I know you’re thinking you know all about YouTube, you use it for work, you might even have posted something up on YouTube for your blog, but you don’t really know YouTube; not the YouTube your kids know.
YouTube is big amongst teens. Think MTV when we were teenagers and blue eyeshadow was en vogue.
I was first alerted to this craze when my teens started wandering around the house bursting into loud oratory performances proclaiming -
I LIKE TRAINS.
Then they’d laugh. As if they knew something perilously funny, that I didn’t know. Apparently trains are very amusing, and liking trains, even more so.
I had to figure this out. This was not normal behaviour, even for teenagers, even my teenagers. So I casually pulled Dark Princess aside. Deep down inside I quietly feared they were all turning into their Uncle who has had a fascination with steam trains his entire life..was it one of those hereditary conditions that family didn’t talk about?
“You like trains?” I asked her.
Not books, or boys or makeup or music or philosophy or poetry?
And then she sang ‘I like trains’ and giggled. I would have completely starting looking up weird teenage ‘things’ if she hadn’t mentioned Tomska – and then pointed me in the direction of Tom Ridgewell, the kooky Brit who developed the hugely successful asdf movies. So successful that over 55 million people have viewed his channel. Or maybe it was one person, 55 million times….?
He’s a YouTube partner, has a merchandising arm of his business, oh yeah, and at 20 years old Tom Ridgewell makes thousands of pounds per month through his YouTube empire.
He makes it look easy!
But I forgave him when I saw this video – Marmite is Terrible http://youtu.be/am6fco14Gi0 which the young YouTube entrepreneur turned into a marmite is terrible party.
Amazing Phil - But TomSka isn’t the only shiny new YouTube entrepreneur making it big amongst teenagers, Amazing Phil (Phil Lester) also has a nice thing going on with over 22 million views on his vids and even a Christmas Day gig on BBC Radio One with sidekick – Daniisnotonfire.
Daniisnotonfire has over 24 million views on YouTube and his latest tube put up only 4 days ago during the Edinburgh festival has already clocked up over 400k views. That’s pretty impressive! It’s a gentle almost Viz type of humour with a laconic darkness that is typical of teens these days. (When wasn’t it?)
Tobuscus/Toby Turner - A Canadian who has turned his passion for the latest, coolest video games into a hugely popular vlogging channel on YouTube. Toby has over 518 million…yup….million….views on YouTube.
Let’s just pause on that for a minute.
Talking with my oldest teen (Son 18) I got the impression that the YouTube fandom phase was a young-mid teen thing, though interestingly the actual ‘stars’ themselves are all in their early twenties. Toby Turner markets himself as a viral marketing consultant tuned in to the youth market.
The last name that came up was Carrie Fletcher, sister of one of the McFly blokes, who doesn’t do comedy but certainly can sing. And whilst I can’t relate to her desire to be ‘a Disney Princess’ (what’s that about? Overdosed on Disney films and pretty-in-pink toys since birth?) I was reminded only today of another young pretty girl who made it big on YouTube and propelled her way into pop music stardom. She didn’t want to be a Disney Princess, she was more upset about not being able to put Flowers in her Hair, and just today Sandi Thom was on Breakfast TV releasing her latest CD.
The only major difference is that these kids won’t have to wait for the increase in popularity of the YouTube medium to make it big, they’re already using it and making big money right here, right now.
Just like real digital natives.
Just like their audience.
Have you heard about the rising stars on YouTube? Or did you think it was only funny dog and baby videos that made any money on YouTube?