The Growing Influence of YouTube

By Megan Valente

When we were travelling in London, my high school-aged sister seemed to know every restaurant name, brand status and event that we encountered in the same way she would know the score to the latest soccer game. Naturally this garnered my family’s curiosity as to how a girl who barely leaves her room could know so much about a world she had never seen.

The answer? YouTube. Now we finally know what her snarky laughs are about and why her eyes barely leave her screen. She is just one of the many followers that obsess over the channels of YouTube entertainers on a daily basis.

What???
These YouTube artists have managed to break out from the confinements of their screen and touch the minds and hearts of their followers. My sister knew all of these places and things in Europe because a YouTuber taught her about them. How crazy is that?

But…how???
I can walk up to my any of my friends and yell, “Kermy!!!” and they will immediately know that I’m referencing Jenna Marbles. Through constant posting and promotion, we not only learn the faces of our favorite entertainers, but tend to pick up on their mannerisms, habits, dislikes, and lifestyles. According to comScore data, 81.2 percent of Internet users are reached via YouTube, making the possibilities of garnering a following to a quality channel laughably realistic and possible. *Runs to buy a camera*

No, but actually, how?
By excelling in a particular area of interest or being so exceptionally horrible that it’s funny, these artists find their niche and wedge themselves into your life. Email subscriptions keep you hooked, Snapchat follows keep their face on your screen and, in the same style as brand loyalty, the follower and the followee become an integral part of each other’s day.

Are you kidding?
Nope.

So, people put this much stock into YouTubers?
Yup.

Hmm, interesting…very interesting.
I know, right?

So…what does this mean?
From a business aspect, this means that YouTubers are an excellent source for brand and product promotion, because a ‘peer to peer’ recommendation is far more effective than a company shoving a product in your face. That means that I’m more likely to buy something from a YouTuber that I follow because I feel I have built a relationship with them. (Creepy, right?)

From a personal and consumer standpoint, this means that I worship makeup artist Jaclyn Hill and can’t wait until she uploads a new video. Ah!

So whether you are an obsessed fan, a YouTuber yourself, or are totally freaked out by all the information you just read, it is time to not only coexist with but take advantage of this wealth of opinion leaders. They’re all in one spot and, like my sister, you never even have to leave your couch!

Megan Valente is a lifestyle blogger and barista and is currently attending Montclair State University. Follow her on Twitter at @TheDayILived.

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