We start YouTube channels for a variety of reasons: to share ideas, to become rich and famous, to entertain and to educate.

Still, YouTube has its share of problems. We’ve all struggled against an overly-aggressive copyright-detection algorithm. Without constant work cultivating a healthy community, our comments sections quickly devolve into dumpster fires. To top it off, when you compare YouTube to other video platforms like Facebook, Instagram or even the late, great Vine, growing a sizable audience on YouTube is a slow process that requires a lot more work. Why then is starting and maintaining a YouTube channel such an attractive idea?

First, YouTube is the only video platform that directly rewards content creators financially. There are a few other platforms that can be sources of passive income, most notably Twitch.tv, but none are as content-agnostic as YouTube. Earning money making video on any other platform involves becoming at least a part-time ad-sales representative — work most of us aren’t interested in doing.

The second reason YouTube remains the only? viable platform for many video creators is that it’s the only major platform known for its long-form video content that’s easy to access for both creators and viewers. This likely stems from YouTube’s unrivaled search functionality. Finding good video content using Faceboook’s search is a nightmare — never mind tracking down a specific video. Instagram is worse. Because of this distinct advantage, YouTube has established itself as the reliable resource for viewers.

Finally, YouTube is still in some ways the wild-west. The few rules it has are frequently broken and rarely enforced. That has its drawbacks in that it can foster a toxic community of trolls and cyberbullies, but it also means YouTube has virtually no barrier to entry. Any ambitious person with a smartphone can start a channel and achieve success.

YouTube is appealing because it offers money and eyeballs to anyone who can make a video, regardless of the nature of the content or its production quality. If you want to make tutorial videos about how to crush Dr. Pepper cans with a two by four, no one’s stopping you. On YouTube, good video content is easy to find, content creators are paid and anyone can participate. Until another platform can say the same, YouTube is our best and only choice.

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