On YouTube , the mononymous Markiplier is a screaming, swearing, videogame-playing sensation. His loud, zany presence has earned him 23 million followers and, by Forbes’ estimate, over $17 million in the last year. Offline and in our studio, though, Mark Edward Fischbach is deadpan, soft-spoken, and even a little serious.
Fischbach has been on YouTube since 2012, an eternity in social media celebrity years. He’s had his channel banned by a rogue algorithm. He’s watched his silly sketches become memes. He’s dealt with YouTube creators’ most pressing problem—burnout. “I’d been making two videos a day, everyday, without vacation,” Fischbach tells us. “It was getting to me that I was making videos I wasn’t really proud of, that I wasn’t using them to really learn anything.” Now, he’s ready for that rare luxury in influencerland: time off.
Still, he assures us, he’s far from done with the platform. “It may not be the best place to make a living, especially right away,” Fischbach says. “But it is a great place to get your thoughts and ideas out there.” For more about making it on YouTube—along with some fun facts about twerking and trypophobia—watch our WIRED Autocomplete video above.
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Its problems reflect and contribute to our culture like a big, scandalous, Tide Pod-and-condom-slurping ouroboros.So it’s fitting that YouTube’s most persistent bugaboos this year have been America’s: out-of-control celebrities and our cultural addiction to them, racism and conspiracy theories, and policies that disproportionately impact vulnerable groups like the LGBTQ community.But as much as 2018 was a year beset by scandal and frenzied backpedaling, it was also a year in which YouTube started trying in earnest to reckon with its own problems.