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The Minority Report | Ashley Kim

Photo Credit: Bobby Jones

I have learned how to do most things from YouTube. With one click and a little bit of effort, a “How to” video is always available to teach me a new skill set. And when I’m bad at something, a search for “fail” videos makes me feel better because I convince myself that I could be worse.

I first became infatuated with YouTube about 10 years ago, after spending countless hours with Michelle Phan, an iconic beauty guru. She taught me how to do “natural looking” makeup and “makeup for glasses.” Through the time I spent following her tutorials, she started to feel like a good friend. And, she had helped me—a 12-year-old prepubescent and painfully awkward girl—find a new kind of confidence in myself.

Michelle Phan and other creators like her  inspired me. They still do. Through being unapologetic and passionate, they continuously inspire me to be authentic in the pursuit of my dreams. They have impacted my life in ways that I will be forever grateful for—and so much so that I wanted to start creating videos of my own.

So, I started vlogging and quickly fell in love with filming and editing videos. I was ecstatic when I was able to turn that passion into income.

Earlier this month, YouTube announced a new set of standards for the YouTube Partner Program—a program allows creators to monetize their content with premium ad revenue. YouTube is now requiring creators to have a total of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of total watch time on their videos over a year in order to join the Program at all. Due to these new restrictions, my videos will no longer be monetized.

10 years ago, YouTube and its community was less exclusive, more relaxed, and overall just different. Everything seemed more accessible. Now, YouTube is the opposite.

At first, I thought that YouTube was making it more difficult for me—a small, already-struggling creator—to make a living off of doing what she loves. But, I think this is an opportunity for me to push myself and a reminder that passion—not income—should be my drive. 

YouTube at the corporate level still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. (I truly don’t think they have creators’ best interest at heart.) Despite this, I’ll still create, at least to improve my own skill set, if anything. Who knows, maybe I’ll help a few people along the way and maybe one day, I’ll get to monetize my passions again.

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