Twenty-fifteen will be remembered for many positive things but unfortunately, for many in the internet world, the last twelve months will be looked back on as the year of negativity. With so much hostility floating around the v/blogger sphere, isn't it about time we began practicing what we preach?
Last year social media took a turn for the worse and in an attempt to raise awareness of the growing negativity perforating the internet; big names like Jaclyn Hill and Lilly Singh took to their Youtube channels to discuss the girl-on-girl hate that appears to be on the rise among Youtube's comment section.
Words like hoe and bitch circulate through the comments sections, often coming from the keyboards of teenagers who feel it is their duty to defend their favourite Youtube stars. But whilst it is somewhat encouraging to see viewers coming together against hateful internet trolls, it is becoming painfully obvious that many important lines are being crossed, to the detriment of both the Youtubers and their subscribers.
It is becoming clear, for myself at least, that most of the hate arises when us internet people begin making money for what we do. With an added sense of transparency on what content is sponsored and what content it not, it appears that viewers remain unsettled by the premise that content can create financial gain. But what I find the most unfair is that the high percentage of our loyal and supportive audience are being overlooked because of the unpleasant viewers who choose to take issue with regular people earning a wage; which, after all, is all we are trying to do.
Youtube and blogging has steamrolled throughout recent years and what once was a free platform has become a money making gateway in what seems like the blink of an eye. So maybe such a quick transition hasn't quite given audiences enough time to come to terms with the fact that uploaders are being recognised for the great work that they are doing.
We all know that in order to make it big on the internet, we need to find a loyal fan base who enjoy watching our videos, reading our blogs and look forward to our next uploads. But it seems that the ability to make money online has created armies of strangers who jump on the defence over the littlest things; branding internet stars as 'sellouts' as soon as they get wiff of the AD hashtag (#AD).
Just last week, Jaclyn Hill made the decision to disable comments on her uploads and I for one can empathise with the hardship that incurs from choosing to put a stop to viewer-'tuber interaction. In the earlier days of my blogging career, pre-university and pre-backbone; I faced many hateful interactions with readers who didn't agree with my opinions and made it their job to wreak havoc with my blog. As a result, I stopped blogging and took a step down from the internet until I was ready to face it all again but when the internet is your job, that isn't always an option.
So. Where do we go from here?
Do we, the content creators, stop earning money for the work that we do (the money of which pays for better cameras, upgraded editing software and improved blogging templates; all to create better material) in the hopes that audiences will stop arguing over the products that we feature and that it will put a stop to the negativity among viewers? Or do we go back to the days of free-tube with poorer quality videos and a more relaxed uploading schedule so a 'regular job' can take precedence and Youtube take a back seat?
It is a known fact that viewers can become intense when it comes to content, demanding as much a possible and whilst this is a good thing (I mean, without viewers there is no need for content and without content there is no need for viewers), sometimes it is impossible to keep up with the demand.
This year, twenty-sixteen, I openly encourage us all to return to the supportive and accepting community that the internet once was. Girls, I encourage you to support each other in the comments rather than slamming others with obscenities. Viewers, I hope you can realise that we are all only human and we try to put out as much content for you as we can but there will be days where life just gets in the way. And finally, to my fellow bloggers, vloggers, youtubers etc. I urge you to remember that you can walk away from the internet. If it all becomes too much just close your laptop and walk away, it will still be there tomorrow when you're ready to try again.
So without any more waffle, let's try and make this year more positive than the last one! #GIRLLOVE
Read more from Hollie on her personal blog: Hollie Ivy