Alright, so everybody’s been going crazy the past couple of months. By everybody, I mean YouTubers. And what they’ve been going crazy over is the seemingly recent acknowledgement of the of fame and stardom within the YouTube community and the consequences that follow. Let me break this down.
It all started with SprinkleOfGlitter, aka Louise Watson, who posted a video appropriately entitled “YouTube Culture” in May.
This video sparked a YouTube revolution. Okay, maybe not a revolution (yet), but it definitely got a great deal of people that use the platform to voice their opinions on the topic. From the people in comment sections, to smaller YouTubers, even to the major YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie.
What Louise was saying was that after experiencing her subscribers scream at her and go crazy at YouTube conventions and meet-ups, she was overwhelmed. She says that it has come to a point where her own fans scare her. She thinks that there needs to be a better way for famous content creators to interact with their fans in a more stable environment. What’s more important is that she believes that she doesn’t deserve the praise and idolisation from her subscribers. She used idol and role model” as the key word. Louise thinks, and I agree with her, that to idolise someone one needs to acknowledge that person’s life story. She fears that they might not realise that the person they see onscreen is only the version of herself she wants to put out there. In other words, often viewers fall in love with the person that the content creator has decided to portray, not the actual content creator. So when one says Louise is their idol, they really mean Sprinkleofglitter is their idol.
Personally, I agree with every single word she said. I left a lot out, so you really should check out the full video to get the full idea, it’s refreshingly honest.
What struck me the most was the part where she talked about how she found it weird that there were barriers between her and her viewers at this convention. Also, when she heard that a girl queued for 7 hours just to see her, she felt like crying. This was what got me thinking, for the first time, about the authenticity of the “dialogue” atmosphere the YouTube claims to uphold, contrasting to the “monologue” ideology of mainstream media.
Until recently, we’d all accepted the idea that mainstream media, mainly TV, is not a platform where creator and consumer can interact. Because, really, no matter how much I love Amy Poehler I know that there’s zero chance we’ll ever meet. However, I sincerely and shamelessly believe that I will meet Trisha Paytas, The Third Pew and Brandon Berg and that we’ll be the best of friends. Seriously. But the point is, I soon realised, after watching all of Tyler Oakley‘s VidCon vlogs, that YouTube culture really isn’t that different to Hollywood culture.
Notice the screaming fans screaming for Tyler’s attention. Also BODYGUARDS!
Granted, Tyler Oakley has over 4 million of subscribers, so fame is inevitable. However, the power that be have constructed an environment where the subscribers are treated as fans and YouTubers who happen to have lots of subscribers are treated as celebrities. Just like the mainstream entertainment industry. Bodyguards, flashing cameras, fangirls begging for the famous person’s attention, signed posters and red carpets.
People aren’t equal within the YouTube community. I’m not sure if they ever were; I got into YouTube relatively recently so I wasn’t there to witness the early days of YouTube but I see where it is today and I’m afraid to say, it looks a lot like the mainstream entertainment industry. There are spaces on YouTube where there is plenty of dialogue. Sadly, this usually only occurs when the YouTuber has below half a million subscribers, maybe even less. It seems that when the subscriber count goes up, comments and tweets stop getting replies.
Louise is really on to something, and I love it. She’s one of the few top YouTubers that seem to care about the divide between viewer and content creator. I respect that. She’s not the only one. Here’s a non-extensive list of other YouTubers that feel the same way (my favourite is TheThirdPew’s, just sayin’).
Don’t worry, I added links so just click on their names to go straight to their “YouTube Culture” videos. I know people of the Interwebs are lazy, I got you.
5. Vicky (from The Hopeful Family)
What’s your take on all this? Comment!