The New World’s Internet Aristocracy
I would assume by now you are familiar with YouTube. Unless you currently live in the marsh in a small grotto made of silt, or in a hammock slung between the internal beams of an electric pylon, you’ll know that the vlogging site (yes, that is now a word) can amount to hours of addictive and time consuming fun. I often find myself in a YouTube-vortex (my own expression) as I click on one ‘recommended video’ after another, falling further and further into its gravitational pull.
Zoe Elizabeth Sugg (styled as Zoella, which you have to admit is a VERY good YouTube name) has taken my country, the United Kingdom, by storm. First with blog posts on blogging site Bloglovin -which swiftly gained thousand her one thousand followers in 2010 — then with a move onto YouTube to expand her reach and finally into the arms of ‘Social Talent Management’ company Gleam Futures, who manage what they refer to as ‘Social Media talent’, or ‘internet stars’. She has 10 Million Subscribers. I’ll say that again. She has TEN. MILLION. SUBSCRIBERS. That’s almost twice the population of Scotland. That is the Greater London Urban Area.
Her current boyfriend, whom she met in 2012 at a YouTube event, is fellow YouTube star and Gleam Futures client Alfie Deyes, who runs YouTube channels ‘PointlessBlog’, ‘PointlessBlogVlogs’ and ‘PointlessBlogGames’. He has garnered 5.1 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS on his main channel as of May 2016. Together with Zoe’s brother, Joe Sugg — known on the internet as ThatcherJoe (656 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS) and a few other channels of similar they make up Britain’s Internet Aristocracy.
They’re probably in with the ACTUAL aristocracy now as well, with Zoella, Alfie, Joe and their YouTube collaborator Jim Chapman (2 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS) heading David Cameron’s National Citizen Service scheme for 15 to 17 year-olds. They are the YouTube ambassadors for the scheme, look it up!
It follows however that if anyone can do this, there are others doing it that probably wouldn’t be considered ‘model British citizens’. For example, I give you the example of Mr OiOi. Now this fella is also an internet star, but his approach is more erm… well he isnt coming from the same place as Zoella, Joe and Jim, if you get my drift. That is to say, his target audience isn’t 15 year old girls in Berkshire. He is currently in jail for violent disorder. If you want to watch Mr OiOi’s YouTube videos (some of which are kind of disgusting) then go ahead. I think the people of the City of Newcastle — along with anyone convinced of the human race’s decline — would rather you didn’t.
This phenomenon isn’t unique to Britain (although we seem to be leading the world in this field, I smugly say). The United States has Connor Franta and Shane Dawson — and Australia has South African born Perthian Troye Sivan, who was also involved in music and acting before becoming more of a YouTube personality. That’s right, he actually switched from being more of a musician and actor into being a more famous YouTube personality than he ever was as a performer. Although, they are perfomer’s of sorts.
Now I can’t help but feel that such phenomena aren’t aimed at me. I mean, the age demographic of Zoella’s, Joe’s and Jim’s target audience seems to be around that of the National Citizen Service age group (shrewd work by the Government in appointing them online Summer Camp ambassadors). In the good old days when I was 15, it’s not like we were glued to computer screens all day. We had pursuits like… MySpace and… and Facebook and… MSN Messenger… and… and YouTube and… wait a minute!?!! We were!
These ‘internet entrepreneurs’ (not counting Mr OiOi, who is by no stretch of the word’s definition an entrepreneur) are the future. They are my generation’s output. Most of them are my age, give or take a few months, maybe I should try a new angle with my YouTube Channel!
Finally, I’ll conclude by saying it’s a beautiful thing whenever today’s Young People, a generation with many financial issues, can give the world an insight into their lives and do so as creatively as Britain’s Internet Arisrocracy have done here. Hopefully their imprint will inspire others to do the same.