My Job Doesn't Exist Without the Support of Fans. How Much Do I Owe Them?

Logan Paul’s apology video has been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube. In just a few weeks, it’s become one of his most popular videos, period.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

tbh i don’t think you owe us shit except to be and present the version of yourself that you want. chasing numbers ruins everything.

to expand this a little bit: I honestly believe that chasing subscriber/listener/rating numbers inevitably leads to behavior like we’ve seen from the Pauls, who are both jackasses, and Pewdiepie. The incentives for maximizing your viewership are all about #content, shock value, and maintaining interest, and optimizing as much as possible. There is no room for authentic or organic growth. It’s chasing an eternal algorithm and when all you care about is your subscriber/view count, then you won’t care who subscribes or views, either. The Algorithm rules all, and the Algorithm has no room for humanity, decency, consideration, grace, or civility. Only the number, which must grow, because The Algorithm demands it.

It’s like turning yourself into a paperclip maximizer.


“This style of public apology, in which one drops a finely tuned personality they’ve become renowned for in favor of something “sober” and “humble,” is part and parcel with today’s social media celebrity culture.”

This reminds me a lot of pro wrestling’s “Owen Hart voice” -

For people like you Patrick, the ones who look into things and learn about the things around them, you deserved the support you get.
People like Paul shouldn’t get support or forgiveness since they never showed any work to help others after their fame.

As most people have said already, you, me, and anyone we see on twitter, Youtube, or any social outlet, we don’t really owe anything. At most we just need to respect our spaces and if there anything to learn from mistakes we should take it and not pretend nothing happened. @WastelandHound makes a great point about if you are kinda using your fan base, it to make things better and create meaningful things and not so you can have higher numbers.

I don’t think I can say that anyone “owes” fans anything, unless you’ve explicitly made a deal. But speaking to the larger issue of semi-public, mini-celebrities, I can say it’s equally weird for the viewers as it is for the figures, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about more and more in terms of whether it’s healthy to be on Twitter from the passive “fan” end. I follow dozens of personalities in media, gaming, politics, sports, and other places - most of them who would have been clearly non-public figures before the age of social media - and understanding what to think of that fact remains an oddity. Based on the nature of twitter, pervasive streaming, podcasts, and output, I know far more about a lot of them in terms of personality, opinions, likes, dislikes, or style than I do lots of people I would consider friends but only see or speak to rarely.

It creates both an intimacy and an alienation that is difficult to keep perspective on. You’re part of the community, but you’re not really friends. You can (occasionally) reach out and discuss or get a response, but have to understand a public presence is not necessarily an invitation for public interaction. It’s a whole new class of not-friends, the semi-public mini-celebrity, a new variation of previous Internet friends-but-not-friends like people on forums or IRC.

And that takes a whole different leap when you go onto platforms like Twitch, where a dedicated streamer will be online for 4-8 hours a day. I follow 10+ streamers that I’ll check on occasionally, maybe an hour or two a day in the background while doing other things. Some that average in the thousands, some that average in the hundreds. It creates set of communities and interaction that I lost when I moved to professional and family life and out of the time where I hung out with friends and played games on the regular. Much more than old-school media personalities who have been pressed into being a public figure, most successful streamers have entered the role with gusto. Streams are peppered with personal questions and small discussions. Friends, food, and family make an appearance. It’s again intimate and personal, with lots of interaction, but it’s still a one-way relationship. It’s refreshing in some ways, as it’s nice to see that my time is going to a guy with a kid who takes time off for his family and genuinely works to push a positive community. But also a little gross, because why should I have personal expectations or commentary on a guy who I’m at best giving my time or rarely a couple bucks a month.

Lot of words here, but really a long way of saying that the new social landscape is equally weird for all. Twitter is the biggest culprit, Twitch not far behind. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like knowing and occasionally interacting with the many mini-celebrities in my various fields of interest. I genuinely like most of them and am interested in what they say or what is going on in their lives, in a way that is different from an actual celebrity. But part of me still longs for the day when the only interaction was carefully edited written work or a curated media production, not a drip-feed of twitter posts or a torrent of streams designed to represent the person. Just like it’s not necessarily healthy for media members to be constantly reading and responding to the Twitter news of the day, I’m not sure if it’s healthy for us to be receiving constant updates and faux intimacy from people we know-but-don’t-know.


