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YOUTUBE GIVES GOSSIP CHANNELS THE TEA
Yesterday YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced they’re clamping down on “creator-on-creator” commentary videos, saying that they lead to harassment. The problem? There’s a difference between a creator harassing another creator and someone commenting on an unfolding situation online. “Tea accounts” have millions of followers and fill a valuable space entirely separate from legacy publications. Different from straight-up news channels, tea accounts give the lowdown on what’s happening within specific communities of YouTube, and they’re often the first channels young people check; for example, the recent scuffle between beauty gurus Tati Westbrook and James Charles that made headlines was first “reported” days earlier by tea accounts.
Young users crave information about industry news and their favorite creators, and no one’s really giving it to them in a format that they actually consume. Sure, journalists like The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz and The Verge’s Julia Alexander are laying the groundwork for adults, but the average teenager on YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok isn’t heading to these mainstream media outlets to get their news on the latest beauty guru drama or gaming controversy. They want content on those platforms by people who get them.
While YouTube seems to finally be updating its harassment policies, it still doesn’t understand the nuance in its own platform and its various audiences—something that trips up lots of digital companies. Users and creators alike may take their talents elsewhere if they don’t feel seen. So if YouTube execs ignore why tea accounts and other commentary channels even exist and why young people love them, they may only accelerate YouTube’s demise, especially with other beloved platforms like TikTok hot on their trail.
GAMING GROWS UP
Want to make a cool $3M at 16-years-old? You can't yet enter the lottery, so you can do the next best thing—win the Fortnite World Cup, the eSports competition that took over NYC with over 2M people live streaming.
It’s not just eSports that are coming into their own two decades into the 21st century; old-school games are also seeing a renaissance in the digital age. Chief among them is Dungeons & Dragons, which has risen in popularity not just because young people crave IRL connection in internet-centric world, but because of the internet, namely a popular streaming show called Critical Role that has millions of fans.