For this week, I decided to distance away from my regular 'beauty blogger' posts, in order to concentrate upon the 'general' You Tube community. More specifically, I wanted to focus on two, extremely influential You Tube 'personas,' known as, Grace Helbig (28) (ItsGrace) and Tyler Oakley (25)(Tyler Oakley). Although both of these social media users are not 'beauty gurus' (obviously), they are excellent examples of social brand marketing.Between the two of them, they have 7 million subscribers on You Tube. However, they also contribute to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr (etc). With each of these platforms, they have thousands and millions of followers. Recently, they just participated in the renowned tech, music, and film festival, SXSW in Austin, Texas, entitled- (Watch here):Super Fandom in the You Tube Age. They have appeared on numerous television and talk shows, as well as various interviewing and 'hosting' gigs. Grace Helbig, who was previously involved with the channel- Daily Grace via My Damn Channel, which had an even larger following, left her former partnership and has undergone a complete reinvention of her channel. Tyler Oakley, who I would deem- 'Ruler of the Internet and Social Media' has partnered with different pop-culture channels and talk shows, as well as the organization, The Trevor Project. Thus, he often has been distinguished, as a LGBT v-logger/blogger and supporter. However, despite this, their infectious and witty personalities continue to live on within their original channels. They continue to collaborate with other You Tubers. Finally, they continue to expand into the 'mainstream/entertainment' world OUTSIDE of the You Tube Community (because that does exists)! Thus, for this week, I wanted to focus on the branding/marketing side of this 'Internet group,' as well as its subsequent effects upon the term 'fan-doms.'
Grace Helbig (@gracehelbig): comedian, actress, You Tuber, and former Miss New Jersey
Grace Helbig is a perfect example of how an individual can completely reinvent and sustain their social media platform. Starting her channel in 2008, Grace Helbig used to a part of her own channel, DailyGrace, where she would produce daily, comedic, often rude v-logs and collaborations for her subscribers. However, this channel was soon acquired by the larger company,My Damn Channel(MDC), who had come across her small you tube videos, and thus, helped her to produce an animated, live-action series. As such, at this point, this is where Grace's following and standing began to gain momentum.It is not a stretch to say, that through MDC, Grace became a huge social personality (liver appearances, meet-ups, endorsement deals (etc.)). Currently, as I mentioned above, Grace left this incredibly successful company, in order to create her own v-logs and videos. However, through a massive amount of a collaborations with other You Tuber partners and friends, she is back up to 4 million You Tube subscribers, after having only started her new channel (ItsGrace) last year. Moreov
er, through an online campaign, she was able to amass enough funding, in order to make a full-length feature film with other You Tubers and celebrities, which will be released later this year. Despite everything, Grace has maintained the same, individual persona. In addition, I though it was interesting how, in the article posted above (My Damn Channel link), her followers were completely devoted to her transition and vowed to unsubscribe from her previous channel for her new channel. Although Grace already possessed a huge following and an influential media persona, she took a giant leap of faith, in order to ensure, that her creativity would not be compromised by a corporate machine. Therefore, she is a supreme case study for the active and influential new social media user/ micro celebrity. (For More: Watch Grace Helbig with Smart Girls w/ Amy Poehler,for a really great over view of the 'life' and opinions of a v-logger and You Tuber). As she says in the interview, "Remind yourself [...] Is what you're doing enjoyable? is it fun? is it scary? [...] but fear doesn't mean enjoyable, so you need to figure out [...] do something in your life that is fun for you,or else why are we living?" Thus, I think that Grace has done a good job of abiding by this motto, as she continues to single-handingly rebuild and rebrand her 'social identity and image.'
Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley): You Tuber, Pop-culture Influencer and Icon, Host, Activist, and You Tube Personality
Tyler Oakley. I am not even sure how to go about describing this particular You Tuber. Similar to Grace, Tyler started his videos in college. After a while, he began to amass a large following, which allowed him to connect with notable You Tubers, brands, and companies across the Internet= (i.e.: YouGeneration: a You Tube 'hosting' platform for various distinguished You Tubers). As a subscriber to his channel,
I am in awe at how indefinable Tyler's platform actually is. He creates daily v-logs, interacts with 'fans' via twitter, face book, and tumblr, does social media conferences, as well as 'hosting/interviewing' gigs with notable celebrities. In addition, Tyler Oakley participated in a social media conference,hosted by Barack Obama at the White House. Although this conference was done, in order to promote the President's new health care plan, I think that this is a testament to the success of You Tube. These huge companies, as well as powerful people, like Barack Obama, are turning to these 'v/bloggers' for consultations and guidance. In addition, in order to place Tyler's large following into perspective, he set up a recent fundraising campaign for the LGBT group, The Trevor Project, in which he collected 30,000 dollars in 4 hours, and has now reached $525,704 (at this moment).Tyler's hilarious, infectious, bubbly, relatable sense of humor corresponds with his humanitarian endeavors. Although he may make videos, which delve into the inner realm of "One Direction" and "Lady Gaga,' he utilizes his persona, in order to 'ignite a match' and make a difference within the world. As such, with such a large following, how could he not succeed this goal?
Therefore, the You Tubers, Tyler Oakley and Grace Helbig represent the future for social media users and various 'social activists' within online communities. Since we have been talking about different 'social media groups,' who have garnered a similar following and influence, I thought it would be fascinating to analyze these single, individual
bloggers/vloggers, who have culminated their personal following completely on their own (for the most part). Specifically for Tyler Oakley (See link: Fandom: covers all of the topics below), as well as in his videos, he does not refer to his subscribers, as 'fans.' Although he may, jokingly, refer to them, as 'my people,' he does not define them by any specific term, as most 'celebrity fan-doms' do. For, 'his subscribers' are merely part of the You Tuber community, who happen to 'support' his videos and personal 'voice.' This, I feel, is the true meaning behind blogging and You Tube. Both Grace and Tyler remind their viewers of their individuality, as well as ability to interact within the online world. They do not 'push' their beliefs or values upon their viewers. Even their 'public personas' and twitter/social media names promote their 'real personas,' rather than a 'cutesty' screen name/pseudonym, such as the ones used by 'beauty gurus' or other existing You Tubers. As both of these You Tubers' social identities have grown, they have not only maintained their 'original voices,' but they continue to establish a sense of 'growth,' 'respect,' 'communication,' and 'inspiration' within this tight, (now) international community. Thus, Grace and Tyler are truly forces to be reckoned with.