By Chen Wen-li
Translator: Jake Harrison

I was flicking through career-related magazines a while ago and saw how the generation in 2019 – kids born during the 90s – are now aspiring to become YouTubers, and I have to say there has been a great deal of generational change.

In my era, just a decade ago, I did not have computer classes until I was in about third grade. At that time, my teacher only covered the basics of sending and receiving emails, or how to use a search engine, etc. I cannot quite recall what we learned exactly from the class.

I just remember our elementary school life and entertainment were far removed from computers. After school, my brother and I would always pick oxalis for fun on the way home or explore the alleys near our house. During those days, even boredom seemed interesting.

My family finally picked up a computer with dial-up internet when I was about to graduate elementary school! Nowadays, we might struggle to imagine using a landline to access the internetif someone called you, you would just lose connection! Then again, 20 or 30 years before that, who on earth would have thought that one day we would be able to use a single machine to connect with the entire world?

computer, 電腦

Hungju Lu

The internet, aside from changing the way we live, it appears to have also changed the current generation’s dreams without even batting an eye.

If someone had asked which professions paid well when I was in elementary school, doctors, lawyers, and accountants would be top choices. But if you ask the elementary students now, “What type of work would you like to do in the future? What dreams do you have?” They will probably say, “I want to be a YouTube streamer.”

I asked one of those kids, “Why do you want to be a YouTube streamer?”

He replied, “Because earning loads of money is a piece of cake.”

When I heard such an answer, I found myself rather troubled. However, I did not know how to get my point across. I was afraid to make youngsters think of me as a hillbilly from the previous generation. On top of that, I did not want to accidentally create a communication gap. However, the problem regarding career goals is not limited to this generation, but tied to the entire era’s future.

When all the children believe that by taking up streaming as a hobby, or by establishing an online presence, they can provide for themselves and perhaps even earn loads of money, it is something we should worry about. Not to discredit live streaming as completely worthless, but at the end of the day, how many Daniel Middletons or PewDiePies can the world allow?

I am not denying that everyone has the freedom to try out different possibilities. After all, if you mull something over for ages but do not actually give it a go, you are bound to regret it. However, the fulfillment of any dream requires a constant supply of willpower and unflinching self-discipline. Merely assuming that it will be a piece of cake – that you will succeed instantly – is just naïve.

A YouTuber’s popularity brings in the cash and influence. We often see successful YouTubers with considerable annual incomes, but we don’t hear from the thousands of other unknown streamers who did not make it. This is the halo effect in action – it has caused us to misunderstand what it takes to be successful in the streaming industry.

In addition to luck and good timing, we cannot deny that professionalism and charm also determine a YouTuber’s fame. Even if you just live stream yourself playing video games, you ought to be either a first-class gamer or dishing out top-notched humor. If you’re neither, then ask yourself this: why should people watch you?

If you expect to rise to fame by virtue of being particularly handsome or beautiful, you might need to do better market research because there is no shortage of good-looking guys and girls.

In an industry where the entry barrier is low but the competition to stand out is incredibly high, you need a bit of brain and capability at the very least to sustain a profitable career.



A popular Taiwanese YouTuber 理科太太 who rose to fame within six months of launching her YouTube channel.

A few days ago, I was looking through the shelves in a bookstore. Just when I held up a book about self-discipline and freedom, a boy, who is about the age of an elementary student, abruptly tottered over. He picked up a book nearby and put it back within five minutes. When he put down the book, I could not help but notice how clumsily he did so, and the poor pages were full of creases. Although it was impossible to tell if he was the one who had wrecked it, as a lover of books, I found the sight distressing.

I shifted my gaze to the cover of that book and it was titled: “How to Become a YouTuber Pronto.” At that moment, I experienced an array of emotions and thought, “What kind of issues concern the current generation? Just what are their career goals and dreams?”

To me, a job for money and a dream career are two different life choices. The best-case scenario is finding a well-paying job that you also love. But when I think about the top YouTube channels, it certainly does not look like the YouTubers just breeze along getting famous online and pocketing piles of cash. If you are aspiring to become a YouTuber, please do not give up on exploring your creativity. Make sure you have the willpower and courage to keep going strong, and try to have the discipline required to grow, despite the difficulties you will surely encounter along the way.

When it comes to accomplishing dreams, all roads are the same: there are never any shortcuts. We cannot reach the finish line in one step. Without the journey, we will never be able to tell why we insist on walking the same path after losing our way countless times.

The original article was written in Chinese and published on The News Lens Taiwan Edition. If you've enjoyed this article and want to receive more story updates, please be sure to like our Facebook page below.

TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)