Zoella, Jack and Finn Harries, JC Caylen and Kian Lawley—these are your new opinion leaders. These YouTubers are taking over the Internet. In turn, they keep their audiences up-to-date on the newest products, address social issues when they arise and provide a good laugh.
YouTube was created by employees of PayPal in 2005. The creators of this video-sharing website allowed the public to view the site six months before its official debut. The following year, YouTube was purchased by one of the biggest companies in the nation: Google. Since the conception of this idea, the website has become a go-to site for all things video.
Individuals who had a camera and a plan soon started posting videos on the site. Many YouTubers have been on the site for several years and made posting videos a career, such as popular YouTuber Alfie Deyes. They post their private life on the Internet through daily vlogs and a variety of social media platforms. While YouTubers are not always considered celebrities, their social stances make them formal opinion leaders. Conventions, meet-and-greets and tours are held in honor of theses entertainers as we build a relationship with them through the screen and beyond. They are invited to movie premieres and even win blimps at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
YouTubers have become the newest opinion leaders in our generation. For example, Zoella and Arden Rose relay to viewers their opinions on new beauty products and their latest shopping hauls, which are the items they purchased as well as the places they were purchased. This product placement not only encourages viewers to buy from a certain store, but it also cuts out the anonymous reviewer from online sites. Oftentimes consumers rely on the brand itself or reviews from the site they are visiting, hoping that the anonymous reviewer is credible. Without a reviewer’s approval, we are left wondering if our purchase will be worth it. These anonymous reviewers are no longer necessary. With the help of our new YouTube opinion leaders, we are able to determine whether a certain brand is the right fit for us.
Not only are YouTubers influencing our brand choice, but also our social stances. Tyler Oakley, one of the biggest voices for YouTube, has raised several thousand dollars, with the support of his viewers, for the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for the LGBTQ community. Even President Barack Obama realizes the influence in which YouTubers have. Last year, President Obama invited YouTubers such as Tyler Oakley and Hannah Hart to discuss the current issues and causes they feel strongly about.
YouTubers can also be authors, with many YouTubers writing their own autobiographies. Zoella went a different route by writing a fictional novel. With the success from her first book, Girl Online, still on everyone’s mind, Zoella announced her second novel, Girl Online on Tour. Through her daily vlogs, Zoella has kept her viewers in the know about the progression of the new book. The sequel debuted on Oct. 20, 2015 and skyrocketed to number three on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
YouTube is not a new social media platform, but the credibility allotted to YouTubers is. We consider them reliable sources. We go to them for a good laugh, opinions on the newest products and for a quick “How To” video. Our newest opinion leaders are not only friendly, familiar faces, but people with whom we can relate as well.
-by Brittany Ray, Regional Conference Social Media Committee Leade
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.