The Social Blade Decade

tl;dr Today’s news is our Chrome / Firefox extension has been updated to allow creators to watch their own live counts again!

Internet & Social Media History

And just like that another decade has passed. It’s crazy to think that the Internet has really only been a thing for about three decades now (yes I know it can be traced back to the 60s but the 90s is when it really started to take off). As someone who has been using it since the early 90s I’ve had the privilege to really see it come of age. Before we talk about this decade lets take a step back and see where we came from.

The 90s

The other day I came across an old magazine from the mid 90s which actually printed out the addresses to all the popular websites (we didn’t have search engines back then!) but what I found most fascinating was how the editor talked about something so common these days it felt silly. The editor’s nephew (I forget the exact relation so we’ll go with that) hit the winning run in their little league game and was so proud of himself he told his aunt all about it. He told her she needed to post all about it on “The Internet”. Today that is a no-brainer, post it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, vlog about it on YouTube etc but the editor’s response was that wasn’t how “The Internet” worked (and it was’t back then!). She didn’t have a “personal home page” so there wasn’t any way to do that! The kid somehow seemly knew of what was to come!

The 2000’s

Right at the turn of the millennium I came across something really interesting. Again, these days with Twitch and other live streaming platforms it’d seem like no big deal but in 2000 it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. As of Jan 1st 2000 someone named Mitch Maddox legally changed his name to DotComGuy and moved into a house in Texas set up with cameras all over it with the mission of not leaving the house for a full year and live streaming the entire event on his website, buying everything he needed online. I actually had the privilege of visiting the house on the final day for the release party and the community formed from this groundbreaking yet little remembered event still gets together every year to catch up.

If the 90s into the beginning of the 2000’s were the birth and boom of the Internet, the 2000’s can be thought of as the Internet’s formative years. During this time period we saw countless ideas tried and the strongest emerged in in the 2010’s into the Internet landscape we know today. YouTube was founded in 2005 and acquired by Google Oct 2006. Facebook launched in 2004 to select colleges and to the public in Sept 2006. Twitter also launched in March 2006. To keep the full history we should also remember Friendster launched in March 2003 and then MySpace launched in Aug 2003. All of these sites hoped to fulfill the wishes of the 90s kid who just wanted to share his little league accomplishment with the world.

The 2010’s

So here we are now at the 2010’s, the Internet’s teenage years, the decade that is about to end. I needed to cover the past to really explain why I think this was the Social (Blade) decade. All previous decades leading up to the 2010’s were building and experimenting. The 2010’s is when the Internet really came of age and also when Social Blade did as well. I started Social Blade in 2008 and creating YouTube videos in 2007 but really relaunched in 2010 with YouTube stats while really getting into daily vlogging as well.

Leading up to the 2010’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks were just emerging but as we entered this decade creators were actually starting to be able to turn this into a job. This in and of itself in ways went against the purpose of a social network to share life events with your friends, but it also gave every day people a way to make money doing what they loved doing, telling their stories rather then needing to win the attention of a huge media company first. Social Blade was created to help those creators (myself included!) do this more effectively and everything we’ve done this decade was to further that goal.

As the decade went on mainstream media noticed more and more people were flocking to these new social platforms and consuming less traditional media and started to fight back. I will say that at the end of the decade I do think that overall the next generation has won (kids/teens watch more YouTube then cable), but the distinction between new and old media is so blurred these days its often hard to make a distinction. Case in point, when YouTube started there was lots of traditional media on there uploaded w/o permission that for sure helped it get noticed but the people who fell in love with it were there to watch what they couldn’t watch on traditional TV. At the end of this decade things have come full circle and I see YouTube advertising YouTubeTV, their platform where they stream traditional media more then YouTube itself.

The Future

So what happens next? That is partly up to you dear reader. At the start of the 2010’s traditional media companies weren’t quite hooked into the Internet age but now they are as the Internet takes steps into its adulthood. For what it’s worth I’m not saying this is inherently bad either. I watch my fair share of traditional media these days in addition to YouTube. Remember though what you watch, use, and share helps shape the future. If you have a story to tell make sure you tell it and share it with the world. Be cognizant of of how algorithms work, but don’t get caught up thinking that they are solely in charge of your destiny. If you have a meaningful story, and take the time to share it in a compelling way you too can help control the 2020’s.

Live Sub Counts

With all that said I wanted to share one piece of news with you for today as well. In September 2019 YouTube decided that the exact subscriber count should only be visible to the creator breaking any sort of a live count feature which is invaluable to streamers as well as those celebrating milestones. As a creator myself I know how much of a disappointment that was. Today I’m happy to share that we are bringing that ability back!

You still can only see your own exact numbers, but if you are running our chrome or firefox addon you can find a live subscriber count option in your creator studio that you can watch yourself or chose to share with the world if you like via live stream or in your vlog. We hope this bridges YouTube’s desire to put creators in charge of their exact number while still letting them share their excitement with their fans if they wish.

Happy New Decade!

Now go out and make 2020 the best decade yet! I can’t wait to experience it right along side with you!

– Jason Urgo
Social Blade Founder since 2008, Online Creator since 2007, Internet Citizen since the early 90s