The Social Media Game

Recently, I read this article, maybe not so recent once this goes up as I’m scheduling while I’m still in Ireland, but it’s going up in the New Year, but that’s besides the point. However, while it was slightly disheartening, giving me that little bit of a reality check that social media doesn’t work out for everyone, it was extremely upsetting for me to see that people who should already be at that place of having an audience and viewers are losing money to those who are sitting on half the numbers they are, just further proving to me that you need to understand the social media game.

I’m a little obsessed with this article, probably because I’m a little obsessed with social media and how it works. Up until reading this I assumed that it was a numbers game. I thought the more people you had the more money you would make, that’s what makes sense. I mean I knew you had to have the right audience before people would contact you, but I didn’t realize that even if you have the right audience you hit this awkward point where no one will help you and you have to work 9-5 but it’s also not necessarily safe for you to be working a 9-5 when you have viewers come and find you. Imagine having hundreds of thousands of people know who you are but being afraid of not making rent, that concept has to be scary.

Gaby was right when she wrote the title of the article “Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame”. The thing is, even if these internet celebrities get their brand deals, people aren’t supportive of that. The comments on videos that are sponsored are highly criticized. The UK now has laws that it has to be clearly stated if a posts in someway is an advertisement, Instagram pictures and tweets are usually done with a “#ad” and AD is typically written in the title of videos, however, I’ve noticed that some people are getting away with it in the top line of the description. This however, has sparked more debate about how much money YouTubers make and how they should make.

In my opinion, whenever, I end up on Twitter for too long creeping hashtags about YouTube fandoms I see a lot of discussion among younger viewers who don’t seem to understand that the income of a YouTuber, or even Internet personalities depend on brand deals and companies that support them. I can’t seem to grasp why people would complain about branded videos, if there are no branded videos there couldn’t be any videos.

The thing that everything comes down to it seems in this debate is whether or not YouTubers and other Internet personalities can make a living and what that  magic number is to do so. For some, it seems like one million subscribers can’t be enough and for others, it could be 10,000- the magic monetization number. I guess it depends on how often and willing you are to accept brand deals and sponsorships. I don’t have room to talk because the one time I sent a media kit I never heard back, people don’t want to pay the girl with 400 followers, they want her to write for free, but the numbers game is highly interesting to me.

However, it is not what should be asked in interviews as apparently it has been to several YouTubers, in the past, you don’t ask people how much they make, plain and simple.  If you want to know, do your research!

Do  you have any thoughts on the subject/article?

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My Reaction to Essena O’Neill

social media real

In case you haven’t yet heard about Essena O’Neill, here is a BuzzFeed article that has all of the information collectively, or at least the best collective article I’ve seen.  If you don’t want to read it, she was an Australian beauty vlogger/model/Instagram personality who has recently “quit” social media, however, she is now running a blog, and has changed several of her Instagram captions to better explain what was happening in the picture, whether it was branding or how long it took her to pose for what was supposed to be a candid shot.

O’Neill wrote on several of her captions that she was paid to wear clothes and put them on Instagram but would never wear them out of the house. A lot of it went back to how she was almost sexualizing herself as a 15-16 year old girl. In her video she talks about how upset she was as a 12 year old, seeing people with thousands of followers and that’s what she wanted to be so she started cutting down on her size, measuring herself, doing what it took to be those people, at just twelve years old. This is so sad and scary to me, as my youngest sister is just 14 and I hate hearing things like that. I think it is almost because of this that she started to overly edit and pose for her photos. She created an image to be #goals and the person she always wanted to be, however it was entirely manipulated to become that person, it was never actually her.

To me, this idea is so interesting. I love social media, I love to research about it, I love how it connects people and how it is used for advertising. It’s fascinating.  The numbers also intrigue me, but it’s the meaning of the numbers that I find interesting. Each of those numbers is 1. a person, 2. add up to establish the “reputation” of the blogger/YouTuber/other social media “celebrity”.  It’s crazy to me how much of this could be manipulated, how many of these people we look at on Instagram/ YouTube/ blogs are faking it, or at least faking part of it.

