The Will of DC newsroom is stocked and ready for reporting.
It's got a desk, a duratran, and the decidedly "This is news" music cued up on repeat. In the middle of it all, seated right next to the revolving globe, is Will Hyde—a 26-year-old social media manager who is absolutely determined to delivering the latest in YouTube news.
Every weekday for the past three years, Hyde has taken to the massive video-sharing site to keep YouTube newsies and personalities alike abreast of what's happening in their tiny-screened world. Want to know the latest in the subscription saga? Will Hyde's got you covered. Curious as to where the Reply Girls went after March? Here's Hyde's take.
The impassioned, Los Angeles-based vlogger, whose channel lays claim to more than 275,000 subscribers, is a dispensary of YouTube information—one of the few on the scene who could legitimately call himself an expert.
In fact, Hyde knows the site's insides and outs so well that it's hard to imagine that it's not his full-time job.
"It's just something that I really enjoy doing," he told the Daily Dot from his desk at work. "I'm researching stories all day. I'm always on Twitter and watching YouTube videos. It's hard for me to quantify how much time I spend on it, because it's a really big part of my life."
"Two years ago, and I don't think I had an ego or anything, but I think that I knew the site better than people who worked at YouTube. I crafted this niche for myself that affords me the opportunity to have different offers like hosting Playlist Live and working with YouTube—getting to have a little bit of a dent on the site. You have your intense YouTube fans and you have your intense fans of the actual stars, but you don't have many people who actually obsessed with the platform itself the way that I am."
That obsession extends from the inner workings of the subscription box ("It's a dead mechanism, and anybody who's talking about it is missing the point and distracted from a real topic," he said) to YouTube's esteemed Top 100. ("I'd rather look at the Top 100 most viewed users of the month," he said. "That's what's happening now.")
Such knowledge has allowed Hyde to assume a well-deserved role as an authority within the community. Each day, YouTubers know that they can turn to Hyde's channel to get the latest news buzzing around YouTube's vast and ever-changing world.
Some days it's a techy, feature-based update, like the news that broke last week about how users can now blur faces in videos or some quick tips on how what you need to know about the homepage redesign. On others, Hyde drops insider knowledge on prankster Vitaly Zdorovetskiy's latest arrest or the #SaveYouTube campaign.
It's the former that he's most well-versed to speak on, but the latter is the stuff that causes the greatest stir.
"I'm looking for anything that's going to make people talk," Hyde said. "I want to be talking about the stuff that's new, the stuff that's happening, and I want to find ways that I can add my voice and perspective to the conversation.
"You're going to get a 'YouTube News' episode every now and then that's not as good as the others because there's simply no stories that day. But I can't make every episode about the glitches. I could create a separate show called 'YouTube Glitches' and rant every day about the different glitches that have been broken for months if not years, but I feel like that would make 'YouTube News' really boring. My viewers are much more interested in hearing about the people."
That was no more evident than in the case of sex positive vlogger Laci Green's recent departure from Tumblr—a scary, tumultuous case of harassment that brought into question the concept of hate messaging and the ways in which radical belief systems can extend from offline communities and into the YouTube fold.
Hyde covered Green's story in an eight-minute video that extended far beyond the two-to-four minute length that most of his videos run. The second half of the report is an impassioned plea for acceptance and understanding. In it, Hyde, an openly gay man who has faced discrimination and hate messaging both online and off, petitions his audience to rally around each other and help fellow minorities in times of need.
"We've all been victimized," Hyde says.
"We've all been victims. It's the most frustrating experience to see the perpetration of minority on minority crime, because we're all in the same boat. We're all under the thumb of the majority. If we piss somebody off, we have to commit to our minority brothers and sisters to work through it in a positive way. Want to know how I work through feeling victimized by religion every day? I'm friends with Shay Carl."
And if you don't know who Shay Carl is, it might be time to tune in to the Will of DC. Odds are that Hyde will be covering him sometime soon.
Photo via YouTube