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14 May 2014

Youtube Culture

I am, a self confessed internet human. And if you found my blog via Louise, the chances are you've noticed the title of my post thrown around a lot during the past couple of months. After umm-ing and ahh-ing about how to put my own opinion across on the whole scenario, it seemed very obvious to me that writing it out was probably the best method. And I know earlier today Zoella actually wrote a post about her own experience and about the transformation of her own life. At first I was a bit unsure about posting this, but I figure the chances are, if you read blogs, you probably watch vloggers too. And from the response of my ITAtube post, clearly a lot of you watch and follow the same people I do. I'm really sorry if this post is a bit wishy washy, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on the whole matter and although writing is what I do best (...after eating) I can't guarantee this post will make a whole lot of sense. It might just be a big word vomit. But I will try my best.

In the past year or so, the Youtube world has blown up a storm. To give some kind of example, I know that on Christmas Eve 2012/2013, Zoe Sugg was celebrating hitting 300'000 subscribers.... and Christmas Eve 2013/2014, she hit 2 million, almost half a year later and 5million is in the not-so-distant future. Personally, I find that absolutely mind blowing. I joined the Zoella club when she was probably at about 10'000-20'000 followers, I'm not 100% sure, but I found her after she posted on Louise's youtube to tell all of us loyal Sprinklerino's that Louise was in labour, yup with Baby Glitter, and yup that gives you a bit of an idea of how long I have followed them both.

Since the discovery of vloggers, I've always found a slight fascination with them. I read blogs way before I started the Youtube world, and I think it probably just comes with being a nosey human. It's probably the same kind of fascination people get with Big Brother, they're just ordinary people living ordinary lives, but somehow, because it's not your life, you find it interesting. My own blog is a perfect example of this, why would anyone other than me be bothered with my awkward life scenario's and dilemma's? Yet there's still quite a lovely lot of you who read every post! (Slightly off course there Alice), anyway, I couldn't tell you what causes me, or anyone else to watch and read these people and what they have to say, but I know that the more we do watch and read about them, the more we grow attached. And in my personal, humble opinion, this is probably where the problem is beginning. Unfortunately, whilst there are many level headed humans out in the world, there are a lot who don't understand the boundaries and the vast life change a lot of the Youtubers have had in the past year or so of their lives. I think a lot of viewers believe that they watch these people, weekly if not more, and thus they know them inside out. They feel like they have a connection. And although I'm not saying it's not reciprocated, I am sure a lot of girls are disappointed when they come to the realisation that they are actually one of many. There's only one Sprinkle of Glitter and Zoella, but there are millions of us. Unfortunately, the people who forget this are in the younger demographic. Please don't think I'm painting you all with the same brush, I'm just saying that generally it is 12-15year olds, who kick up the most fuss when attending events like SITC, Vidcon or Playlist Live and of course, it can be very over whelming. For instance, I queued up at ITAtube for a good couple of hours to meet Joe Sugg, Jim Chapman, Marcus Butler, Alfie Deyes and Caspar Lee. You may have seen the tweets from the Youtubers themselves, but on the first day, the security was horrific and there were 20 odd girls pouncing on the poor guys. I finally got to the very front of the queue, I mean literally I was being pushed into the barrier by the rest of the queuing girls,when an official looking lady came and told the guard that it was time to finish. No more people allowed up. Of course I was disappointed, you always know somebody will be that person, but you never expect it to be you. But I understood the boys had been doing meet and greets with hundreds of girls for a two hours and they were only human, they needed to rest. Despite this, around me there were girls absolutely sobbing. One girl next to be broke down and fell to the floor. Even for me, just a viewer, the situation was distressing watching all these girls tear apart. After about 10 minutes of this, the boys actually agreed to stay for an extra half an hour, so I got my 2 second hello from 3 of the boys and the other two were so surrounded by girls that after all the queuing, I didn't even get to meet them and tell them how much I enjoyed their content. Was it all worth it? Probably not.

As I said, this was just my experience as a viewer. So imagine the feelings of the Youtubers themselves, I'm sure they're heart broken when they see all of the girls screaming and crying as they make their way off the stage. I think it's all gotten a bit much, and I'm not even the one receiving the treatment. Unfortunately though, solutions are pretty scarce. The best I can really come up with are for Youtubers to hold competitions and have a big sit down coffee/cake session with 10 or so viewers, in order to have a really good chat and discussion. 
Playlist Live Audience source
I also wanted to briefly become a mother to my minions and remind you of the little fact that Youtubers present to you one side of them. Yes there are definitely some very open and honest youtubers, but at the end of the day, we do not know them or know what they are like in every day life. And it is something that in recent weeks, has definitely hit the Youtube 'community' hard, with certain situations coming to light. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, have a nose around and you will soon find out). Safety is definitely important, and you should never feel like just because you watch somebody's videos, you know them inside out. You really really don't. Generally, I like to think Youtube is full of good eggs, but you can never be too careful and you must remind yourselves you've never actually met these people before. Basically, stay sensible and stay safe, that's all I want to say!

