I lost my way with Youtube.
Before you all freak out, I’m not quitting. It’s very much the opposite.
I suppose for this post I should give a little backstory to what brought me to this conclusion and how I intend to remedy it. The information you’ll find below is based on my memory from it all. The information below may not be completely accurate, but I’ll do my best to make it as neutral as possible to just cover the events.
I began making Youtube videos in April of 2013, starting with Mad Father. At the time, I was in a League of Legends-centric gaming community called DWAI Gaming, ran by someone I considered a friend, xRyz/Ryan (I’ll be posting both persona names and first names for reference-sake) and JuiceTrades/Domitrius. Throughout my time in DWAI Gaming, I made a TON of friends. I met streamers like Jarose/Stephen and GlitterUnicorns/Kirsten, and cosplayers like Mahrielle/Sarah, and people in the League of Legends scene like Charlene (who is involved with many competitive teams). I also met many, many wonderful people from all walks of life like Decavolty/Jeremy, Phaetox/Ryan, GeekyLion/Taylor.
So what happened? Well, at this point, I don’t even remember myself. All I remember is xRyz walking away from DWAI for reasons of his own and the responsibility of the community being placed on my shoulders. I don’t even remember what his reasons were, to be honest. That’s something for him to tell you or for people to dig up through Tumblr posts. The month or two that followed were alright(?) (Again, I don’t really remember the specifics). I was running DWAI with a good team behind me: Deca, Melissa (SevenSinsofWonka at the time), and others and things were going good. We had a tournament division for the weekly games with a team running it, the website was getting rebuilt, and everything was pretty sweet. Then xRyz wanted to come back to lead DWAI again.
I guess this could be considered the catalyst, or step one.
As you could imagine, the aftermath of that motion was a mess. I couldn’t just give back this thing I had grown into leading. I decided on a committee vote. Some of the people who wanted Ryan/xRyz back claimed I was taking his community away and he built it and was deserving of coming back. I didn’t know what to do. Yeah, he started it, but he walked away. That’s not the point though. The point is what happened after.
Enter Domitrius, or just Dom.
Dom was xRyz’s friend who helped start DWAI (again, not 100% if I’m remembering that right, but Dom was a big factor in the events that followed), and he came in as the third-party. There were two factions in DWAI Gaming and we tried to make things work with both Ryan and I running DWAI with the team. Eventually, the pressure made it all implode. There was trashtalk on Tumblr from both sides, messages of pure malicious, and I walked away. The biggest thing that made me cut ties was the accusation I was using DWAI to solely promote myself – In a community of people promoting themselves and each other. It was just a thing we did: streams, Youtube channels, contests, commissions, etc. I kept a few of the friends I had close and threw everyone else aside to help Domitrius with another project: Outplayed Gaming.
This was step two.
Outplayed Gaming was a HUGE undertaking. We tried to repair what DWAI Gaming had broken and bring everyone we knew as friends a place to stay together. We made partnerships with LoL Tourneys for events, worked on a website, and built many connections to try and expand further than what DWAI could ever accomplish. I think our hubris got the best of us. We had too much happening and we wanted to be more legitimate. We wanted to make a centralized location for the community to go, to chat, to discuss games and whatnot. But the thing is, we already had that as a Facebook group. The problem was moderation. We wanted more control, to remove the worthless posts and trolls, and there was backlash as expected. As the negative response grew and grew, it seemed we weren’t going to stop with our plan for a centralized place of conversation and we were picking dates to remove the Facebook group.
Eventually, the Facebook group was gone. So was Outplayed Gaming. I talked to Dom to try and see if we could change things, fix things for the community, and said some things I wish I didn’t, but the damage was done. I walked away from Outplayed Gaming.
Two communities, gone. Along with them, friends I lost touch with. This is the theme of this post: Friends.
After OPG and DWAI, I just did my own thing for a while. Joined a Youtube network, made some friends through that, and made videos when I was in a job situation that wasn’t perfect, but offered me free time. There was moments that made me hesitate: Grandmother’s death, dog’s death, family problems, but I pushed on and made videos to take my mind off things.
Eventually, I wasn’t in contact with many people I knew from the communities except for Taylor, Sarah, Jarose and many others, I don’t really think naming them all would do them justice. We were a community of nearing 100, and I had…maybe 10… that I really chose to keep contact with. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to; it was because of what I was doing. I just pushing my heart and soul into my videos. I knew they weren’t the best things to watch, or even the funniest, but I thought I could make my own style and have that appeal to someone, anyone.
I think that was the third step.
I was trying to find people I appealed to for an audience. I met several other Youtubers on Twitter: FoxyFauna, ZeckPressStart, Matt, Jenni, among others and we started playing together. It was the time of my life, really. I made GMod videos and soon collaborations were something I thoroughly enjoyed. If that’s the case though, why did it all stop? I guess you can say work and real-life got in the way, and in a sense that’s true, especially after my employment situation changed. As much as I hate to admit it though, I don’t think it was just that… I wanted to grow. I saw the collaborations as a way for me to be displayed to a bunch of new people who wouldn’t find me otherwise, but when that didn’t really change anything I pushed myself into my own channel. I didn’t really keep anyone in contact with the exception of a few. People left the Youtube scene for their own reasons. I think I knew that would happen; the collaborations weren’t infinite, they’d be affected by factors outside of my control. My own channel, however, wouldn’t. This was the period I experienced the most burn-out since I started.
By this point, I know you’re all asking yourself: What does this have to do with anything? What do these communities have to do with anything? The answer is simple: Everything.
When I’ve started Youtube and started meeting people in the gaming world, I focused on making videos for fun and just having a good time with those friends. As things progressed… I stopped thinking about my friends and the good times. I started thinking about myself.
I started thinking about success.
The mere idea of success alienated me from the people I cared about. I didn’t love the idea of DWAI or OPG: I loved the people inside those communities. But I’ve since stopped caring… What lead to write this post was me going through Tumblr posts from a few years ago. DWAI was mainly created through Tumblr, so most of us made posts to each other and all that. I saw the things I had forgotten: playful conversations about shipping members with each other. The memories of Draft Night on League of Legends. The silly moments at 3am. The selfies. The confidence boosts we’d give each other.
I realized I missed that. No matter which community, which group, I was a part of, one thing was clear: I missed it.
I had cut myself off from my friends to focus on something that would mean absolutely nothing if I didn’t have people to share it with. Of course I’d have Jennie to share it with, and I’d have the money to see her whenever I’d like and that means a lot, but at the end of the day, I would have let people behind to do so. I’d still be missing a part of me in my success.
So, after writing all this, I can truly say I’m not going to aim to succeed anymore. If I do, that’s great…but I only want that to happen with my friends by my side.
So, to end this long emotional post, Half-Life 2 will be the final solo series for a bit. I’m going to find time to play with friends and bring back what really matters to my channel: Fun. Cards Against Humanity displayed what really happens to me when I play with my friends: I laugh. I get embarrassed. I’m myself. BroOp Gameplay is the same way. It’s natural and I have a friend beside me making it more enjoyable. My solo stuff as of late is just me…talking. It’s bland… I don’t want that. I want to enjoy myself playing games.
I apologize for the messiness of this whole post, but it was the best I could when it came to gathering my thoughts. I know there are probably errors and all that, but the general message should be clear enough. So, I’ll leave it all at this.
I’m SharkyHatGamer… And this has been a long overdue apology to my friends and viewers. I lost my way with my channel.
I want to fix that.
Edit: I’m aware DWAI still exists and is run wonderfully by Decavolty, but for the sake of this, I was mainly referring to how little I interact with it. How far I’ve pushed myself away.