I had heard that Dodie from doddleoodle posted a video response on her vlog channel, doddlevloggle about the subject, where she essentially said that you need to find the balance of who you are and branding yourself  and you  need to stay true to yourself, because you will not be able to live up to it, and I totally agree with that. My brand, if you can call it that, is me, one-hundred percent me, and my thoughts. Whenever I do something that’s not me,  I have to fix it because it makes me insanely anxious that  I am not being myself online. Like Dodie, I am an oversharer, so this is the perfect platform. She also went on to talk about how O’Neill is still going to be using social media as well, which isn’t bad, but she’s also not quitting.

I’m finding this whole discussion that social media is “bad” silly.  Social media is driving change throughout the advertising and marketing industry. You are ignorant to believe that if Zoella recommends a very specific store or if Bethany Mota promotes a product that hundreds upon hundreds of teenaged girls aren’t going out to buy it, why do you think so many YouTubers are now on the New York Times Bestsellers list? They have more influence than mainstream media cares to admit.  We live in a digital culture, social media has to be used, companies are going to thrive off of the “Insta-Famous” to promote their products and what it comes down to is the person who is doing the promoting and how they care to do it. If someone ever decides to pay me for a blog post, it will be clear that is a promotional post for a company, you don’t have to pretend it’s not a promotional things, people like it more when you’re upfront. Then you won’t have this anxiety that you aren’t being yourself and you are pretending to be the perfect person.

Since starting this post, her Instagram has been deleted. Maybe she is really trying to get rid of all social media, but her blog is still up. I don’t know. I understand where she is coming from, but social media will never go away. I feel bad that she struggled so much from her experiences with social media, but it will never go away. She wants people to connect over global issues rather than likes/followers/subscribers which makes sense, but I think you can do that without the worrying. She really emphasized the point that social media isn’t real, well I can’t say that I agree with that. It’s all how you decide to put words out and share yourself. I choose to be me, maybe I embellish my instagram captions (“lost in london” I wasn’t actually lost) but really the reality of social media is here to stay. While yes, we should put our phones away, trust me, it drives me crazy how attached I am to my phone as well as everyone else, but, we have them, we are on them, and it is part of our lives that will be here to stay.

Choose who you are going to be online, don’t be fake if it’s going to force you to internally combust. Take control of your life and who you are online.

Let me know your opinions in the comments, I look forward to reading them! Are you going to quit social media? I’m not, we are a generation of the internet, enjoy it, or don’t. That’s  your choice.

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An Inspiration

Today I watched this video by Troye Sivan and it really made me think. It made me think about myself, conceted but true. It really inspired me to do things I want to do. “If I wanted to make cool shit, I have to make cool shit,” if I want to do something amazing I have to get off my ass and do it.

I think it made me really think about how I need to not care about what people think about me. I mean I can’t say I already really care as it is. I mean sure, I’m afraid of what they’ll say and maybe one day someone will leave my life because of some risk I took here or on YouTube. Honestly I’m not even confident in YouTube that I have 15 private videos plus about 20 edited videos and a bunch of filmed stuff that I can’t even listen to because I’m afraid someone I really love will see it and decide that I’m too weird to be in their life.

I want to make things I’m proud of and not hesitate to share them. It made me want to go on an adventure to find amazing things to capture and take in the world.

While Troye has always been an inspiration to me, this really got to me more than his music and more than his other amazing videos. He opened up and shared about his own personal quirks that make him different than the typical 19 year old. Troye and his platform shoes.

Due to the nature of the video here’s a few things that make me a little quirky: I don’t like mashed potatoes, I don’t like cheese really, I like to wear men’s clothes because they aren’t fitted, I buy everything oversized, my favorite underwear have Spiderman on them, I buy jeans big so they’re more comfortable, I hate static, I hate socks, I spray my shoes with room spray at least once a week, and I hate the smell of clean laundry it’s rather suffocating.