As for idolisation, I think that's definitely a very controversial matter. I can understand why a lot of Youtubers might not feel they deserve the kind of attention they get. I'm going to be totally honest and throw it out there, vlogging is not much of a talent. Yes, you need to come across well on camera, but it's easy to pick up a camera and start talking to it one day. I'm not talking about the editing side, some of that is a real talent, but to idolize somebody because they sit in their bedroom is a bit silly in my opinion. I do think however, it's very different if you idolise Youtubers based on acts as opposed to personality. For instance, I think Jack and Finn are incredible, because they are fully aware of their popularity but they are putting it to incredible use, raising money for charities etc and each video clearly has a lot of time and effort put into it. You may (like me) admire Louise because of her approach to weight and basically how much it doesn't matter, big or small, fat or thin, if you are happy then that's what is important. And you may feel that Zoe has helped you to get through anxiety or made you aware of life beyond panic attacks etc. All of these are great traits, and if anything, these Youtubers should be admired and idolised for this. Not because of how beautiful they are or how shiny their hair is.


Youtube is a completely different place now. And it makes me a little bit sad... people originally posted videos because they loved filming and making them, with absolutely no idea how much it would blow up. But now, girls and boys are getting into Youtube because they want and  expect to get famous. And I think that is not the answer at all. Youtube is an absolutely incredible platform, but it is abused a lot right now as a means to make money. (I also want to add that I know I've been talking about making vlogs recently, but I actually posted vlogs on my channel back in 2009/2010 before turning into a music channel and making them all private!). 

Anyway, I think this is a bit of food for thought. And I would love to know everybody elses opinion on the matter!! Please feel free to bombard my comments and email with essays of opinion! I hope you don't mind the hefty post, I just felt like I needed to say something about it all! 

Ciao for now! 
x

8 comments:

  1. I've never been to one of these meetups, and I've only seen videos/read stories from both youtubers and viewers, but to me the solution seems to be to reduce the number of people in the meet and greet, and increase the quality and quantity of time. This may upset some viewers, but if it were me, I would prefer to see other viewers chat and spend time with their favourites than for there to be absolute chaos in the queue, a long wait and a two second hi. In my opinion, seeing as they are seen as celebrities by those who go to the meetups, it's completely unsurprising that there are heartbreaking scenes of girls in tears etc. After all, if One Direction (taking the most popular boyband for the 12-15 yr old demographic as an example) were to organise the kind of meet ups that youtubers did, it would be absolutely crazy!

    Like I said, I've never been to a meet up or event, so I guess I'm not in much of a position to make a suggestion but it's obviously something which is seriously affecting both viewers and youtubers and something needs to be done!

    I completely agree about the idolisation thing. If I'm going to idolise someone, it's going to be someone that's making a difference in the world, or in my personal life in particular, or someone that's putting their talents to amazing use. Don't get me wrong, I adore youtubers, but as you say they should be admired, and idolised for specific things or ways they approach things, not really just for their day to day videos in general!

    Sorry for my little outburst of opinion! I didn't really want to do a post myself but I think the points you've made are incredibly valid and important :)

    Imogen // imogenscribbles

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    Replies
    1. PS. Seriously admire your opinionated posts on here. It's something I've been meaning to get into but haven't really had the confidence yet!

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  2. Having read and watched youtuber's blogs and vlogs regarding this, it's really nice that you've thought about it and given your opinion.
    I do think that a lot of people are now starting youtube/blogs thinking they will get famous instantly, and I think that's really sad, and a negative of youtube suddenly blowing up like it has. You're so right, people should be admiring these youtubers for what they're doing in the World, how they work to make the World a better place, or the fact you see them as a real support for issues you're facing...not the fact they're seen as 'pretty' or 'always looking perfect'.

    I started my blog recently, for something to do, an outlet, a sort of escape of some situations I find myself in atm...and it's really helped...so I'm thankful to the youtubers I watch/bloggers I read, for encouraging me to begin. Never has the thought ever crossed my mind, 'oh I want to be 'famous' like these people...heck I don't know if anyone even reads my blog, but I'm doing it for me and only me! If I ever met any of these youtubers, I literally think of them as friends, and would know we'd get on and have a laugh, and if we'd met in other circumstances I could see me being really close friends with some of them...but I don't see them as famous, or celebs, or idolise them...I'm not sure if this is due to being the same age as them (rather than a lot younger and in the 12-15 bracket you talk of)...but regardless of age, I think their 'fans' who can be seen as a little crazy, need to step back a little and see things from a slightly different perspective sometimes!

