Synyster Graves

Sub4Sub Culture: The Darker Side of YouTube

by on Aug.02, 2020, under Angry Rants, True Stories

Promoting your YouTube channel is not easy, especially when you’re starting out. Managing to self promote is not an easy thing to do, it’s hard getting your name/channel out there without either a) forcing your content on some unwitting person, or b) sounding like an arrogant jerk. I decided to go down the route of promoting my site on twitter whereby I was added to a group purporting to “create a community by supporting fellow creators”. Now to anyone who is just starting out on their YouTube journey this sounds like a great opportunity.

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So this group had rules. Now the first red flag for me was a non-negotiable rule set slapped in your face immediately as you join. Now call me a cynic but a “safe environment for people to grow” shouldn’t really read like the parameters of a boarding school. But I followed the rules. You had to watch every single video posted in the forum before being allowed to put any of your own plugs. In essence that sounds like it works, but then again so does many things.

So I (in gullible fashion) watched every single video from after I’d joined the group, and even left a like and commented on everything! It took me the best part of a week of my free time just to catch up. I then proceeded to post my own content. While the hits on the videos were going up, so were comments and likes. “This is great” I thought. And then I read the comments. All of them were glib, generic nothings indicating to me that they hadn’t watched the videos more than 15 seconds according to the analytics. Foolishly I carried on blindly supporting my fellow creators in the group. And the reciprocal support back my way continued to be limp and meaningless. I wasn’t getting anywhere near the same level of support back from what I was putting in.

Then this “leader” of the group started changing when you could and couldn’t plug your own material. It always seemed very convenient that the prime times for plugging material was when HE decided. And what was worse he was plugging whole 5 hour playlists. I tried getting through the list, I really did, but his style of delivery was boring and incredibly un-entertaining. It felt like a chore, a laborious undertaking of a game I had little interest in and was not placated by the fact the guy had zero personality to accompany it. So I tabbed it, thinking at least he will benefit from some watch time from me. What I did not expect was some subsequent post pretty much quizzing me what happened in the game? So not only was he trying to force me into watching 5 hours of my life ebb away into a poorly edited rendition of a game I had zero interest in, I got a goddamn quiz at the end?

No sorry, that was it for me. While I had made some twitter friends from the group, I had enough of this guys’ agenda as clearly the sole reason for it’s existence is to pad his own subs/watch times/views. So I left the group as it was starting to affect me. What I did not expect was the petty backlash. I got blocked on twitter, and then the toxic man-child decided to accuse me of using the group for follows. Considering how much of the last month I have dedicated to supporting and watching everyone’s material for little or no benefit, I get accused for using them?

tweet1It just didn’t stop there after being blocked on twitter, suddenly about eight of my videos on Youtube mysteriously appeared a dislike vote, meaning he actively went through my own youtube backlog seeking to down vote all my material. For what purpose? To make himself feel better? What does that achieve? All it served to prove was leaving the group was the best thing to do, as it was basically a lie. A misleading deception for the sole purpose of padding this guy’s subscription count, which is beyond pathetic. The toys were well and truly thrown out of the pram when he shut the group down shortly after I left. Finally, everyone else had seen what I had seen, the whole premise was a lie. His pathetic and childish behaviour in the aftermath just showed that a) he was only in it for himself, and b) the vindictive nature of his reaction only showed that the deception was exposed and the gig was up. He was found out. And he was trying to cover his tracks trying to cause as much collateral damage as possible. All this tells me what a toxic individual he was, and cutting and running was his own reprieve.

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Sure, when you’re a content creator you get spammed with people demanding you subscribe to their channel. But you can just ignore it. It’s pretty black and white. What is not ok is the premise of support, when in reality that was one toxic idiot’s attempt to convince himself he was some kind of influencer. His behaviour throughout was suspect, sending unsolicited DM’s to the girls in the group, constantly adding young female YouTubers to the group under the guise of helping their channels. It was dark. Very dark. And I couldn’t support someone who abuses his perceived influence for his sordid and lecherous gratification. Not only was he an awful person, he was pretty much a groomer and while the internet is littered with such terrible individuals, this one was trying to make people do as he commanded, which in the context of that group was incredibly unhealthy.

So if you’re starting out on YouTube, yes it is daunting and sure I am not exactly a YouTube star, but be careful, because there are people who will use your good nature to their own means. I came a cropper of such a premise, I do not want it happening to you. He will do this again, mark my words, and the next batch of creators wanting to make a go of it will be snared and this will happen again. He will just move on like a virus and do this all over again. But this will not make him a happy person.

If your content is good, people will find it, and people will stay around to watch your material. Have faith in what you’re doing. Someone somewhere out there will appreciate you and your material. It may happen overnight, it may happen months from now. I would rather have less subs, who comment and enjoy my content rather than 500+ subs who couldn’t care less. But don’t let people convince you that co-supporting is watching lots of stuff you’re not interested in is the way to do it. You will find like-minded creators on your YouTube journey and they will be your co-support. If you sense that people or groups who claim to support you when your analytics suggest otherwise, get out. It is not good for you. Just keep doing what you’re doing and people will appreciate you. 

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