So way to go Troye for being a huge inspiration to my creativity and remembering to be comfortable with myself. Please watch the video just so that you know how great you are. You’re all amazing. Have a great Saturday!

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Two Underrated Women YouTubers

While I hate the title of this post, I was just on twitter and I found that these two women need to be addressed because while many YouTubers use their platform to address various issues, these two listen to the stories of their viewers, they seem to generally care about causes and their content. These two women are Hazel Hayes and Lex Croucher. Hazel, or Chewing Sand, currently has 93,739 subscribers and Lex, or tyrannosauruslexxx has 103,569 subscribers, while these are both huge numbers that I will never see here or on my channel, but it’s no where near where I personally think they should be. Both of these women, in my personal opinion deserve to have millions of subscribers because they do actually talk about the real issues, for example Lex has a great video on consent after there was a type of YouTube scandal (watch her video for details), and while Hazel does Tipsy Talks (which are rather funny) she also talks about how to feel comfortable with the way you dress in how to dress for your body, and she’s an actual film maker, with a short film gracing her channel. They actually both participated in the School of YouTube (I think that was last week) and the money from their videos all went to help Comic Relief, which is very noble in my opinion since YouTube is major source of income for the both of them (or at least that’s my understanding), and just seems like the right thing to do.

While they both have great content on their channels, their Twitters are filled with things most social media gurus wouldn’t even think to address. In the past six months both women have brought to light sexual harassment in public situations, in crowded public situations. Commenting on people’s stories, and simply sharing how unacceptable it is. They also bring about unpopular opinions, in situations where most people try to stay neutral and positive, the stay realistic. For example, during the time where people in UK seemed to be taking exams, most YouTubers were saying how the scores didn’t really matter, and Lex said something along the lines, that for some people they really do matter, their scores affect their future and where they end up going to University (at least that’s my understanding).

So if you’re reading this go subscribe to genuine people. I wouldn’t say these are even my favorite YouTubers, I do however, have a huge amount of respect for both of them. I think it’s hard in a new career field for people to stay themselves. I’m not saying that all the other YouTubers change with the fame and money, but I think there’s a pressure for them to remain unbiased and take focus off of major issues because they’re controversial. If you are going to subscribe to anyone on YouTube, these two are my recommendations, hear someone’s actual opinion rather than watch a little skit or makeup tutorial. I don’t know, that’s just my opinion, make a difference.

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Evolving YouTube

A few weeks ago I wrote a response to Louise’s video about YouTube culture which you can read HERE. Since then a lot has taken place on the site I love so much. Yesterday, incase you weren’t aware, my favorite male YouTuber, Connor Franta, quit his collab channel Our 2nd Life (O2L). He made a video that made me cry, not because he was leaving O2L, but because he revealed that he has been unhappy with working on YouTube for six months and it felt to him that it had turned into a job. I think that’s something that’s starting to hit a lot of YouTubers, especially the ones who upload more than once a week.

With gaining over over 4.5 MILLION subscribers in the past year and a half Zoella, or Zoe Sugg is a perfect example of the rapid growth in the YouTube audience. One of my favorite YouTubers named Lex (check her out here) made a video after Vidcon (the largest YouTube convention) revealing some disappointment that it’s a signing instead of meeting and talking to your favorite YouTubers, but what else can you do when 20,000 people buy tickets? Anyway, I’m sorry I’m getting distracted from the point.

The point is when this was a career for most YouTubers they stopped their other jobs when they started getting sponsors and most likely hit 20k subscribers (when you start getting paid per subscriber) not when they hit a million and are most likely making buckets of money. This is different than being an actor or actress in Hollywood though because you don’t have that constant protection. You don’t have someone holding off people at your house, when they ring your doorbell for an hour- Alfie from PointlessBlog tweeted that there were girls outside of Zoe’s apartment for over an hour, that’s not okay. They also aren’t prepared or ready when they go out in public to get mobbed by viewers, the viewers should maybe say hi, and if they aren’t busy ask for a picture, but they shouldn’t stalk their favorites.

