You may have noticed over the past few years the emergence of a new and very unsettling form of fame, The YouTube star! Who the hell are they, and why do we care?
They call themselves Vloggers (video bloggers) or YouTubers and they have built a career on posting various lifestyle based videos ranging from makeup tutorials; fashion advice; facing challenges suggested to them by their subscribers, and even providing video diaries detailing every trivial aspect of their everyday lives.
Between 2013 and 2014 Google reported that the amount of time people spent watching video on the Internet grew by 38.5%. Every month, more than 1 billion people were watching more than 6 billion hours of video*, a figure which has only grown greater since. The rise of the Vlogger is greatly responsible for these rising figures; if it already sounds like I have taken great umbrage toward these people, you’d only be partially correct.
WARNING: Prepare for a bit of a douchebag rant followed by a massive U-turn
65% of me is annoyed by the fact that the orchestrators of these videos feel that the content of their videos –which often appears vapid and completely devoid of any value – is important enough to be broadcast out for the world to see; 100% of me is extremely annoyed that millions upon millions of the general public from every corner of the world seems to agree with them, and takes great relish in following their antics.
This is where my soap box rant is about to take a mahoosive U-turn, as the capitalist in me is extremely proud of these – on the surface of it talentless – people making reported millions from the recording of their exploits. They achieve these great sums through advertising, video sponsorship and paid product plugging, which can go for around £20 a mention from the more notable YouTubers. I say on the surface of it talentless, because in actual fact successful Vlogging takes a resolute consistency in filming, a certain quality of sound and lighting, a constant interaction with your audience and an ability to talk to camera with interesting or relevant things, even when you don’t really want to. The trick is to make it appear effortless, make it look like they just turned on the camera in the morning with no planning at all, when in actual fact content and activities are planned for the sake of interesting content.
As you will have determined by now, my opinion on this form of celebrity is not quite what was expected. I myself went into this conversation with a preconceived negative idea of how I felt about this trend, but in the process of making an informed argument on the topic I watched hours of Vlogging content and now find myself in the very unfortunate situation of being completely addicted (I’m considering seeking compensation from my employer for this addiction seeing as it was all in the line of duty).
Some of the most famous Vloggers
43.5 million subscribers
Swedish Vlogger Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, has amassed massive fame and fortune by providing a running commentary whilst he plays computer games. His reported worth has placed him in the covers of Forbes magazine and his annual income is modestly estimated at around $9 million.
PewDiePie’s YouTube Channel
10.5 million subscribers
Zoe “Zoella” Sugg is YouTube royalty. Her career began with simple makeup tutorials and shopping hauls which turned into a hugely popular YouTube channel, two best selling novels, the launch of a beauty products range, a feature in an ad campaign for YouTube and so on…
Zoella’s YouTube Channel
8 million subscribers
Alfie “PointlessBlog” Deyes is the boyfriend of “Zoella” making them the Jay-Z and Beyonce power couple of YouTube. PointlessBlog had a massive following in its own right before this unification, he has also written three ‘Best Selling’ books and the couple are so popular that they were voted by the public to appear in Madame Tussauds as waxworks, where they now stand.
PointlessBlog/PointlessBlogVlogs YouTube Channel
12 million subscribers
KSI is a British videogame commentator who has built a massive following and used this fame as a springboard to a music career. His hip-hop single “Lamborghini” reached number 30 on the U.K. charts.
KSI’s YouTube Channel
8 million subscribers
Beyond his wildly successful YouTube channel, Tyler Oakley has won numerous awards for his representation of the LGBT community, toured the US and UK with his stage show, produced a documentary and made a number of high profile television appearances.
Tyler Oakley’s YouTube Channel
This is just a very small slice of the successful YouTube community, but what it demonstrates is the sheer power their positions wield in today’s world – especially in the world of advertising and marketing. When you have over 10 million followers worldwide, one mention of a product can mean it selling out within minutes. This is where for me it gets interesting….
If I find the time and confidence, I would like to run a little YouTube experiment.
Being a young‘ish’ person (only slightly past the 20s age bracket of the others) I thought it was about time to see if I could get a slice of the ‘Vlogging’ pie! I’d like to make my very first ‘Vlog’ to see if I can generate any interest in the drivel that leaks out of my mouth whilst in front of the camera. So for this to happen let us know what you want to see on YouTube, do you want craft tutorials (baking and making), do you want challenges, dance tutorials or video diaries? Make any suggestions and I’ll see what I can do. And if I do pluck up the courage to do this please watch, like, share and subscribe, and who knows my channel might blow up and next time you see me I’ll be wearing a ‘big ass’ gold chain.