It might have came to your attention that some YouTubers have landed themselves in rather hot water lately. The row essentially boils down to two top gaming personalities, “TmarTn“, and “Syndicate“, misleading their multi-million subscriber communities. We know that gaming isn’t for everyone, but there’s something we’re interested in here – and that’s the importance of sincerity when producing content. To provide context for those who don’t follow these circles, here’s a quick and easy to follow summary about what’s happened.
TmarTn and Syndicate have been high-profile YouTubers, famed for their gaming videos, and making several million dollars from their work. Not a bad pay for video games, and the most recent game of choice is Counter-Strike:Global Offensive (hereafter known as CS:GO). CS:GO is a first person shooter, playable online with millions of others, and has a highly engaged, publicized, and lucrative competitive scene – winners at the top of the game can make a great deal of cash in tournaments and sponsorship. While TmarTn and Syndicate aren’t top competitive gamers, together, they founded a website called CSGOLotto, a site that allows users to enter their in-game items in a lottery, with the winner taking home all the items. The more valuable the item, the more tickets it buys you in the lottery. The issue arises, because these items aren’t cheap. In fact, many can be sold for several hundred dollars per item. Both YouTubers ran videos that generated millions of views promoting the site, with them playing and winning big – but with them owning the site, the validity and fairness of the results are now under scrutiny. After all, if you run the website and can access the back-end – how random are the results really going to be? However, the point of this article isn’t to do with why someone would spend a large sum of cash for pixels in a particular formation and colour that has no benefit or extra powers. It is to do with two things – authenticity from content generators, and a snapshot at what social media actually “is”.
To quote the great Oscar Wilde, author of our article’s slightly butchered title;
“The truth is rarely pure, and never simple”.
Social media, and the ways in which we can share information, continues to grow each day. The sheer volume of information exchanged per day, if burned to a Blu-Ray disc and stacked high, is greater than four Eiffel Towers. That’s a lot of cat pictures. But it’s also a lot of opinion and perspective. What’s been incredibly interesting while watching this story unfold, is the interpretation of “the truth”, both from the individuals involved, and members of their respective loyal community. While the videos have been much criticized, TmarTn has taken the approach of YouTube apology videos in a bid to explain his actions. By contrast, Syndicate has taken a more self-deprecating stance, and poked fun at it in video descriptions. Both users have found themselves being targeted with a severe backlash from their following on social media, and have fought to get fans on their side. In all likelihood, had both contributors made videos that clearly outlined they were playing on a site that they owned from day one, nobody would bat an eye-lid. But through pretending to have no affiliation, they have deceived millions of viewers – and in all likelihood, several thousand players as a direct result of the videos. To some degree, had they been transparent, they would likely have experienced the same volume of traffic from the same adoring fans. Alas, we all have 20/20 vision when it comes to hindsight. In an article for Forbes, Nick Morgan highlighted the importance of authenticity and charisma in leadership communication. In an extension of this, we believe it shares equal value when considering our social voice.
YouTube is a much forgotten part of the social networking scene. Not because you don’t know what YouTube is (how did you make it here and not!?), but because it doesn’t fit what would now be considered the traditional social network. However YouTube remains the most efficient vehicle for sharing a message on video. Yes, Snapchat is wonderful. But we don’t mean a quick advert of promotion from an individual. We mean a “message”, a cause, a point for the world to know or share. YouTube is about the community, whereas Snapchat is about the individual. If we talk to social communities without sincerity and authenticity, then very quickly we’ll see that audience turn into enemies, or worse still, feel nothing towards our voice or brand. We want to communicate clearly, effectively, and above all, honestly. This, in our humble opinion, is the greatest failing of these two YouTubers. Not the result of what they’ve done, but the actions which created the result. To again quote Mr Wilde;
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”
“Fiction”, is the key point here. While we all hope that a villain will get their comeuppance, it’s sadly not often the case. However, a quick glimpse at social media in it’s current form would highlight a change. Through the ability for live and public broadcast, from video to text, we’re able to expose lies, deceit and tyranny across the world – from the Arab Spring, to police shootings. Social media is rapidly becoming the enforcer of our modern lives, and the ever present watchdog. Often playful, always vigilant. In many regards as a social media software company, one of our key roles must always be in helping this communication, and not standing in the way of it. With this in mind, you can count on us for two things – Transparency and Ease. Transparency about how we operate. Ease for people to use. Our latest mission, is in helping people find their audience on social media.
Transparency: We’d like you to give it a try, and have made it really easy to cancel if it’s not for you.
Ease: You can click the big button below.
– The SoGrow Team