Let me preface this by saying there is never any justification for such a shooting.
Let me also reiterate what I’ve said many — too many — times: If you want to go shoot many people, shoot yourself first. Because by thinking that way, you have become the problem, not anyone else.
I haven’t been following all of the details of YouTube’s changes that affected many small creators and demonetized their channels. Rumor has it that a very, very large number of people were affected and simply gave up posting new videos. For a global behemoth such as Google/YouTube, taking pennies away from people doesn’t matter. But to the people receiving those pennies, it mattered. It was a form of validation, a reward for doing work people watched, and — although Google/YouTube would find this difficult to even imagine — those few pennies could actually make a huge difference in someone’s very tight, life-constraining budget. Google/YouTube acted in a hamfisted, obtuse, and callous manner that baffled and — as evidenced by yesterday’s tragic event — enraged those already standing at the edge of sanity.
That doesn’t in any way excuse or justify the shooting.
But this needs to be a very loud wake-up call to the giant tech companies.
You’re dealing people. And people like things to — as much as possible — make sense.
The changes at Google/YouTube didn’t make sense to many people. Changes that Google/YouTube have in the works need to make sense from now on. These changes need to be communicated clearly and explained in a way that makes sense to even a political diehard on the edge. No, not everyone can be made happy. But even an explanation that makes business sense can help lessen a rage that could lead to an unbalanced act.
Google/YouTube cannot present a Come-One-Come-All face to the world while double-dealing in ways that shows the company will crush someone’s hopes and dreams. And do so in a way that seems unjustified to that person and lacks any explanation whatsoever.
The hype around Google/YouTube “stardom” has reached such a level that it’s even worse than the eBook self-publishing “gold rush” of a few years back. What makes it even worse is that Google/YouTube itself has been promoting this image, with a book by Robert Kyncl. At least Jeff Bezos never brayed in print about Amazon and self-publishing riches (and Amazon has acted in brutal ways towards both individual self-published writers as well as their corporate partners in traditional book publishing).
And here’s what also makes the changes at Google/YouTube worse than the chimera of riches from self-publishing books: Writers can hide behind their work. With a YouTube video, the person is often the work.
YouTube videos are usually one person, the creator, on camera. This makes the act of creation much more personal than a self-published book. While a writer of a self-published book can deflect the pain of rejection by blaming the work, someone who appears as themself on YouTube feels rejection — especially from Google/YouTube itself — as personal. It’s a very public humiliation.
Nothing I’ve written here requires a genius-level IQ (which I don’t have anyway, although my ego would like to believe so!) to understand. This is basic People 101.
And its seems the tech giants just can’t handle People 101.
But they need to learn to.
Because there are too many crazies in this world. And more are being created — and self-created — every day.
It’s a horrible way to live and to do business, to have to look over your shoulder and wonder if someone is ready to pounce.
But there are ways to greatly reduce the odds of that.
And the tech giants need to learn them.
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