Teens find DIY Fame on YouTube

From gaming to advocacy to makeup tutorials, YouTube has created a platform for users to reach stardom in an entirely new way.

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Sisay Shannon-Tamrat

BSM's very own Peter McCague is a YouTube star. His channel Weird Music Records has over 12,000 views.

Sophie Herrmann, Staff Writer

As online entertainment has grown in popularity, today’s teens have been looking in new places for their role models. The rise of YouTube stardom has changed what it means to be famous.

There are several ways YouTube fame sets itself apart from conventional popularity. First of all, YouTube fame can be easily measured. If people enjoy the content that a creator produces they can subscribe to that creator’s channel. As of now, PewDiePie has the most subscribers with 43,251,654. PewDiePie’s specialty is recording himself playing video games. Other popular creators in this field include Markipiler and Evan Fong of VanossGaming. “I don’t know what it is, but there is something so entertaining about watching other people play video games,” sophomore Joseph Rickman said.

But gaming is only one aspect of the diverse content on YouTube; popular fields range from makeup tutorials to mini-courses. For example, popular creators like Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota and Zoella provide product reviews and beauty tips. There is also the comedy portion of YouTube where creators like Jenna Marbles, Lilly Singh and Smosh have found their niche. Whether it’s stand up comedy, prank videos, or one of Smosh’s most famous videos—“If Video Games are Real” which as of now has over 37 million views—the comedy realm of YouTube is expansive.

There are even educational channels which have begun to be used within the classroom. CrashCourse, a channel created by John and Hank Green, currently has over four million subscribers. This channel has series ranging all the way from psychology to world history. “I can use videos from CrashCourse to either sum up or to act as a launching pad for a time period … John Green is a recognizable name, and he presents info in a fast pace way,” history teacher Ms. Megan Kern said.

I don’t know what it is, but there is something so entertaining about watching other people play video games.”

— Joseph Rickman

YouTube also has a serious side to it, often serving as a medium through which individuals explore social issues. Several YouTubers have used their platform to talk about issues that they find important. Creators Markipiler and Zoella have made several videos about their experiences with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. Several YouTubers including Ingrid Nilsen, Joey Graeffa and Connor Franta have all made Coming Out videos in an effort to share their stories and provide support with those struggling with their identity. “I think it’s really cool that they’re putting their experiences out there and using their own stories to help their viewers,” sophomore Michelle Wyley said.

YouTube has and will continue to impact the entertainment industry. Whether it’s through education or humor, the versatility of YouTube is what makes it a sustainable entertainment outlet. It has provided people across the world with new stories and new role models. “YouTube has completely changed entertainment. It has given everyday people an audience to share information with. Because of YouTube, there are so many more voices out there to listen to,” senior Riley Simonetti said.