You know when you watch a YouTuber’s vlog and think to yourself that they’ve got the dream job? This might come as a surprise, but it isn’t all that rosy behind the scenes.
Here’s how it usually goes. At first, they pour their heart and soul into the kind of content they’re passionate about. Soon, they’re sucked into the dark world of clickbait, clout chasing and algorithms. When it all becomes too much, they log off from the platform – sometimes it’s a temporary hiatus, other times it’s permanent.
It’s the result of what some call “YouTube brain,” which is when you’re constantly trying to appease your masses creatively and meet their constant demand for attention for less and less financial return.
“It is brilliant and terrifying how much information YouTube gives you about your content and your audience,” said Dan Howell, long-time YouTube vlogger with 6 million subscribers. “If you’re making a video from the heart, truly expressing yourself … you are greeted with a wall of red lines saying ‘Sorry, nobody likes this, sweetie.’”
In 2010, former makeup guru Michelle Phan claimed that a “sign from God” had saved her from being murdered by a homeless man. More recently, Phan claimed that she “healed a man who had been in a wheelchair for years” through the power of “Divine Love.” These are tell-tale signs of chronic YouTube brain – “unconventional thinking amped up by shock value” – according to Vox correspondent Rebecca Jennings.