Monday, 30 March 2015

The Perfect Life as told by YouTube

Right, third time of writing this. It’s a subject which I know could cause me a lot of grief if I don’t get it right so here goes…

Basically I want to talk about YouTubers and Bloggers and their lives that are out there for everyone to see. It’s a relative new concept which has become popular within the last 5 years or so and it’s a weird one. There’s no denying the fact that it’s strange how people want to show their lives for everyone to see on the internet. Can you imagine if we told our grandparents when they were our age that in 2010 people would start writing an online diary called a ‘blog’ and there would be people who were famous for pointing a camera at their own face and broadcasting it on a world wide platform? They’d think you were joking!


The more famous YouTubers seem to have the ‘perfect life’, and I do think this is down to what they are told to post by their management company (you’ll find that there are loads who have multiple channels so they have a bit more freedom). Big house, nice clothes, expensive makeup, the latest games consoles, wonderful holidays, perfect friends and happy family lives; so much so that they have fans who are in complete awe of what they have and they’re constantly receiving proclamations of love on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr… etc. There’s a massive array of YouTube viewers, I know, but the viewers of the most famous ones who have also appeared on TV do seem to be under 18 and this is what worries me a little bit. 

I know youngsters are open to things like TV which can show real life in a very skewed manner but I just think that it’s easier to know that most things on TV are ‘not real’ because they show ‘traditional celebrities’, I say traditional because there has been this shift in what we class as a celebrity due to the rise of YouTube and blog fame. In my opinion, viewers are much more likely to buy into a YouTuber than they are to someone who is on TV because YouTubers seem much more like our ‘best friend'; they’re just normal people who have found popularity by broadcasting themselves on social media. So when sponsorship is rife and YouTubers are under pressure from their management to keep up appearances it becomes increasingly harder to distinguish what’s really real and what’s not. 

What originally brought this into the forefront of my mind is when my 15 year old niece asked me about what I believed on YouTube and I just answered 'take it with a pinch of salt' because I don't want her thinking that what is portrayed on YouTube is 'real life'. Shit happens and although I don't think anyone should broadcast it, I also think it's wrong to make out like everything is perfect, not just for anyone watching it (especially the impressionable teens who make up a vast majority of a lot of audiences) but surely a charade like that is bloody exhausting?! Behind the scenes is obviously a very different thing, other than anxiety (which seems to be the most talked about condition), how do we know what these people are going through? We don’t, and I think when watching YouTube videos, it’s so important to remember that. 

What are your thoughts on the perfect YouTube life?

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