When you take a look at the creators at the top of YouTube’s food chain, how they maintain their base and common company policy, figuring out how toxic neutrality became a trend not only on YouTube but the world outside of it.
Taking a slight detour and examining the one common thread all YouTube Creator’s share, anyone who’s ever read How To Win Friends And Influence people might think they see some of the book’s themes in the people they’re watching. That’s not to say every popular YouTuber is part of a secret book club where they are all reading the same material. But Carnegie’s principles come from polished observations about human behavior, specifically humans who are well liked and what they do. So it’s not a surprise to see Carnegie’s supposed “nonconfrontational” principles in popular YouTubers. Nailing down specifics, anyone who’s not in Carnegie’s career field would probably assume Youtubers regularly invoke the general overview of his first couple of principles, principle one part one, principle one part two and principle two part one. The overview of the book suggests against criticism, condemnation or complaints since they can deal blows to someone’s emotions and people are driven by ego and pride. Diving deep into criticism in principle one part one, Carnegie pushes the fact that it puts people on the defensive. In principle one part two, he exposits avoiding this maintains likability, because people think of you as someone who won’t contradict their opinions and they can be relaxed around. They don’t feel they need to argue with you.
People embrace these ideas because they are as comfortable as they are applicable. They keep them from confrontation, which most people dread, and it decreases the chance they might out something uncomfortable about their friends.
However, it’s important to remember that while Carnegie’s principles come from people who are well liked and what they do, they are being taught to people who are ultimately aiming to do the exact opposite. Carnegie himself was an extremely accomplished businessman whose main goal was to make a profit. Salesmen like Carnegie do criticize people and the products they are currently using in hope of getting them to change to what they are selling. The same goes with condemnation and complaints. Businessmen just frame them in a way where it doesn’t seem like that’s what they’re doing.
Principle two part one in Carnegie’s book, he encourages is students to “give honest and sincere appreciation”, a tactic they can use to butter up people without their targets catching on because what they say holds a grain of truth. It’s important to remember his book isn’t just “How To Win Friends”, but also to “Influence People”.
But the big stars that could do something on YouTube aren’t trying to sell people anything but a place to be entertained. So they “win friends” and shy away from influencing people. The nonconfrontational attitudes of YouTube’s biggest names have created a certain sort of method hopefuls follow to a T in order keep their audience base as wide as possible: don’t say anything confrontational, don’t do anything that might offend a certain demographic and be as yielding to your audience as possible.
People watching YouTube videos don’t like to get involved in things either. They usually come to YouTube for distraction, to get away from the real world, which is why real-world news channels on Youtube see so little activity compared to entertainers. A lot of Youtubers can expect a drop in subscriber count if they remind them of things going on in reality.
Both of these things combined have come together to breed a sort of toxic neutrality on YouTube. By discussing hateful content and demanding a response, you remind people of hateful content. If the Youtuber being forced to confront it isn’t uncomfortable, then the viewing audience is, and over time it teaches everyone that silence is the most appropriate response unless things are going to a certain extreme.
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