We have reached that pivotal time in human history in which cable television has become nearly a novel concept, solemnly trudging its way to take a dusty seat next to CD players on the island of outdated inventions. Now the giants of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and, most importantly for this article, YouTube have taken over the airwaves with impressive force.
YouTube has made an empire on the idea that anyone anywhere is a content creator as long as you have a camera and stable Wi-Fi. At first, this concept was confusing. No one knew what this medium was supposed to be, and no one cared.
Now, YouTube is mostly a generator of late-night talk show clips, music videos and movie trailers, but the spirit of what made YouTube unique remains in its valued content creators.
As adults, it’s easy to look at some of the “personalities” making a living from YouTube clicks and scoff. On the surface, they’re just average, cringy millennials being painfully average and cringy. However, these people all bare a unique talent that not only is unquantifiable, but also had no reason to exist before YouTube.
When I say YouTube “personality,” I mean people like Shane Dawson and Pewdiepie – those people who don’t necessarily do anything but still manage to hold millions of fans. They are born entertainers who carry that distinct talent of being able to not only hold an audience’s attention, but make them feel like they are a part of the experience.
Talk show hosts arguably have been able to do this for years, but between Reddit, Twitter, live-streaming etc., the level of interactivity between YouTubers and their fans is incomparable.
On top of this, these are some of the hardest, most dedicated content creators on the scene, as preparing, shooting, editing and uploading a quality video that won’t lose thousands of viewers every single day is one of the most challenging feats one could hope to take on in the entertainment industry. For most of these people, missing that one day could make a significant dent in the growth of their brand and hurt them financially by extension. Not a lot of people can take the strain of working every single day while simultaneously having to be personable and entertaining on top of creating fresh enough ideas to stay relevant.
YouTubers come and go all the time, but some stick around due to their creativity and diligence. That’s why Jacksepticeye has remained charming and fun for half a decade while Logan Paul is recording dead bodies for clicks. From that perspective, it’s difficult not to see how some of these people could be so respected by so many.
Watching these types of personalities on YouTube is so far evolved from what we are used to when it comes to non-interactive entertainment. For the first time in our history, we are seeing people become famous for nothing more than the fact that they are fun people to “hang out” with on a daily basis.
The droves of fans that these YouTubers have aren’t there necessarily to be entertained, informed or to be sold anything. These people tune in because they genuinely enjoy these individuals’ presence and care about what is happening in their lives.
YouTubers get popular because they attract those who are socially isolated. When people, especially kids and teens, feel that they are incapable of connecting with other people naturally, being able to have a friend that can make them laugh and welcome them into a life they otherwise wouldn’t be able to have is refreshing.
This interaction could potentially be beneficial for the mental health of young people, as creating an avenue for any type of shared creative expression is often a valuable asset.
YouTubers get crap all of the time for making so much money doing something that doesn’t take much talent, and I’ll be the first to say that some of that crap deserves to be smeared all over the faces of some content creators. However, blanketing YouTube as a whole may not necessarily be the right tactic. YouTube exists so that average people like you and me can self-express with the like-minded in a relatively safe environment.