."

That is how it has been since prehistory for most humans.

Maybe it's just my linux box but what the hell is up with the font? EvErYthInG in THiS ArTiCle lOOKs liKE tHiS SEntENCe

I'm getting that too with Linux+Firefox. Quite the ransom letter vibe.

Though strangely, if I zoom to a smaller or larger size, it looks fine.

It's using a webfont. Maybe your font renderer isn't handling it correctly. Try removing the "fonts-loaded" css class from the html element to see if that clears it up?

it looks like the 'r' and 's' characters are like 10% larger for some reason.

I'm on Linux and it looks fine for me.

Yep. Chrome on Linux here, same issue.

I tried Linux in 2008 and abandoned it because of font issues. Seems like they haven't fixed it yet.

You're responding to someone who is surprised by there being font issues. If it was a common sight, they wouldn't complain about it like this.

And it really is not a common sight. I have not had any problems with fonts in the three years that I'm using Linux.

Working around the clock and having to be perfect all the time and this isnt a surprise.

I like to evaluate a job across four metrics:

1. livelihood: does it provide enough $$.

2. meaning: the end product/service, do I find it meaningful.

3. people: do I interact with colleagues, customers, etc. whom I find interesting and respect.

4. process: do I find the work in and of itself enjoyable, tending to put me in a flow state.

The YouTubers might be lacking in 3., and depending on their personal tastes/needs, possibly the others too.

Patreon seems to be in a good position to help the creators with the demonitization situation. One of my favorite Youtube creators has a good day job and seems to deliberately try to trigger the demonitization in his videos. But he has a Patreon that he uses to both fund the videos and to limit the first day or so of release of new videos to fans. I get the impression this helps kick-start the video so that it doesn't get flagged, based on what he has said about it.

Youtube is in an interesting position right now. They have a lot of great content, but there are obvious huge problems standing in the way of run-away success. Finding new content is another of the big problems, I use Youtube a lot for "edutainment", but the recommendations engine doesn't really give me much diversity. And the diversity I explore seems to just confuse their recommendations.

YouTube is a constant grind. As a YouTuber with 15 million views and 100k subs, I can attest to this being a real thing.

I know several youtubers, and twitch streamers and the thing that is striking about them is that the time's they sound the most... mentally disturbed is when they discuss the process, the algorithms, the schedule, etc.

The passion, and angst they have for it all is obsessive, and seems very unhealthy. Looking for reasons everywhere for which signals are causing them to go down in views, or not go up. Or not go up as fast as they had planned out in some sort of scaling of the past performance they've had.

I feel quite badly for them, and it's the reason I don't bother streaming even though the few times I have, with their support I get a lot of viewers. It's a completely viable thing for me to do, but the "thing" in question is to be as unhappy as they are, and as obsessed with the detail of if people like me or not.

You couldn't pay me for that hell.

YouTube is a constant grind because the algorithms punish anyone who isn't uploading content on a regular basis. I suspect that probably has a lot to do with these meltdowns and what not, since people are forced to keep uploading content whenever possible or lose a decent chunk of their audience/their attention. There's often no time for a break if you want to succeed on the platform.

Then again, that's also a problem with a lot of Google services in general. Google search rewards those who post the most regularly too. Could be interesting to see if any bloggers or writers have similar issues with that.

You’re basically running a startup that may never get out of the startup phase. The grind is similar.

Why? Why not post less often? Is YouTube more of a grind than any job?

15 million views will give you around 20,000 dollars. Just on the verge of being livable but not yet. If you stop now it's very hard to regain the momentum.

Used to depend on the content you created. My coding channel with 30k subs made about 10-15k since 2014. That's on less than 5m views.

The ecosystem used to favor high demand niches by offering much higher CPM. It is all homogenized now and YouTube is saving the highest CPM ads for the most popular / connected creators. $1-3CPM I've heard is average. Coding videos now get around $4-$6 down from $15-$20 when I started.

Not producing frequently also reduces your CPM. Same with short length videos. Many factors go into the CPM rate now that are not great for creators.

You're assuming CPM ads. I assume sponsorship tie-ins, affiliates, promos, etc. is where the real money is at, which you can negotiate directly for at that scale.

Depending on the content, that's not always available. And while it's a more stable source of income with only 15 million views it's unlikely to be a major income stream

Damn thats illucidating. Do you enjoy making the content at least?

Cody Don, an incredible scientist, has to keep taking down his videos on mining because they involved [legal] explosives. AvE had had his share of complaints. And don't forget the myriad of firearm channels that are fighting for their livelihood.

