Strathclyde Telegraph

The Rise of the ‘Youtuber’

 

By Kathleen Speirs

‘Zoella’, ‘Pointless Blog’, ‘Pixiwoo’: for many these titles bear no meaning whatsoever.

Yet for millions of teenagers across the globe, the mere mention of such names incites utter frenzy and sheer idolisation. These people, dubbed ‘YouTubers’, are internet sensations whose video blogs have gone so viral, that their fame is stretching far beyond the realms of cyberspace. A YouTuber regularly uploads video blogs of themselves to YouTube detailing absolutely anything they feel is either of interest to them, or to those who subscribe to their channel from ‘Reasons I shouldn’t eat sushi’ to ‘How to look like Kylie Jenner’ to ‘The Chicken Nugget Challenge’.

Millions of subscribers attend annual YouTube conventions such as ‘Playlist Live’ in Florida and ‘Vidcon’ in California in their droves to meet their online idols. Likened to that of a huge music concert, fans queue for hours to have only seconds with a YouTuber, with many fainting or passing out from heat exhaustion, anxiety or from being truly overwhelmed, all for someone who talks into a camera under make-shift lighting in their bedroom once a week.

It then begs the question as to what makes this contingent of inter-web heavyweights so popular among teens? YouTubers embody the most normalised version of celebrity because for the most part, they really do just seem like you and I. ‘Zoella’, and co. are neither Disney Club nor Brit School graduates. Their occupation requires more effort than rich relations, and the source of their fame derives from a platform universally accessible. The success of the YouTuber is a result of hard graft and providing their audiences with honesty, the latter being something difficult to find in your archetypal famous face.

Moreover many Video Bloggers or, ‘Vloggers’ take responsibility for their primarily younger audience and address issues that they, like any other human being, face whilst off camera. Open online discussions related to anxiety, relationships, university, and online bullying shows YouTubers as average human beings, making them more accessible and as a result more appealing. YouTubers consider viewers as friends, forming an online community which is renowned for its supportive and encouraging members – something one might not associate with a portal deemed at times dangerous and emotionally destructive.

Much of this sincerity is evident through daily vlogging which involves footage of excerpts of their favourite YouTuber’s everyday life. Indeed many regular celebs record video diaries or have an active twitter account to ‘personally reach out to their fan base’. Although with heavy editing and a character limit respectively, nothing quite compares to the access subscribers to Daily Vloggers possess; something which comes as a requisite rather than a bonus feature.

Their earnings come mostly from businesses and advertising companies wise to the ever-growing popularity of this entertainment outlet. Companies pay a premium for YouTube’s recommendation of a brand, or item, which in this day and age is worth its weight in gold.

YouTubers are now more than ever being taken seriously as celebrities and money-makers in their own right. Releases of beauty ranges, novels and even dry shampoo, alongside participation in ‘Dancing with the Stars’, ‘The Great Comic Relief Bake off’ and the recording of the ‘Band Aid 30’ single I believe speaks for itself.

And the biggest success story of them all? With over seven million subscribers, a million pound mansion, two-book deal with ‘Penguin’,  beauty range and  £300,000 salary to boot, 24 year-old Zoe Sugg, or ’Zoella’, who attained such wealth from something that started as just a hobby, is without doubt the one to watch.

Arguably as opposed to film stars, or musicians, who are geared towards teenagers yet can be identified by the parents and even grandparents of said teenagers, many YouTubers are practically alien to anyone over the age of 25.

This could be down to lack of recognition.

Considering events such the Oscars that celebrate the work of Hollywood megastars, the idea of presenting an award to a video blogger may appear somewhat inordinate. As their fame is directly linked to the internet, older generations may feel they are unable to qualify bestowing congratulations onto stars from a platform that lacks the long-establishment of others. In addition with the internet comes a notion of fame that is instantaneous and doesn’t last, especially with the growing popularity of vines or other photos and videos shared through social media. Indeed considering their lack of comprehension towards the power of the internet regarding its source of legitimate fame, older generations may be supported in their view if it based on said vines or faddish photos; let’s be honest who really remembers whether they seen the dress as blue and black or white and gold?

What sets YouTubers, otherwise known as, ‘#TeamInternet’, apart is how they got to the conventions with hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. Unlike those of Vine, or reality TV fame, their success has been a long time coming, after years of building up audiences through self-promotion on social media and sheer perseverance to improve themselves at doing what they love, and by the looks of things, are here to stay.if (document.currentScript) {