We live in a world now where it only takes a click of a button and you can upload a video or photo to the internet for everyone to see. It’s quite mind boggling in fact, the reach that we all have because of social media and video platforms such as YouTube.
Lots of articles talk about this new breed of celebrity, called “YouTubers” who have taken over the platform and become very popular with young people. It’s not hard to see what’s appealing about the “girl next door” showing you how to do your make up or just an ordinary guy picking up a camera and filming his day which could involve doing extraordinary things.
The real question though is, does this new breed of celebrity have more power because they are free from the confines of the traditional media and they can upload and say what they want within reason? YouTube of course has guidelines and these still need to be adhered to, more recently these guidelines have led to certain videos being demonetised if they are deemed to have breached them. If the video is really offensive then of course it could also be removed, but certainly in terms of people wanting to express their opinions it is very easy to do so.
Recently though there has been a lot of discussion over videos which have been demonetised because the content was deemed offensive even when it really wasn’t. There was also a lot of anger over the fact that YouTube had changed or altered the way its algorithm on videos works and therefore only older content was getting watched and YouTubers were losing views on more recent content.
The traditional media works differently, and by the traditional media I mean newspapers and broadcast companies such as the BBC, ITV etc. Creators on YouTube only answer to themselves so whatever it is they want to create or do with their channel, they can go ahead and do it. If they have something to say then there is no one stopping them from expressing their opinions (although as I said before, this is within reason). The ability for these YouTubers to do this has meant they not only have power over their content, but that their audience are more engaged because they feel like they are watching the “real” person as opposed to something which is far more scripted.
The influence of YouTubers has meant that lots of brands want to work with them now to collaborate on products or to have their services or products promoted in one of their videos. The traditional media has stricter guidelines that they have to stick to when promoting products within their content and because they are bigger companies/organisations, there are more channels to go through to make it happen. It’s much easier for brands to send their products to individual people to promote or to contact them and arrange to meet with them to arrange a collaboration. This gives YouTubers more power and influence because they are more accessible.
The power and the influence that YouTubers have is continuing to grow and will also continue to change in the future. It may change the way we interact with the media or make it obsolete, who knows? But for the time being YouTube has a lot of power and influence that arguably the traditional media doesn’t.