While YouTube is a private platform and they are welcome to display whatever content they feel, it is against American ideals to censor creativity and speech if fellow citizens.

Has AvE ever had videos actually taken down, or just demonetized? He seems like he'd respond with something colorful and abrasive suggesting one consider carnal relations with headworn attire.

If you have an audience you depend on, you can't really change without risking of losing that audience. On one hand humans get used to anything (e.g. lifestyle), and otoh they also feel the need to change and make personal progress. Of course you'll be unhappy if you're used to your status quo and think you can't change for the better anymore.

Sidequest: work/life balance of an addict: 'No one tells you how many hours you should be addicted!'

Jet again another:'Striving for _more_user_ engagement'? I am just trying to get a little bit canibalism-humor out of: "googleᵀᴹ is eating children"... (-;

Its really simple, they turned their hobby into work with impossible schedules and really bad overtime. They're unhappy because the work they invented for themselves isn't based on their interests but for popularity and viewers interests. They are afraid of losing audience and missing out of more exposure, because their work defines them as a person - if they start losing popularity/attention their persona was based on, it knocks them down a peg, like a celebrity in the end of their career. So they double down on their work.

I recently watched Avicii: True Stories [1]. The film looks to have been completed before his death and is all the more sad for it. It's worth watching to see what happens when people are suddenly put into a high pressure, high performance environment

1: http://unogs.com/video/?v=80097519 looks to be available on Netflix in the EU, but for some reason nowhere else.

One aspect is that perhaps the concept of a middleman or agent for creative people is not as bad as people claim it to be. It shields you from the fans and a lot more.

I was thinking of this when I saw an article earlier today about teens moving to youtube over Facebook. You can learn a lot of things on youtube but one thing you can't learn is how not to make a youtube video about it. For example, you can learn how to build a PC on youtube, but you can't learn how to build a PC without posting a build video on youtube, on youtube.

I was playing with my cat today and he grabs the worm toy in his mouth and carries it to a spot when he captures it. It's really adorable. But the first thing in my mind was: this is so cute, I have to share it - but then he moved and the moment was over. Pulling out my phone for some snapshot/video is such an emotional drain on the moment. It's a stupid 21st century idea that somehow sharing your life with strangers through video somehow makes it more worthwhile. The views don't matter, except for $$$. It's like being at a concert and watching it through the iPhone. I can see why having to depend on "authentic video" as one's main source of $$$ has its dissociative/depressing nature. Isn't there a famous quote about how getting paid to do one's hobby often turns it into torment?

> I can see why having to depend on "authentic video" as one's main source of $$$ has its dissociative/depressing nature

Authenticity is the key to YouTube success. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made!

Right but a lot of channels like Rachel & Jun don't fake it at all. Maybe that's why they don't seem to have much burnout. Because they aren't putting on an act, or doing anything fueled by insecurity. They just love cats and nature and cooking and whatnot and most of the videos is not extremely edited or stabilized, etc.. they just film while they do some of their cool activities.

I think a lot of these YouTubers feel locked into the persona they created, and just like any lie, it's tough to remember all the details, to be contiguous.. And I'm sure it feels like something they want to get off their chest and start over as themselves.. But they are worried that their audience isn't going to be interested. I think it all depends on the audience.. Some channels have dedicated viewers. Others depend on couchsurfers and SEO/spam/keyword linkage. I think most channels that put out consistent content with consistent subscribers would do fine if they changed it up. It's probably just the level of risk that makes them worry to tears.

The one thing you can't learn from a book is how to build a PC without writing a book about it.

I really like this insight, but i don't know what to do with it.

People who watch a lot of youtube will start to feel like making youtube videos is a very common thing for average people to do. They won't realize that it takes an unusually large amount of resources and lifestyle changes to have a successful channel.

Combine learnings from multiple sources and only apply the common elements during your own build.

I don't follow individuals on YouTube but I come across their videos when sucked into the "up next vortex". If they impress me, I check their channel to see what else they have posted. This is my take based on this experience.

Most youtubers are one or more of these three:

1. They comment on things, either current events or things in general. 2. They are self designated experts in their field and dole out tips and advice. 3. They make original content of some kind, like comedy skits or other art forms.

Then there are the so called bottom feeders, the scourge of modern YouTube, the makers of reaction videos.

Their channels are updated quite frequently, if not daily at most one per week. Only small proportion of the videos is worth watching. The rest is total waste of time. Subscribers often vent their frustration in the comments about the content, but for most people you'd have to go past several pages to see disgruntled comments. The top ones are usually favorable ones, and I am unsure of their authenticity.

