Over the past few years we have witnessed the blow up of YouTube, a platform where people have the opportunity to showcase their talents, or the lack of. For many young people YouTube has become a part of their daily routines, they come home from school or work and binge watch on their favourite YouTubers.
Many YouTubers have now become overnight sensations and “celebrities”, take Zoe Sugg for example, aka Zoella. A fashion and beauty guru who has notched up more than half a billion views on her channel since 2009. She has released two books ‘Girl Online’ and ‘Girl Online on Tour’, has a successful beauty range ‘Zoella Beauty’ and lives in a lavish home in Brighton where properties are some of the most expensive in the country, all thanks to her 10 million subscribers. She has a long way to go however, to catch up with her rival pewDiePie who has passed 42m subscribers and is the most popular YouTube celebrity to date.
It may seem baffling to people who aren’t exposed to YouTube or aren’t aware of its ever growing popularity. It is however, an oversaturated market that everyone is desperate to get into; in 2015 a video-tracking firm Tubular Labs reported that there are over 17,000 YouTube channels with more than 100,000 subscribers and nearly 1,500 with more than 1m subscribers.
Now, to put this into perspective Youtubers with as little as 100,000 subscribers get free products sent to them to review, invitations to exclusive brand events and lavish stays in London’s most expensive venues. You can’t help but find yourself thinking about the treatment that stars such as KSI and PewDiePie are receiving, both with more than 10m subscribers, it just seems excessive and unnecessary.
It cannot be disputed that Youtubers are influential figures to their young fans, Zoella is a digital Ambassador for Mind’, the mental health charity, Tyler Oakley (8m subscribers) is involved with The Trevor Project who prevent suicide amongst LGBT youth. On the contrary, Youtubers such as Alfie Deyes don’t have the same achievements, in fact, his achievements aren’t that outstanding and don’t explain why he has become such a YouTube celebrity.
Apart from his good looks and positive energy Deyes has nothing that makes him stand out from all other Youtubers, his two books ‘Pointless Book’ and ‘Pointless Book 2’ were just that, pointless. They delivered nothing that was educative or even entertaining. The lack of originality and the lack of effort that was put into this project is evident in the content. There are pages in the book where readers are simply told to list their favourite words or draw their dream home.
YouTube stars are popular due to their authenticity and ability to have close contact and a relationship with their audiences, they might be far more interactive and relatable than celebrities such as Beyoncé that many people can only dream of meeting, but we can’t overlook that they edit their videos and only show certain parts of their personality or their daily lives, they seem to provide their audiences with what they want through their videos or at least this is what viewers are led to believe. Youtubers now know what will get them the most views, collaborations with other massive youtube stars and shameless sponsored content is not for their viewers but for their own benefits, it pays well and gives them the celebirty lifestyle.