Defining a YouTube Star

By Iman Naima Smith

Image from Google
Image from Google

In June 2005, the popular, user-friendly hub for video sharing known as YouTube was still in its baby phase.

Today, the website has become so prominent that popular “YouTube Stars” can be found countlessly throughout the cybernetic realm.

But who exactly is considered a “YouTube Star”?

Kate Faiella, a junior broadcast journalism major, said YouTube Stars effectively captivate an audience.

“They’re usually opinionated, have a good sense of humor, or have something that draws people in,” Faiella said.

In Faiella’s opinion, YouTube comedian Jenna Marbles falls under such characteristics.

“She has a huge presence. She’s entertaining and has a larger than life personality,” Faiella said, “And YouTube has pushed her into the mainstream fame or promotions.”

Sara Yoe, a sophomore middle school education major, said a YouTube Star is, “someone who has a consistent following and is confident in themselves.”

Daniel Luu, a sophomore bioengineering major, creates weekly comedic videos on his YouTube channel titled, “Squishguin.”  Luu said he averages 800 to 1,000 views per video and his channel has 930 subscribers.

Luu said he creates videos related to pop culture such as his “Harlem Shake UMD (Valentine’s Day Edition)” video, or spoofs like“Hangover (Slender Parody).”

However, Luu said he doesn’t consider himself to be a YouTube Star.

“A lot of my audience are people I know,” Luu said. “I want to start reaching out of that. It’s just going to take one viral video.”

Luu said “Wong Fu Productions,” a group known for creative and popular short films and /music videos, inspire his video composition.“They [Wong Fu] really help me with the production side of things—camera work, lighting, film techniques,” he said.

Fifty percent of students on campus voted in favor of following a particular YouTube Star, while 52.27 percent voted against it, according to a Survey Monkey Poll.

YouTube celebrities have become so prevalent, even President Obama has taken notice.

In March, the Obama Administration collaborated with different YouTube Stars to help sell the Affordable Care Act, according to Fox News.  YouTube personality “Alphacat,” whose real identity is Iman Crosson,is featured in the promotional video, among other web-based stars.

“I think that, as the first time a president has used YouTube specifically to spread a message, it proves the site and its stars have a huge impact on the new generation of voters,” Brett Potter,a sophomore aerospace engineering major said.

Faiella said using YouTube Stars to convey a political message could be problematic.

“Politicians use whatever they can to get their message across,” Faiellashe said. “I just don’t think YouTube Stars who literally got their ‘fame’ from blogs is the best way to do so.”

For Luu to qualify himself as a YouTube Star, he would need to hear someone say his videos helped them in some way. “I’m not huge into politics,” he said, “but if promoting the Affordable Care Act was part of that [helping people], I would gladly do it.”


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