The fundamental problem is that these youtubers mistook dumb luck for talent. When, for some inexplicable reason, some of their early videos went viral, they were egged on by their ego to post more, which is fine. But soon when they ran out of content, instead of quitting or taking a break to regroup, they continued to post substandard content.

I know I am being overtly judgemental by using words like 'substandard', and one might contest that by showing how popular these people are - some were even guests on popular US talk shows (one shiela was even on Conan) - but that is my point. I am amazed at the success they got despite such content. I wonder what kind of people are impressed by such content. Its one of the great sociological mysteries to me because, unlike a low quality TV show that persists due to studio bosses persisting with it for whatever reason, on social media things survive due to direct audience interest.

Quality intellectual output is quite hard. Even the most gifted comedian won't be funny all the time, the most gifted musician won't make good music all the time, the most gifted philosopher won't say deep thought provoking things all the time. In the current state of society where instant gratification is craved, people don't understand this, and it shows in how mediocrity succeeds time and again in all walks of life.

I think this burn out thing is their coming to terms with their lack of quality content and sort of giving up being an imposter. That said, some of the youtubers who post original content are indeed good. If they take time off and develop their talent, they could make a proper career out of it.

You never get paid to do what you love what you love just ends up turning into a job.

youtube/streaming is a low-barrier to entry version of being an actor.

so all the crap that actors/actresses put up with is likely to apply to youtube/twitch people.

dreams, pressure, long-hours, fame, ratings anxiety, envy, fans, meltdowns. etc.

Your Daily Dose of Internet guy is teetering on burnout from solo grind.

Welcome to self-employment: Twice the work for half the pay.

I see the push to publish frequently has turned YouTube into a perfect hamster wheel :D

Another funny consequence of algorithmic optimization. Seems like people that came up with it weren't as smart as they thought. Hint: if 99.99% of your users are consumers and 0.01% are creative producers, from whose only 1/1000 can consistently perform, you wouldn't want to drive them to the ground. Also, pushing increased frequency inevitable lowers quality and increases noise of your platform and prevents unique but occasional hits from being properly rewarded. Is that really good for advertisement?

Ideally people would create content and ones that create more often would have more relevant, better videos because they are committed and professional. It all looks like it went "Cobra effect" where algo incentives are right but people are gaming system so they get profits. The same with SEO, more links to your site better ranking -> people invent link farms. While idea was great in practice all turns out you got bunch of people breeding cobras, links, videos.

When the idea is to showcase what others want you to be and not what you actually want to be; I doubt long-term happiness is on the line.

Many youtubers emote (portray emotion in a theatrical manner) the events and issues they narrate. Their work description is simply to be emotionally enthusiastic of whatever happens.

If the content of the channel is not deeply meaningful for it's creator anymore, the job loses meaning. The attention and popularity are rewarding but the effect wears out. If the enthusiasm is not genuine, it starts to feel bad.

I didn't even know about this person, and this got her a view from me. I just fell into the trap of watching a useless "vlogger".

Not that I don't acknowledge mental health as an actual malady, Some people truely need help. Just that I think this particular case is bogus. Especially when your so called break involves creating so much video.

I'm a youtuber with 30M views and 300k+ subs and I can totally see how this is happening.

Luckily, I'm a little older and have worked in entertainment with the talent side previously, so I've already had my burn out phase and have also seen and understand what fame and/or public attention does to someone, especially if they're mentally unwell.

Not tooting my own horn, but it takes incredible discipline and foresight to not get sucked into this vortex of needing to please your audience and sponsors and to do everything all at once.

We live in a time when things that are extremely hard or time-consuming are supposed to happen quickly and easily (the magic of editing!) No more is this apparent than on youtube. The main audience on YT are in their mid-20's and younger, who basically grew up in a world where literally everything is at their fingertips, at the drop of a hat. This definitely reflects in their media consumption patterns/platforms of choice. The problem is that for someone in a business where you (or a small team) basically do everything and are pressured by fans and revenue generators/sponsors to keep putting out content at a crazy pace, it becomes all-consuming and unsustainable.

I told our team from day one that collectively, the audience doesn't care about you - they're vampires. They're voracious and fickle and only care about you so long as you keep giving them that sweet, delicious content. Yet, if you start off on the right foot, you can keep their appetites satiated without screwing yourself over.

