To Vlog or not to Vlog: My Love/Hate Relationship with YouTube

I have the biggest love/hate relationship with YouTube and I find it so hard to express it properly. Whenever I feel like it’s been too long since I last uploaded a video, I panic and try to quickly make one and then I remember that I don’t think I want to make one… but maybe, I do want to make one?… As I’m sure you can see, my love/hate war that is going on here is currently all guns blazing.

I started to make YouTube videos a few years ago because I liked how expressive I found the medium. It was also relatively underpopulated at this point because not many people were narcissistic enough to think that their voice was worthy of being heard, but it seems like 11 year old Shaun was (still is: this blog post is headed with a year old photograph of myself) and – for better or for worse – my first YouTube channel was born. The use of “first” there does imply that that channel came to an end though, which is a decision I’ve made multiple times through my YouTube life; I tend to make a channel, work on it for a while and then delete it. And why might that be? I think it’s because, as time goes on, the platform is becoming more and more over-saturated and less and less creative that it isn’t fun anymore.

Hear me out: while it’s impossible to expect all YouTubers to upload videos of them travelling to cool places or short films that they’ve written and created, that is exactly the kind of thing that I like. Heck, I think simple sit down chatty videos make fantastic original and creative content. I think that true creativity on YouTube is what makes the platform a much more beautiful place, but the popularisation of it has meant that a lot of the content is not that way and as a result, people tend to follow that trend. I myself am guilty of following this trend when I’ve uploaded things in the past and that is something that has infuriated me a lot. I seem to have this burning desire to only ever produce things that come from a passionate and creative place and posting a video about my top five Disney movies because I felt like I needed to post something on my YouTube channel is absurd to me. The whole point of blogging – no matter if you’re being paid for it or not – is to create stuff that you love and forcing myself to simply upload a YouTube video every week for the sake of remaining active is ridiculous. I am so bored of producing content for the sake of it and I am finally allowing myself to not force that anymore.

My taste in YouTube is very varied from chatty blog post-style videos, to peoples’ daily vlogs, to prank call videos (if I’m feeling really trashy – to me, they’re basically the Geordie Shore of YouTube). With this varied taste also comes confusion with what I want to put out there. No, I am not a sexy teenage boy who can sit down with my fellow sexy friends and make a prank call video and I know that so I won’t do it, same as how I can appreciate a good meal but I can’t cook food for shit so I won’t try and become a chef. The curse of a platform that is now becoming so much more accessible is that it’s so easy to enjoy something that is on there and assume that you can do it too. It’s not like going to the cinema and realising the massive difference between yourself and Spielberg and then remembering that you can’t just pop home and make Jurassic Park 5, because Zoella is just a normal person and I CAN MAKE A PRETTY AUTUMN LOOKBOOK AS WELL.

After a lot of thought and deliberation though, I did finally realise what I wanted to do on my YouTube channel: whatever the fuck I thought was worthy of making a video on. Who gives a crap if I don’t upload a video from one month to the next? As far as I’m concerned, the content I like putting out is stuff that takes some time to work on, much like previous things I’ve done like Light The Lights and Opening Doors. I like to do massive passion projects and spend forever working on them and to me, YouTube is just another one of those opportunities; it’s different to blogging where I can just write whenever I like. I found the platform for that right here, so I can’t force myself to do it on YouTube as well – it’s a bit like navigating Instagram Stories and Snapchat at the same time; you only really want to do one but you kind of feel like you should be doing both even though they are the exact same thing for different styles of people.

While I love talking and performing for an audience, it has taken me years to realise that YouTube isn’t the place for ramblings like this one. YouTube is a platform where I can share video when the words cannot express what I want to describe – much like how music is used in a musical – and that’s fine. I can still continue to enjoy watching daily vlogs and fun videos for my own entertainment, but it doesn’t mean that I have to be a part of that. So, when I go on a fun trip or I make a video that I think is worthy of being shared, I’ll put it up on YouTube. But for now, I think I’ll leave it to the professionals while I go and watch yet another “Calling In Sick To Places I Don’t Work At” video.

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