Navigating the fine line of attracting a ton of attention for only the right reasons is likely to get more difficult if there aren’t some serious changes to the business of doing show business online. The (theoretical) democracy of YouTube, where anyone can become a star if they’ve got enough talent, however loosely defined, certainly seems like a nice idea. But if it comes with a human cost, it’s worth looking into installing some guardrails.
What might those guardrails look like? YouTube could consider taking responsibility for its more famous creators: Providing support, guidance and privacy protection for the people whose efforts are generating income for the company. It could consider creating tutorials for all YouTubers, explaining the ins and outs of navigating online fame, and doing its best to prepare users for the difficulties of navigating success online. On a fundamental level, it could stop seeing itself as an open marketplace for video content, and start considering that, in many ways, it’s a broadcast network that owes its talent more guidance — and guidelines — than it has historically provided.