Art by Molly
No one ever said that YouTube should be solely comprised of cat videos. I can’t imagine that ten years ago parents would brag about their child’s success making Internet videos, but in these times of digital immersion, becoming a YouTuber is not only possible but also profitable. People seek their fifteen minutes of fame all the time, and most would be inclined to think that YouTubers seek this kind of fame as well.
In actuality, some of the more notable YouTubers, for example, the Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green, began Brotherhood 2.0 as a means of just keeping in touch with each other in 2007, and it blossomed into so much more. I think people tend to write of their success story so often because their goal was not just to entertain, but to inform the online viewership of world events and of the good they could restore in the world (The Project for Awesome). These brothers have branched out into other YouTube channels, Crash Course and SciShow, created their own record label, DFTBA Records, instated VidCon, an annual convention for YouTubers, and even produced a very addictive adaptation of classic novel- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Talk about having your bases covered.
Whatever your interest, be it sketch comedy, make-up and fashion tips, even just tutorials on how to switch up your RAM, you can find it on YouTube. Most of these more professional vloggers are paid by advertisers and management companies to produce a certain number of videos per week. The Vlogbrothers and Nerdfightaria, among other notable YouTubers such as Hannah Hart (MyDrunkKitchen), Grace Helbig (DailyGrace), Alex Day (Nerimon), Chris Kendall (Crabstickz), and Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike) all had humble beginnings and now because of their online notoriety, have been offered amazing opportunities.
So how do you reach this point? How exactly do you go from talking to a camera twice a week to sponsorships and meet and greets with Pixar’s John Lasseter? From what I can glean, it’s about personality, a social media presence, and an unabashed belief in yourself. It’s a pretty scary thought to upload a video online, for the whole of the world to see. It’s ok to make mistakes; it’s fine if your video isn’t HD and filmed in a studio.
Viewers respond most to the YouTubers that are relatable and dedicated to their subscribers. One way to get noticed is to leave video responses on more famous YouTuber’s videos, you’d be surprised how often this works! Gaining viewership is just one obstacle in this journey of becoming a successful vlogger; once you have it, you gotta keep their attention. Branding and marketing yourself is key- integrate all your social media and invite criticism, invite banter!
But the most important aspect to take away from this is to never stop creating. Like writing, uploading videos should be like exercising a muscle, so you build on your past experiences and really grow in content and technique. YouTube can become whatever you want it to be: a personal diary, or an invitation to an online community, or as the trusty media scholar Marshall McLuhan would say, “the global village.”
Even established YouTubers feel the anxieties of this continually creative process. This success as a YouTuber is not easy work, nor is it instantaneous, so don’t be discouraged. If you have an idea or an opinion to share, just remember that all it takes to join these ranks is the courage to click “upload” and watch it go live.