Generation YouTube

Thanks to the popularity of online media sites like YouTube, rising to fame through mainstream entertainment is a thing of the past. This generation, we say goodbye to strict guidelines and specific steps on “how-to-make-it-big”, and hello to creative freedom and expression. Some content creators on YouTube, or also often referred to as “YouTubers”, have risen to fame through sharing what they love to do – through video!

The reason why this generation idolizes YouTubers is because they came from normal beginnings like you and I. As viewers, we are drawn to content that we can connect with on a personal level. From makeup tips to daily vlogs, gaming tutorials and prank videos, YouTube offers millions of options for viewers to select from. This direct and intimate connection to the audience is perhaps the most remarkable element of YouTube, which cannot be brought out by mainstream entertainment.

One of my favourite YouTubers is a popular beauty vlogger who goes by the channel name HeyClaire (http://www.youtube.com/heyclaire). Claire interacts with her audience of 800,000+ subscribers through posting beauty reviews, daily vlogs, and creative ways to show off her sense of style. As someone who is passionate about beauty and fashion, living vicariously through her life in videos provides me with entertainment and a sense of connection with her, even though I’ve never met her in person. The power that YouTube has to allow creators to connect with their audiences is one that television could never match.

Want to get an idea of the craziness of online fandom? There are many YouTube gatherings held across the world, including VidCon, Playlist Live, and Buffer Festival (right in Toronto!), with over 20,000+ people in attendance! These events are absolutely nuts, and often resemble movie premieres and events that mainstream media hold. Yes, YouTubers have mentioned that they have been chased down the street by screaming fans (I am proud to say I have not been one of them) and yes, they do sign autographs and sell merchandise.

I’ve taken a stab at the YouTube world myself (http://www.youtube.com/ThosePaperHearts). Although I haven’t been posting regularly, I have a general sense of the creative freedom that YouTube offers. It is actually encouraged to be different and stand out from others in order to be noticed, unlike succumbing to mainstream media norms.

We are arguably the most creative generation thus far, and with YouTube, talents can be untapped and recognized through this massive sharing platform – without the pressure of mainstream media guidelines. I have no doubt that the YouTube community will only grow bigger from here. The mentality that these YouTubers have instilled in our generation is that you don’t need mainstream media to get noticed anymore. If they can do it, so can you.

The secret formula for making it on YouTube? Creativity, dedication, and genuine passion.