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YouTube CEO stresses creator communication, concerns over platform experiments as top issues

‘While the future is full of opportunity, it is not without challenges’

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

YouTube is working to better its communication with creators and ensuring that people aren’t spending an unhealthy amount of time watching videos online, according to a creator update from CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Wojcicki published a blog post today (and uploaded a video with the same information to her personal YouTube channel) addressing some updates the team at YouTube has worked on throughout the year. The update mentioned a few milestones for the company — more than 1.9 billion logged in monthly users and more than 180 hours of videos watched daily on TV screens — but also touched upon some important moves to benefit creators and viewers.

One of those areas is an increased, active presence on Twitter, where creators and viewers often reach out to YouTube employees for help. This is a big talking point for creators, who have asked for more support through social media sites like Twitter.

Wojcicki said the company made a conscious effort to answer “600 percent more tweets” through official handles this year compared to all of 2017. It’s an attempt from the company to be more active with the creator base, a complaint that creators have voiced in the past.

“We continue to prioritize communicating more with creators,” Wojcicki said.

YouTube has used its Twitter account to issue statements regarding a number of issues in the past few months, including touchy subjects for creators like how notifications work and experiments that creators weren’t given a heads up on, like auto-generated thumbnails on a small percentage of videos. Wojcicki addressed these concerns in the post, noting that working on the platform and addressing concerns doesn’t come without its challenges.

“While the future is full of opportunity, it is not without challenges,” Wojcicki wrote. “One of the ways we make YouTube better is through testing and iterations, but we understand that sudden changes related to experiments are difficult to manage. So, in order to minimize the disruption for you, we will make our best effort to communicate with you as these tests approach and we’ll use your feedback to make the features better in the long run.”

One other important issue that Wojcicki expanded on was digital well-being and encouraging people to spend time away from YouTube. Product changes, like alerts for how many minutes people have watched, are part of an initiative to help people spend time away from their monitors or TV sets.

“As our devices have become an increasingly important part of our lives, we want to support digital wellbeing,” she wrote. “So, within the broader YouTube app, we’ve launched a feature that sends users a reminder to take a break. We’ve also added an option for users to get a single digest notification once per day from YouTube rather than at the moment notifications, and we enabled users to configure their notifications so that they happen within specific timeframes.”

Wojcicki’s full blog post can be read on YouTube’s creator site.

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