Brookers is a well-known YouTube video star who put out a video recently that I loved. When Brookers first got attention for her videos, she seemed to think that maybe it could lead to a career. After all, millions of people were watching her videos, right? She even got a call to go work for Carson Daly on his evening show. But that opportunity turned into nothing, and she realized that the artists won't make money off Web 2.0. Not that many people are watching! Even the best of Web 2.0, like Brookers or LonelyGirl15 on Youtube, or Deadspin.com for sports blogs, or the biggest bands on Myspace, are a fraction of the world's population. And they all are quietly gaming their numbers: Myspace leaves up old and deserted profiles, I've written about how Gawker's numbers may be inflated here, and Youtube artists often cheat with made-up profiles to inflate their view numbers.
So why be so excited about it? Why not just call it what it is; people having fun and expressing themselves the way they want to? Don't quit your job to sportsblog, or think you're going to become an Internet star; treat it like the hobby it is. Listen to the video carefully. Again, this features two so-called stars of the Youtube video community, IJustine and Brookers.
You know who is making money? The hosts! Myspace, Facebook, Gawker, and Youtube are the store owners to this 21st century gold rush. And in most cases, they aren't giving a dime to the artists who are making it all possible, or the readers who keep the conversation going. I'm not saying they should, necessarily, although I'd love to see some kickbacks to key artists like Brookers or star commenters like Camp Tiger Claw. (Perhaps as well I should be fined for my contributions!) And it is free entertainment.
But let's not get so hyped up on Web 2.0 that we fail to listen to the message Brookers is giving here. The ratings and the money just aren't big enough to justify the hype. I see this video as a sort of symbol of the beginning of the end of the Web 2.0 hype. I personally have been a little too excited about Web 2.0 and the tasty crumbs it's tossed me on occasion (being linked to from blogs associated with ESPN.com and the Washington Post, getting the occasional e-mail from someone I did a post on, etc.). Web 2.0's fun, but it's not worth losing any relationships over, doing a halfway job at work, or blogging when you should be doing other things.