YouTube & Fame

By Ynel Garcia

Andy Warhol once said "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes". Well, the future is now and with the internet those 15 minutes might be easier to obtain than we thought. I'm talking about YouTube, the largest video sharing website on the internet. You can get thousands and even millions of viewers by simply uploading a video. If you're skeptical about this I won't blame you and I won't act like YouTube is a sure-fire way to get famous but it's a hell of a lot easier than the alternatives. If you're an actor or a comedian or a or a musician you can perform your heart out, write some of the best material you can but it can be hard getting through to the right people and breaking out. Upload a video on YouTube however then the viewers come to you and this part is that much easier if you're as talented as you believe you are. Take Justin Bieber for example - love him or hate him, he's a YouTube prodigy. At the age of 13 he uploaded videos to YouTube of him singing and a few years later he's discovered by a talent agent and signs with a record label. He used his internet popularity to obtain real life stardom.

            A lot of famous YouTubers actually come from humble beginnings. Ryan Higa(NigaHiga) started off as a high school student uploading lip syncing videos and skits, now he has more than 15 million subscribers doing more or less the same thing. There's also Mark Fischbach(Markiplier), a gaming YouTuber who was financially unstable before making videos and now he's sitting at the top with 10 million subscribers. Another familiar YouTuber is Anthony Padilla who graduated high school with no idea what to do for the future and decided to make videos with his friend, Ian Hecox. Together they created the channel, Smosh and accumulated 21 million subscribers. As you can see these guys are pretty normal - they didn't rise to fame due to some special talent but because they were entertaining, but how about now?

            The three channels I've mentioned were created in 2006, 2012, and 2005 respectively but YouTube changes. Here's a fun statistic. In 2007 there were 6 hours of video being uploaded per minute. In 2010 it was 24 hours per minute. In 2012 it was 60 hours. In 2015 it's 400 hours. Split that between the one billion channels and you've got yourself a very big website. But what's the point of all these numbers? Well it shows that there's a lot of competition now and those numbers will only grow. Sure, that means more people are watching videos but that means more people are uploading videos as well so you're more likely to be overlooked.

            Now, the view count is king so the more views the better and at this day and age people would do anything to get attention regardless of the negative repercussions. There are those who upload frequently regardless of quality which is a strategy small YouTubers use to amass views and subscribers and there are big YouTubers who do it to stay relevant. Another strategy of getting attention is uploading controversial videos since there really is no such thing as bad publicity. A channel called "Game Theory" gave a good example of this in the video "Game Theory - Leave PewDie Alone". In the episode he talks about Jimmy Kimmel's channel uploading videos mocking the YouTube gaming community and despite receiving overwhelming amounts of backlash they ended up being some of his most popular videos. The final attention seeking strategy is actually uploading a purposely bad video. Rebecca Black's song, Friday is an example of a bad video gone popular although it wasn't on purpose. It currently has 86 million views and 2.3 million likes/dislikes. Out of those 2.3 million only 500,000 liked it and the other 1.8 million are dislikes. People just love mocking terrible quality work and because of that they share it with friends and others take full advantage of that.

            There's also a slightly darker side of YouTube. In Frederick Levy's, "15 Minutes of Fame: Becoming a Star In The YouTube Revolution" he brings up viral videos which are videos that spread rapidly. Levy brings up how some people don't want much attention but with the internet and YouTube especially it's gotten so easy to share videos that you can become popular whether you want to or not. The example he uses is the viral video of Ghyslain Raza or "Star Wars Kid" who recorded himself swinging a gold ball retriever imitating "Star Wars" character, Darth Maul. His classmates uploaded the video on YouTube without his consent as a joke but it gained so much publicity that Raza was relentlessly ridiculed by people all over the world which ended in a law suit.

            This quest for fame comes at the cost of setting back those who are truly talented. Everyone wants a shot at fame and with YouTube being so accessible anyone who wants that opportunity can have it. YouTube fame is getting just as hard to obtain as real life fame with all the garbage being uploaded overwhelming the videos with any real merit and it can deter talented content creators. However, it's this very thinking that's evolved the community as much as it has. In the beginning of YouTube people would upload home videos, skits, videos of people singing and ranting - all pretty basic. As it got harder to stand out people started doing more unique things from having a channel revolve around guns like FPS Russia or a channel about cooking that appeals to males like EpicMealTime or a channel that's educational like Vsauce. The unorthodox is encouraged. So do something impressive and upload it, do something unique and upload, or do something stupid and upload it. Who knows, you just might get your 15 minutes yet.

                                                                    Works Cited

Higa, Ryan. "Draw My Life - Ryan Higa." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Padilla, Anthony. " Draw My Life - Anthony Padilla." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Fischbach, Mark. "Draw My Life - Markiplier." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 4 May. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Black, Rebecca. "Friday - Rebecca Black - Official Music Video." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 4 May. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

Patrick, Matthew. "Game Theory: Leave PewDiePie ALONE!" Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 4 May. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

Bickford, Tyler. "Justin Bieber, YouTube, and New Media Celebrity: The Tween Prodigy at Home and Online." 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

Levy, Frederick. 15 Minutes of Fame: Becoming a Star in the YouTube Revolution. Indianapolis: Penguin, 2008. Print.