I’m not a happy person right now. Earlier today, an older relative of mine – someone who I had previously considered as very close to me – said that they were “appalled that I had the audacity to say that what I did online was considered work“. Saying that what I do in making various videos for YouTube, and earning money from that media based on a contract I have with an American media company, was not real work.
Now, I’m well aware that currently this doesn’t earn me enough money by itself to be able to live off, and because of this I wouldn’t ever go out and say that I do this for a living. But I take serious offence to being told that I’m not doing “work”, period.
In this day and age, traditional forms of media are having less of an impact on people. User-created content is easier than ever to create and share with the masses, and digestion of this media is incredibly easy to do. The barrier to entry is incredibly low, allowing people to more easily express their creativity. I started my videos just as a side thing – a hobby – but over the past couple of years with my following and viewership having grown, the responsibility I have for it has followed suit, growing to what I would consider to be work.
I’ve always found Stuart “XboxAhoy” Brown to be a great example for people who want to make something out of this. He went from creating weapon guides for the Call of Duty series on his own YouTube channel, to being hired under contract by Activision themselves to create his brand of media explicitly for them.
Through making these gaming videos, I’ve acquired a lot of skills in the editing room; but I’ve also been able to utilise these skills to work with real-world footage that I’ve taken at various events to create media for consumption by those events. This helps to increase my portfolio of work to showcase for other events who might want me to create something for them.
I’ve also learnt a lot through the event management and social media work I’ve been doing over the past few years for Eirtakon. Being able to learn how to set up and run a large-scale event, engage with attendees and fans, in addition to other PR work, isn’t really something that they can effectively teach you out of a book in a lecture hall. So to be told by people I know that I’ll never get anywhere without first having a degree is an absolute load of bull.
With any luck, within a couple of short years I will be able to go out and say, “Yes, this is what I work at for a living” – but until then, being spoken down upon by someone just because they had to do a lot more work than this to get by however many years ago, is really fucking offensive.