As others have said. You owes us nothing, more than what we owe to each other

Some of media personalities I follow. I tries to grok how much is personal and how much branding there, in what they write. And branding is not in itself odious

As a not a media creator. I have a twitter account with 7 followers ( I don’t know any of them). Four of them are women in underwear (mostly) and the three others write Korean or Japanese. I don’t understand these languages, but they might want to sell something?

I have Facebook account that I don’t use any more

I have and Instagram account, that I wanted to use semi anonymously and publish some of my best photographs there, and follow some of the better photographers (and the singer Mø). I did not know that Facebook automagically links to ones Instagram account. So I got unexpected followers from “friends” and family from Facebook. Which I felt obligated to follow them back.

About $20 bucks for that lunch last Tuesday actually. You said you’d pay me back man


I struggle to engage with creators. I feel like I am helping but generally just being selfish.
I want to be supportive but I fear it comes across as needy.
As a fan I feel like I have a debt. That I can pay in many ways.

You owe us absolutely nothing. It’s important for fans to remember that the relationship between creator and fan is largely meant to be one-sided. It’s especially timely to be talking about this today after it came out yesterday that a fan invaded the homes of a couple of Youtube creators. That must have been a truly horrifying experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone but I feel was just a matter of time. The way the internet has made us all closer isn’t always for the better.

This is a very thoughtful and insightful article that is careful to consider the complications of this issue without committing to a black or white answer.

You owe me about $16.50.


I look at guys like Danny O’Dwyer or Drew Scanlon, who built their audience and then leveraged that into the opportunity to create unique, meaningful content (and yes, they were certainly afforded advantages many others don’t have). Then I look at PDP, Doc, and outside of games, the Pauls, and it seems like everything they do is just intended to cycle back into their numbers.

So, I would say that’s what you owe your audience. Leveraging us to create things that have meaning to you, and not just leveraging us to make more of us.


I remember you from the 1up days of old. I remember the youthful Klepek, that undiscovered talent of journalism before you started breaking Infinity-gates and experimenting with facial hair.

I better start seeing some triple digit checks in the mail.

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Enjoyed this piece. Is it ironic that it worked for me because it got so personal, that you are willing to share your misgivings and doubts about the place you find yourself in?

I’ll say what others are too nice to say, you owe us more Match 3!

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This was a nice read. It’s a bit of a refreshing reminder to hear that people who get thrust into this semi-celebrity status are in fact, still people. I also appreciate Patrick’s honesty about the crafted and curated nature of the stuff he sometimes share with his audience.

Also shout out to whoever linked the ‘Avoiding “Idolization” (On the Internet)’ thread. I think it’s a nice parallel to some of the topics mentioned here, but from the perspective of the fan.

I’ve found myself in a bit of an odd position the last several years, especially in terms of my twitter account. For a long time, it was abundantly clear to most of my followers that there was a real, live person operating the account day in and day out, and that garnered a fair amount of followers. I would share pictures of my son, even live tweeted my daughter’s birth.

But then, due to the nature of my account and some curious journeys I had along the way, I basically removed myself from the account so much so that followers have actually told me they’re still not sure it’s not being run by a bot. But, oddly enough, the removal of myself from the account actually lead to a big uptick in followers, and in essence made my account a powerful signal boost for whatever material I happened to want to share.

But that in turn lead to another dynamic, where the few times in the last several years where I have re-injected myself into that account has typically meant losing followers and not nearly getting the level of engagement that it usually generates. So, on some level, i found myself in a dynamic of having to appease/please my followers.

One pressure I have managed to avoid with the damn thing though, is that it’s never been tied into my income in any meaningful way, so there’s at least that…

Anyways, well done on the article.

From the article, it sorta seems like the only downside to having a “sharpened” larger-than-life online presence has been the impact on your privacy. I would be interested to read some reflection on the effects of that heightened persona has had on your day-to-day interactions–have there been any instances of people IRL taking exception to things you uttered as part of your online performances? Are there edgy stances you regret taking?