The idea of a Youtuber used to be a distant and foreign concept, but now they seem to be everywhere and Youtube seems to be bursting at the seams with them.
But then, so are our opinions of them. Are they a good thing? Are they bad? Should they even exist?
At some point in the distant past, a Youtuber was someone who made a few videos in their bedroom or office and uploaded them to the video site with the hope of gaining a few views. Fast forward to the present day and suddenly Youtubers are making millions of pounds every single year for uploading a few minutes of footage daily, weekly or whenever they get the chance.
With the term ‘Youtuber’ now owning a place in the Oxford dictionary, we’re not only being bombarded by them online, but now they’re releasing merchandise, cosmetics and books so we face them in the real world too. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Are all Youtubers the same?
Actually no. Some of the so-called Youtubers are worse than others.
Logan Paul is just one who springs to mind, who I have no doubt you’ll have heard of after he uploaded a widely criticised and appalled video of a Japanese ‘suicide forest’ which showed a man who had recently committed suicide, with an obvious lack of respect and empathy towards the subject. Despite an online petition garnering 570,000 signatures campaigning for his channel to be removed from Youtube, Logan Paul announced his ‘return’ to the site after just a month. Is a month enough? Should he be allowed back at all? Youtube responded by saying they were “upset by the video” and were looking into “further consequences”. Is this just one example of Youtubers becoming over-confident in their footage and posting whatever they choose? Or was this a genuine mistake that he regrets?
Youtubers aren’t all bad though. Personally I used to be an avid watcher of Zoella’s videos who made me laugh like nobody else I knew. Her videos on panic attacks and anxiety (which has amassed 4.2 million views) also gave me the first real bit of information about mental illness that I had ever had, and without that I don’t know how I would have coped or understood what myself and others were going through.
However, Youtubers force us to question exactly why they’re famous. Is it because of the platform they’re using? The idea of Youtubers was once so original but has now been overused and it feels as though the internet is bursting at its seams with them. Do all Youtubers make the same mistakes, or do they just face criticism because of their exposure?
The idea of a Youtuber is still quite an odd one. At its core, they are one person (or more) who sit in front of a camera and film themselves talking, reacting to things, going about their daily lives, or doing tutorials, and this could take them hours.
So why do some people take them so seriously? Obviously at the end of the day, they’re just normal people, or ‘celebrities’ that aren’t too far away from us. Would we criticise their content if they really were celebrities, or if they used a different platform?
Do I really think Youtubers are a bad thing? Well, no. They may well be glorified photographers and cameramen who earn way more than they should, but at the end of the day, it’s probably the simplicity of them that makes them so appealing. Their content is easily accessible and they provide people with entertainment, and on occasion, a voice that people can relate to.
Maybe some of them just need to remember to respect people and their dignity before clicking the upload button.
By Faith Pring