Krzysztof is a 10+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.
How to Be a Successful YouTube Troll
There are 10 dangers every internet troll on YouTube has to be aware of before they begin trolling for views.
The fact is that people have taken the art of trolling and turned it into a money-making machine. Those on YouTube troll to get attention, attract views, and establish a brand.
However the pathway to success as a troll is anything but glamorous, and the YouTube comment section makes that all too clear.
So let's dive in and explore the dangers of internet trolling.
1. Beware the Backlash
The video "Dear Fat People" made several years ago was an obvious trolling attempt to chastise those struggling with obesity (a very serious concern in the United States).
Now I don't have a problem with people who do this to get attention because we all want to make a name for ourselves, but the creator of that video obviously knew about the repercussions hence why she disabled the comment section.
- So the first danger is "backlash".
Social media likes to gravitate toward a cause, so when a topic catches fire, the backlash may be massive. The issue with this is that it'll give you popularity but with it will come an incredible dose of negativity.
The negativity might be so massive that it'll stop you from ever making another video or successful video on YouTube.
2. Low Self Esteem & Depression
Trolling is rarely a long term ideal for YouTubers because of the sadness it brings to the psyche.
People who do this for a living rarely agree with anything they put out. For example, a person bashing gay individuals might actually be homosexual.
Eventually those lies will take a toll on their self-esteem, and it may lead to bouts of depression. Now I know people will say that those feelings come from the comments, but they're actually due to the "false" ideas presented to the public.
This is a serious danger that all trolls need to be aware of because the consequences of depression could be life-threatening (suicide).
3. When Hollywood Strikes Back!
If you're lucky enough to generate a popular YouTube troll video, then you might run into some resistance from an unlikely source.
That's right! Celebrities could view your videos and personally attack you and challenge the legality of your videos. This is more likely if the content is related to the celebrity or celebrities.
A few years ago a popular starlet's company shut down a YouTuber's parody music video because it was likely deemed too offensive. And yes parody videos that make fun of a celebrity is a form of creative trolling.
The content creator was able to get their video back on YouTube, but they clearly hit a nerve with a powerful megastar, which new YouTubers should never get involved with.
Celebrities have power, popularity, and they can use it to take you down so watch it!
4. YouTube Channel Shutdown
There's always a chance you've gone too far and YouTube shuts down your channel. I haven't seen it happen often but it definitely happens.
- There are certain guidelines that must be followed or you'll be cut.
Can you imagine spending years to develop your channel, fan base, and revenue only to have it taken away.
That's a lot of time and effort wasted for nothing because you decided to ignore obvious warning signs. Trolls already have a target on their backs, and they're most at risk for getting their channel taken down.
If you tackle a hot button issue without any sense of restraint, then you're stamping a target on your back.
5. Beware the Trigger Culture
Angering people on purpose is never viewed as a positive thing among any community (YouTube or real world), so it's only natural that some will get enraged.
If you're a well known YouTuber, then the dangers are obviously greater when you're out in public. There's always the chance that a video you created turns others violent.
- When people are violent, you better start running!
In general I think you'll be pretty safe, but there's clearly a chance someone notices you and tries to start something. For example, a troll who attacks the black community could be in danger of a few bumps and bruises if recognized within that locale.
People are know to get violent over real causes, so keep that in mind.
6. Social Media Fallout
The people who ban together and respond harshly to your videos are not found in the YouTube comments; they are found on Facebook, Twitter, and numerous other social media sites.
And we're talking potential millions of people responding to you, which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the attention and notoriety, which was the point of trolling to begin with, but the curse is all the hate you're likely to receive.
Think of a mad social media group as a cyber mob ready to take out their digital pitchforks and torches (or in this case: memes and misspelled comments) to bring you down.
7. Organizational Feedback
Depending on what the trolling videos are about, you may or may not get feedback from an organization.
If you do, then those organizations would likely be based on whatever you're trolling about, and they may try to strike you down. Even with free speech there are things you must adhere to.
- An organization has far more power than any commentator on YouTube.
They may attract more people to go against you, which could positively feedback into a massive social media response. In today's world, every form of media is like a domino and when one falls, everything else follows.
When all the dominoes fall, they'll all be pointing in your direction because you'll be the last one standing (main target).
8. You May Lose Your Fan Base
If you're an established YouTuber who's not used to trolling but decides to make troll videos anyway, then a lot of your fans might start to unsubscribe and go somewhere else.
You're also likely to detract fans from subscribing in the first place if your content is too risque. I realize the amount of subscribers doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of revenue and income, but they do help get the word out.
YouTubers with a lot of subscribers are more likely to get noticed and thus get more views, so it's imperative you don't scare people off. You got your main fan base for a reason and while it's cool to try new things, you still need to cater to your original subscribers.
9. Limited Content
You've heard of actors being typecast in movies right?
Well there's such a thing as being typecast on YouTube. If you've been trolling for a while, then you may only be expected to troll in the long run because other forms of content may get far less viewership.
It can be difficult to break out of a certain mold if that's what people know you for, but that's the challenge you take when you do those kinds of videos.
However I've found that people are more likely to warm up to you when you try a variety of content. I've always believed a successful troll is one who never trolls forever.
10. Lost Revenue & Sponsors
YouTubers rarely survive on Adsense alone, and they need other sponsors and partnerships to succeed financially.
This is where the ultimate pro and con of trolling comes in. The pro is that trolls are more likely to accumulate numerous views over a short period of time. The con is that they're probably going to be limited in terms of other revenue seeking opportunities.
Sponsors aren't going to be attracted to trolls because you're unlikely to get a partnership by angering people, but there's good news.
Once you advance past the troll stage, you can eventually attract a few sponsors pending on the content produced. There's been several former YouTube trolls who've gotten very successful once they started producing diverse content.
What's the Risk?
Besides those 10 dangers, I'm sure there are others you could think of pertaining to trolling because there are plenty of landmines when you step into the world of infuriating others.
- For some everything will end happily ever after, but for many, it'll end in disaster.
Through all the troll videos I've watched, the most successful and liked ones were those who could make the viewer laugh. I think point of these videos shouldn't be to only spew anger and hate towards something, it should be a way to express yourself in an interesting way.
If you're still interesting in making trolling videos, then I'd definitely suggest going for the comedic, sarcastic direction. It should be more of a parody than a serious discussion if you want to be liked.
If you don't care about being liked, then by all means be ruthless, but pay attention to the 10 dangers of being an internet troll on YouTube.