It’s all about the fans. Or at least that’s what a lot of YouTubers like to say now a days, as subscriber and fan interaction is one of the best ways to supposedly grow your audience and your community. Granted, that will be based on what kind of content that you produce, but we’ve seen the praises of fan interaction from creators such as Philip DeFranco, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye. Well, YouTube is apparently attempting to make that easier within their own platform, with the latest feature they are developing called Backstage. The initial reports came from VentureBeat, who talked about how the competition from Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, drove YouTube to focus on creating this new feature within its environment.
Rumoring to be launched on mobile and desktop in the Fall months, Backstage will be present as a tab along with the Home and Videos tab on each YouTube channel’s individual page. New features that allow for Twitter/Facebook timeline like implementations will be added, allowing text posts and topical polls. In addition, there’s apparently going to be a distinction between Backstage-only videos and Backstage videos. It is unclear whether this is for the purposes of intimacy, or making exclusive “behind the scenes” content that would be tied with something like YouTube Red. VentureBeat indicates that it could help in the one-way communication that’s seemingly been giving YouTube creators a problem for a while now, as the failed experiment of Google+ ended up getting reverted in YouTube’s own ecosystem. Now, YouTube has had services in the past like this. As SocialBlade pointed out, the old Bulletin feature allowed creators to send out text and links to their subscribers. It’s unclear why exactly that was pulled from the feature set at the time, but it may have something to do with the Google+ integration that was going on.
Google may also be implementing the features to compete with the increased integration of video related services in both Twitter and Facebook. While YouTube is still leading the way in terms of video content, with companies like the NFL partnering with Twitter to stream on their surface, Google may try to get ahead of those services before they take a chunk out off their market share.
As a Youtube creator myself, I think this is a horrible move given the major problems on the platform right now. I’ve talked about how there are major problems on YouTube that need to be addressed, and that’s what’s going to keep a majority of creators around. While yes, I do think this will help the service in the long run, those creators have the tools to work with right now, and need help in the areas that only YouTube can help them in: their actual service. To me, it’s Google once again proving how tone-deaf they are to their own platform at this point.