MAKING A MEDIA CAREER ON AND BEYOND YOUTUBE: DIVERSITY IN PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES OF YOUTUBE CREATORS
Keywords:YouTubing, Platformed Content Creation, Professional Identity, Precarity
AbstractYouTube as part of a growing social media entertainment (SME) industry has taken various steps to professionalise, formalise and regulate the field of user-generated content and successfully integrated self-professionalised YouTube creators into an emerging creative workforce of SME. The industrialisation and professionalisation of YouTubing have created the assumption of a formalisation of professional identity as a YouTuber or a content creator in the SME industry. Contrary to this assumption, I argue that there is a divergence from fixed categories as it is not possible to fix permanently or define conclusively the professional identity as a YouTuber because conditions of content creator labour are precarious. In this paper, drawing upon qualitative data collected for my doctoral research, I investigate how creators who engage in self-governance as risk-bearing creative agents form their professional identities inside or outside YouTube careers and illuminate the diversity and ambivalence in their professional identities due to the precarious nature of their work. Despite being at different career stages and having a wide range of backgrounds, motivations, skills, and experiences, YouTube creators who participated in this project had something in common: They needed to be flexible in shifting between different professional identities and types of employment relations in order to make a media career on and beyond YouTube. This is because it is hard to imagine or maintain a single career path towards being a professional creator due to existing or future uncertainties.
How to Cite
Bidav, T. (2023). MAKING A MEDIA CAREER ON AND BEYOND YOUTUBE: DIVERSITY IN PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES OF YOUTUBE CREATORS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.12976