Special Snowflakes

You might ask yourself, “Am I special?” The short answer is “yes and no.” Any thought you have, any difficult situation you’ve been in, any particular talents, etc., that you have are already owned by someone else. What makes people “special” or “unique” is the combination of all of those things, along with your physical appearance, social network, etc. But if you’re a realist, you know that nobody manages to stand out very much in the world unless he or she is one of those incredibly rare people who stays in the public eye for a long time and achieves either fame or notoriety.

So why should the world of online “success” be any different? In this article, a millennial bemoans the fact that YouTube fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. For one, that fame doesn’t necessarily come with fortune. A YouTuber can work hard for weeks to create a short video, get millions of “likes” and comments, but receive no monetary reward.

This “crisis” isn’t that surprising. Artists have slaved over their art for thousands of years, never making much money in their lifetime. I would imagine that it would be even more difficult for someone posting videos to YouTube to achieve fame: it’s free to create your channel, which means anyone with an Internet connection can make one, and almost everything you can possibly think of to make a video about has already been done before, probably better than you could ever do it. It’s the same for writing blogs or novels or drawing or sculpting or any other artistic endeavor.

Does that mean you’re supposed to give up and quit making videos or writing or doing what makes you happy? Of course not. If you love it, do it. But I think content creators are wrong in expecting that they should be able to automatically make a living from their hobbies. You shouldn’t expect to get money just because your subscribers or readers admire you and see you as special. It is only the top 0.1% who make enough money to live on, but because they are at the top doesn’t necessarily mean they have something that you don’t. There are many combinations of factors that go into a person becoming famous and/or rich, and being “special” or “unique” is just one of those factors.

tl;dr: Everyone’s special, but not everyone’s special enough to be famous.