Broadcast Yourself

29 01 2012

The problem with citizen journalism is that it puts a microphone in the hands of every person with an internet connection. The flipside is that they just might strike it rich.

Well, “rich” may be stretching it, but for folks like Tay Zonday (aka Adam Bahner) and his huge online hit Chocolate Rain, it is possible to earn a modest living. And as is sometimes pathetically apparent, you really do not even have to be good.

Basically, YouTube has turned into an entrepreneurial zone, a Wild West in which anyone with a video camera and a few ounces of creative license can blaze a path toward stardom and wealth. In the case of Zonday, it can mean a survivable income (YT has a rev share program for some 20,000+ partners, and pays $1-3 for every 1000 views). Others, though, like Dane Boedigheimer’s Annoying Orange, have many millions of views. Can you say cha-ching?

You may start wondering why the hell you stuck it out this long in college.

It’s almost like YouTube has become an underground Hollywood. Some YT stars have in fact pulled up stakes and moved to LA to be closer to the action (in hopes, no doubt, of joining the mainstream entertainment industry).

With 48 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, the odds of you or me or anyone else becoming famous are rather slim. The viral model will have to kick in for this miracle to occur. But it does. Each and every day. And that’s the beauty of it.

And it is also rather generous of YouTube to have a rev share program with its heavy hitters. After all, they are generating traffic, and this gives these folks incentive to keep producing potentially viral content.

More than anything, though, it reiterates the change among us: We no longer need reach for establishment media to get our fix, be it news or entertainment. This fact alone should send quivers up and down the spine of the Fourth Estate as well as Hollywood, because it means we are all potential competitors. That Gogle is willing to partner with over 20,000 bespeaks the magnitude of this revolution.

Things will never be the same in print or on the screen.

And it also means I need to get the creative juices flowing, because there is hope that even a mere mortal such as me might one day score a viral hit. I know I can do better than Mr. Zonday. We have umbrellas for that kind of stuff.

Dr “Share It and Subscribe It” Gerlich

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