I've heard nightmare scenarios about this happening to other content creators with thousands more followers than I will ever have. I always thought I was so much smarter than they were.
What a humbling experience this has been for me.
HOW THIS HAPPENED
While setting up my new desktop studio computer I encountered an issue with my Gmail account not accepting my password and so I went to my living room and signed into Gmail with my laptop. At which point Google locked me out of my account and even though I have 2 point authentication using my cell phone and a backup email - they refused to allow me back in after repeated attempts. First I was told 48 hours were needed to confirm who I was and then the last message I got from them was - "Google Cannot Verify This Account".
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Meaning One should not concentrate all efforts and resources in one area as one could lose everything.
I was ALL IN with Google - I was way too comfortable with them and I trusted them.
I used them for everything - my email, YouTube for my videos, Google Drive for storage - and of course they held ALL my passwords for me. ONE SERVICE FOR EVERYTHING ONLINE - HOW CONVENIENT!
The PRICE of "FREE SOFTWARE SERVICES" is that they are not really "Free" - you are paying the price by allowing them to harvest all your personal and professional data to sell it to the highest bidder and even worse - you turn complete control of your online security access over to them. They can edit or block you and your content as they wish with impunity. This is not human based - it is all done by algorithms run by Google's AI. I highly doubt that any actual living person was even involved in what happened to me. If you want to test this - type something derogatory using Google's name in a comment on a YouTube video and see what happens.
Google's powerful AI backed algorithms are what allows it to delete and demonetize ANY YouTube video that uses copyrighted music - within seconds of it being uploaded. In addition to that - I now hear from YouTube content creators that the AI recently began additional screens for things like violence, racial slurs, swearing, nudity, sexual content and immediately demonetizes and/or deletes for these infractions. Make no mistake - Google's AI is nothing to mess with and if you use their "FREE" services you must be aware of the risk and comply with it at all times.
MOVING ON ... WHAT'S NEXT?
This website has a handful of old contacts that I will be reaching out to in the coming days to let them know what happened. I have re-activated Facebook, much to my chagrin. It's so humiliating for me.
The truth is, I've never had much of an audience. I had 48 email followers I called my "Art Peeps", and I had 69 subscribers on my YouTube channel. I've lost them all through this experience and have no way to contact them to tell them what happened. So, I have no audience for my work. Which leads to the next question - why am I creating anything at all? If no one but me observes my creations - what possible value is there in creating? This is the question I am currently asking myself and the Universe.
The irony is that this happened when I was attempting to set up my new and very expensive studio computer. I was in the midst of learning Blender 3D and Unreal Engine 5 - for my digital art book which I was going to interlace with video links as a multimedia project.
So, I really can't tell you what's next, because I don't know.
Until next time ...