This is also different than Hollywood because “the fans” are also the critics and they have a lot more control over the content of what a YouTuber makes rather than what an actor or actress stars in, but they also have a lot of control over a person’s emotions. Personally, I’ve never had to deal with any sort of hate on WordPress from anyone, let alone a complete stranger halfway across the world.  I know Alfie recently was feeling the pressure of this, actually Zoe was too. Alfie was tweeting about how sorry he was about the lack of videos, but he was traveling to visit fans. He can’t please the whole world, and I think that’s what’s expected of YouTubers sometimes. Zoe did a whole month of daily vlogging and the one day was her just basically crying, I don’t think she was throwing herself a pity party or anything, I think she was genuinely upset about how things were going that day. I think the whole new fame thing is a lot to handle for a lot of these people who never intended to have  millions watching their every move.

I really feel and I will never understand the whole sending hate thing. It’s one thing to send hate to a celebrity on TV, they probably aren’t going to see it. They have other problems than a troll commenting on videos that they didn’t put up themselves. YouTubers on the other hand have both problems, they see all of the comments that their viewers post, good and bad, as well as seeing all of the hate that is starting to leak into mainstream media about them. Tanya Burr was on the list for worst dressed at an event, so that sucks, and then she gets to go home to look at the latest comments on her videos and there’s hate. I can’t even imagine what life would be like for them.

When it’s starting to come down to it, I think a lot of the reasons people started to YouTube are fading and it is becoming a job, and a chore to a lot of big YouTubers. That brings me to my last question, how long is this going to last? Let me know what you think in the comments. And just a heads up this is probably going to be my last post about this whole evolving YouTube stuff, I know it’s not that interesting to most people.

XOXO,

Mary.

50+ Facts About Me

So for those of you who don’t know (which I’m assuming is all of you) I would like to confess that I am YouTube obsessed and not only that but I owe a lot to these YouTubers. I don’t have a dramatic story like I was suicidal or depressed when I started watching these people who made me smile no matter how I was feeling, but I do have a lot of anxiety and they did always help ease that. Anyway I’ll give you some of my favorites at the end so you guys can look them up, but some of them do tags so their viewers can get to know them better so I thought I would do the same sort of thing just fifty some odd facts about myself so I hope you enjoy and laugh at my little quirks!