    Phew!
    xx

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  3. I wrote a similar piece yesterday (http://www.theperksofbeingahipster.com/2014/05/the-youtuberblogger-community-thoughts.html). It was really interesting to read this from the perspective of someone who has actually been to one of these events and seen the overwhelming way in which people behave! I think you're right, people now write not because they want to, but because they think 'ohhh I could be the next Zoella' and it's all very odd. I think she's pretty and seems lovely but I'm not suprised she's a bit bemused by how far this has gone! xxx

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  4. I think this is such a big question at the moment and almost everyone is discussing it. What I love is that everyone has a different view, for example mine (http://justalittlebitoftwaddle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/are-you-passion-fruit-or-plain-old.html ) is different to yours and the nexts person is probably different to mine. But the one clear thing all of us have on our minds is the interests of the people we look up to. I think the only way we can fix this problem is understand what they want and want fans want and respecting everyone's wants and needs. Unfortunately, youtube has grown so big so quickly that its youtubers have become mock celebrities without particularly wanting to and i think we definitely need to work on making it personal again. I think the points you've discussed here are so right and you did it really well. Bronwen xx

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  5. I would totally agree with you and it does seem to feel like the more popular youtubers get, the more it seems to lose the meaning of their videos, not necessarily their content going downhill but the response coming more from the perfection angle. Many a youtuber has talked about how their video will be very serious and then the comments will come up with people telling them how attractive they are. Sometimes that's why blogging is more appealing, because often you can't come to picture the person who's written the words and therefore they come across with the words they say, not how many subscribers they've got or how shiny their hair is (though of course if you have a beauty blog that is bound to come up).

    I personally only really started watching youtube last february and honestly, it's a good feeling in a way knowing that I caught people on the rise rather than from the beginning, like you, because it would honestly I think break my heart knowing that you can get washed away in the crowds and that the meaning that the viewers could once share with their audience can just get washed away. I may sound like one of the girls you mentioned but by no means am I unaware of the situation, I would just, like you said, love to be able to interact with the creators, person to person and whilst that is no longer possible, what on earth happens now?

    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Alice!

    I'm a new reader here and am on an ongoing binge read of your blog, so excuse me if I happen to creep you out by commenting excessively. I'm not a stalker, I promise, haha.

    So yes firstly, I adore your blog. I love the way you write and you know, have opinions.

    Now on to the topic at hand. I find it sad that it's almost a year now since you've written this post and the whole YouTube situation just seems to have become worse and unfortunately posts like yours among many others do not really seem to have affected the younger age bracket we are talking about.

    I won't say much because a lot of great comments have already been made above, but I was wondering if you have seen the series 'Becoming YouTube' by Benjamin Cook ? I'm quite sure you would have ( it's insanely on point and blunt, so do check it out if you haven't ) It discusses the above issues very intelligently. Series 2 is set to be out soon so I'm really looking forward to that because in the two years since the first one has aired, soooo much has changed for the worse in the Youtube community.

    A lot of vloggers I was quite fond of initially are losing their appeal now because it pains me to see them not fully realising the potential their fame has to actually contribute to society in a meaningful way, as opposed to releasing pointless books ( see what I did there? Sorry ). I'm glad that there are heaps of others who are actually doing great work in terms of quality and using what small following they have to do good, and I find it much more satisfying as well as thought provoking to view their work. Louise, Jack and Dean, Tomska, Hazel Hayes and Dan and Phil who I will forever have a soft spot for.

    As for the superstars of YouTube I really do hope they start using their influence for good and maybe some of us older peeps will go back to viewing them.

    Have a lovely day!

    Minna xx
    www.minnabansal.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Alice!

    I'm a new reader here and am on an ongoing binge read of your blog, so excuse me if I happen to creep you out by commenting excessively. I'm not a stalker, I promise, haha.

    So yes firstly, I adore your blog. I love the way you write and you know, have opinions.

    Now on to the topic at hand. I find it sad that it's almost a year now since you've written this post and the whole YouTube situation just seems to have become worse and unfortunately posts like yours among many others do not really seem to have affected the younger age bracket we are talking about.

    I won't say much because a lot of great comments have already been made above, but I was wondering if you have seen the series 'Becoming YouTube' by Benjamin Cook ? I'm quite sure you would have ( it's insanely on point and blunt, so do check it out if you haven't ) It discusses the above issues very intelligently. Series 2 is set to be out soon so I'm really looking forward to that because in the two years since the first one has aired, soooo much has changed for the worse in the Youtube community.

    A lot of vloggers I was quite fond of initially are losing their appeal now because it pains me to see them not fully realising the potential their fame has to actually contribute to society in a meaningful way, as opposed to releasing pointless books ( see what I did there? Sorry ). I'm glad that there are heaps of others who are actually doing great work in terms of quality and using what small following they have to do good, and I find it much more satisfying as well as thought provoking to view their work. Louise, Jack and Dean, Tomska, Hazel Hayes and Dan and Phil who I will forever have a soft spot for.

    As for the superstars of YouTube I really do hope they start using their influence for good and maybe some of us older peeps will go back to viewing them.

    Have a lovely day!

    Minna xx
    www.minnabansal.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete

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