My partner and small team and I decided early on that we'd focus on better content less often, and keep engagement on the platform with fans to a manageable amount. We knew this would impact revenue and growth, but for our literal sanity, it was necessary and we're so thankful to have started this way. We made very little money the first year of doing the business but each year has gotten bigger and better and sponsors/brands have come through citing the lack of us "whoring" ourselves out for a quick buck or views as the reason they're wanting to pay us 6 figures to work together. So while it might seem like we're giving up fame and riches, you're only partially right - definitely giving up fame, but the revenue growth has been incredible because we've stayed the course and kept our heads about us.

As a fan of other channels on the platform, especially Elle Mills and Casey Neistat, you see that mental illness is a big issue and putting someone already fragile in a position to deal with immense pressure to produce more and more that it becomes a pressure cooker and too much to handle. Elle is the perfect example of this. As a fan of Casey's I'm often struck by his lack of empathy or understanding that filming constantly, and then editing for 4-8 hours everyday, all while getting 3-4 hours of sleep with little downtime is not sustainable for 99.999% of people. I'm still unsure if he's one of the few people that need that little sleep or he maybe is a little bi-polar. As evidence of the effects of his punishing schedule, he recently started working with a filmmaker named Dan Mace. He was constantly sleeping on camera, missing small things in edits, etc that you can't help but feel for him. Casey even goaded him on a little bit and told him this is how you have to work to be successful on Youtube - he's not wrong, but he's also not understanding that success means different things to different people. He clearly loves/needs the attention, so I get why he thinks this way, but he's missing the bigger picture outside his little world. Keeping up with Casey's schedule looks punishing on it's easiest day and is the surest way to get burnt out, all in the service of something, quite frankly, so fickle.

TLDR; Audiences are like vampires and there's immense pressure on creators to constantly create/earn revenue/build audience which is not good for anyone mentally healthy and disastrous for someone not mentally fit.

> I told our team from day one

That italicized word makes a huge difference in avoiding burnout. When a team is right, many things are possible. If it is missing, there is no support for burnout.

You're not wrong, but my partner's role was only in the videos for the first year and we both have full time jobs outside of this. It helped, but not as much as you'd think, I pretty much did 99% of everything myself.

Do you mind me asking how much you make from 300k subscribers? Or how much someone could expect to make based on subscribers?

I know I have subscribed to a few channels and watched them a lot initially then found them a bit boring after while. I never bothered to un-subscribe. (Somewhat related - interestingly my Stack Overflow score stays quite consistent despite not having done much for a while, the answers I have put on there a while ago still seem to get upvotes).

You can make anywhere from 3 to 5k just off youtube views/ads for that size of subscriber base. We don't really do anything that goes viral, so that can go up the more views/viral views you get, but we always considered the youtube ad money to be an added bonus. The actual subscribers are worth nothing, it's the views they give you and non-subscribers give you that you make money from. YT is a marketing channel for us, so we don't really think of it as a large revenue generator. Do not build a business around youtube ad money unless you're only wanting to do videos with the mindset of trying to go viral multiple times and get millions of subscribers.


Well produced, but if I can be blunt: Why wouldn't you pitch something like this as a series to Vice Media or similar outfit? It'd seem right at home with them. It's decent content (I'm a crypto/blockchain fan) that is quite long and there's nothing to make me care about you or the people involved. How are the people and companies chosen and why are they chosen? Unless I'm missing something while skimming through the videos, I'd want to know who you are and why you're doing this series and then why I should watch each episode - explain to me, on camera, in the first 30 seconds, why I should care about the people/companies featured and then go talk to them, with yourself being on camera, as well. So far, there's really no reason to follow these or care. Following a personality or good company story makes me care.

Best of luck!

Thanks so much, I really appreciate the help. I'm going to delete my comment in a few minutes to preserve a little bit of anonymity, but I've taken your advice to heart and will work on it.

Sex sells, but you can't put that on youtube, so the next best thing is drama. Everybody loves some drama.

>>Sex sells, but you can't put that on youtube, so the next best thing is drama

Not really. Just like everything else it is only the top percent of any industry that rakes all the money.

I'm more of a Patreoner, making around $1000 a month through Patreon and my audio DSP plugins and around $20 a month from YouTube. I have a good sense of why these people are burning out.

The only reason I'm able to do that well (still far below minumum wage, if minimum wage legitimately gave you 40 hours a week which I think generally it won't) is that I spent close to ten years entrepreneurially running the same business as a commercial proposition, all by myself. I made between twice and four times as much selling plugins directly to people, but it was COMPLETELY unpredictable and the Patreon is not nearly as unpredictable: provided they don't implode, it's a slow steady growth curve as more people discover what I do.