  1. I still sleep with my stuffed rabbit that has a rattle in it from when I was a baby. Its name is Chew Bunny because I used to suck on its ears when I was sad so it’s really mangy and gross. (If this post gets 5 likes I’ll post a picture in the comments!!)
  2. Junior and Senior year of high school I carried a briefcase instead of a backpack to class.
  3. When I was about 9 or 10 I fell of my scooter to save a frog and a chunk of my skin came out of my elbow so I have a scar because my mom didn’t know I needed stiches. There was too much blood to be able to tell.
  4. I love to crochet, but I have never actually made anything for myself.
  5. I met my best friends on a People to People trip, I haven’t even known them for two years but it feels like I’ve known them forever. We do absolutely everything together.
  6. When I was checking my email today Caspar Lee (my favorite YouTuber replied to my comment) and I sobbed for ten minutes because I was fangirling.
  7. I can’t sleep if it’s silent.
  8. My newest obsession is Grey’s Anatomy.
  9. It looks like I take a lot of pictures but I take a lot in one day so it looks like I do but I really don’t.
  10. I hate sleeping I think it’s a waste of time.
  11. I have a lot of nice clothes but I’d rather wear t-shirts all the time.
  12. I have the most random collection of music ever because I have not deleted anything since the fifth grade and only added.
  13. My inspiration for starting a blog came from a YouTube video and I guess that’s kind of why I started a vlog too but I believe that I’m much better at writing than I am at talking.
  14. During my senior year of high school I was President of Quiz Bowl (as well as MVP), President of Science Olympiad, Vice President of Model UN, Treasurer of my class, and I was also in a leadership club and National Honors Society.
  15. I have two little sisters, a dog, and I had a turtle up until about a week before I left for college when it died.
  16. I’m a coffee addict.
  17. I work at Starbucks and Burger King.
  18. I love to read but I haven’t read a really good book in a very long time. (Any suggestions?!?)
  19. I’ve been to Canada (three times), Ireland (twice), England, Wales, France, Netherlands, and Belgium. (I really like traveling.)
  20. My favorite places include Seattle and London because of their gloominess, I don’t like the sun.
  21. I love rain, it’s so inspiring.
  22. I’d much rather be cold than hot.
  23. People think I’m a hipster because I wear “hipster” glasses but they’re real and they were not my first choice, but my first choice were way too big and the optometrist said I couldn’t get them.
  24. If I’m around someone too long I pick up their mannerisms and it drives me insane because I don’t feel like an individual anymore.
  25. When I graduate I’m going to join an NGO and help people because that’s my dream. I don’t really care if I won’t make any money.
  26. I don’t really want to get married or have kids, it’s never been a goal of mine.
  27. The biggest thing I miss about my hometown is the stars. I don’t know if you just can’t see them here or if I’m never out late enough, but I miss the clear skies at home.
  28. I have not worn matching socks since the first grade.
  29. If I am home alone I will not wear pants, and I will not wear them to bed.
  30. I love Netflix, I like to watch the super weird movies.
  31. I love converse but my mom said that they were too worn to bring to college so I think that’s an excuse to buy another pair.
  32. I am very good at reading people, I can tell if I’ll be able to be friends with someone just by looking at them. I am a very good judge of character and I am never surprised by someone’s personality. Sometimes I fall for their tricks, but my first opinion of them is always right.
  33. I hate texting unless it’s with my best friends, if someone wants to have a conversation they should call me.
  34. I can’t be with most people for more than a day without getting annoyed.
  35. I am very introverted and I don’t like to go out.
  36. People in high school called me “Mother Mary” and “Mamma Mary” because I liked to take care of everyone.
  37. I was commencement speaker at my high school graduation.
  38. I am extremely honest and I don’t like to sugar coat anything.
  39. I don’t like keeping secrets about me or anyone else for that matter. If you want to know something about me all you have to do is ask and I won’t have a problem telling you. I am an open book.
  40. This is the first time in years that I do not have a crush on anyone, I do however still have feelings for a guy that played me. I do not like him, but yes I still have feelings for him.
  41. I had my first boyfriend in ninth grade and we “dated” for over a year.
  42. The only sport I genuinely like watching is baseball, I did go to my best friends volleyball games occasionally to be supportive.
  43. I am an awful speller and spell check is my best friend.
  44. I am horribly impatient.
  45. I love cardigans and they are my favorite winter wear.
  46. Sports bras are my favorite because I don’t like how big my boobs are.
  47. If I don’t like someone they usually can tell, I’m not going to try and hide it.
  48. If a boy gave me flowers I’d be pissed. They’re just going to die. It is not romantic. Buy me chocolate and I will love you forever.
  49. I have a vat of useless knowledge.
  50. I know a lot about animal sex habits for some reason. (Like I don’t actually know why.)
  51. I seriously appreciate every single one of you who reads my blog. I hope I entertain you in some way.

Thanks so much for reading guys, if I can I’m gonna try and do daily uploads. Let’s hope I can do it. I love writing to you guys I feel like I’m putting a smile on at least one person’s face. If you guys have any questions about my facts or you want to let me know anything about you go for it in the comments! I would love to read about what you guys have to say and know more about you!

As promise here are some of my favorite YouTubers: Zoella, PointlessblogTV, MarcusButtlerTV, dicasp (Caspar Lee), ThatcherJoe, and so many more. These guys have literally changed my life and there’s really no other way to put that. It’s probably super lame and cliché but they really have and if they ever see this I hope  they know the differences they have made in my life.

Thanks again guys you mean the world to me, I love you all so much.

XOXO

Mary