And going commercial didn't protect me from things imploding: I went to Patreon because I'd been using Kagi as a payment processor, and they imploded. They still owe me two months' pay that I will never see. Patreon was one of those bold intuitive jumps where I went 'I'm happier giving my work away, let's gamble my whole life on this working, and if it fails, whatever, I didn't want to live anyway'. Turned out I was able to survive on it, and the relative predictability of the admittedly-lower income is good for my mental health.

That was where keeping up a better-than-monthly grind of product releases got me, when I absolutely depended on having 'hit' products to sell to make up for the ones that fizzled, and never knew what was actually going to hit. It's this which is killing the YouTubers.

It's not just that they don't know which videos will go viral, it's that they also don't know what the rules are or will be, and worse, they are subject to being algorithmically handicapped in a way they are blind to. The whole system is set up to goad them on to unrealistic behavior, and appears to silently punish them for failure to comply. All they can do is cling to cargo-cult-like obsessive lowest-common-denominator stuff and double down on what they think will help them, which is never actually confirmed by YouTube. This is a recipe for killing people, in action.

Being an entrepreneur and small business owner is already sort of fraught with uncertainty: you can fall back on 'if I work hard and do what I do, I can get through to a certain number of people and build a following'. Being a 'Youtuber' is more than twice as bad, because it's that except that your platform can and does literally stop you getting through to your own people if they want to connect your people to some newer youtuber that they would rather stick in the recommendations. The very act of getting through at all is subject to restriction by the YouTube that you're working for, so it's no wonder people are going insane trying to please YouTube.

> It's not just that they don't know which videos will go viral, it's that they also don't know what the rules are or will be, and worse, they are subject to being algorithmically handicapped in a way they are blind to...

That’s a fantastic summary. We’re all, viewers and creators, rats hitting the lever, not sure when it’ll give us a fresh burst of satisfaction.

YouTube is the plantation, farming up views, Google the slave master and the algo is their whip.

...except anyone can leave and get a new job, at any moment.

The "slave" analogy is completely flawed.

It is not an analogy, it is a stylistic exaggeration.

European literature is full of this and educated people are expected to detect it as such.

You can just call it "hyperbole."

It's a cheap trick which is why it belongs in dramatic literature, not in a discussion based on reason and facts.

Another cheap trick is making an alternate throw-away account rather than having a history of comments that people can refer to, to see if you have contributed positively in the past, or if you're just an obnoxious troll.

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop

And an illustrated book about birds

The sort of person who goes for a job in the public eye is not the sort of person who is mentally stable. The constant need for validation from other will in due course found to be yet another mental illness.

That entertainment industries are filled with people like this suffering while being ridiculously successful is a universal across virtually all media.

Not everyone goes into the public eye because they're mentally ill, but having worked in entertainment, there was definitely a higher percentage of mentally unstable people. I could never tell if they got that way or came into the business that way. I'd say for actors, at least, most of them are mentally off in some way or another.

You are being down voted but I see some truth in what you say. I wouldn't go as far as to say its a mental illness but there definitely seems some narcissism in wanting to be a youtube star.

>The constant need for validation from other will in due course found to be yet another mental illness.

Do personality disorders count as mental illness, or are they distinct?

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Psychology is fad based, mostly bullshit and still not able to deal with the fact that correlation does not imply causation.

So to answer your question: who cares, these people need help.

In psychological science "personality disorders" are a class of so-called "disorders" that other people believe are bad, but that the person with the "disorder" does not believe is bad.

It is controversial to claim that someone with a "personality disorder" needs help.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egosyntonic_and_egodystonic

'"personality disorders" are a class of so-called "disorders" that other people believe are bad but that the person with the "disorder" does not believe is bad'

I don't think that's accurate. A "personality disorder" doesn't necessarily involve anosognosia, nor is it limited to things that cause conflict with other people like borderline or narcissistic personality disorders.

What if they don't want help?

Most alcoholics don't want help. Doesn't mean they don't need it.

If rent and other serious expenses weren't so costly, then we wouldn't need to work as much.

Then we could all breathe a little bit and work a reasonable schedule with a healthy appreciation for creativity.

Just like any other celebrities?

Talk about first world problems.

FTA: “Like, this is the ultimate. And if you achieve this kind of success on this platform, which so many people try to do, like, how dare you complain about it? It is difficult to talk about because unless you’ve been in this position, I think it’s challenging to empathize with it.”

Of course, I think this also very neatly summarizes our views on mental health and mental issues.

Burnout is burnout. Do you sneer at people burning out on their office jobs too? Because this is the same thing: they voluntarily chose this job, but that doesn't mean they are exempt from sympathy when the job requirements cause them to have a breakdown.

They even go as far as threatening suicide to make money:


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