Over the past few months, YouTubers have began to make progressive steps into the mainstream media – with movies, books and even national tours. However, with great power comes with great influence and certain individuals become SO popular on the Internet that their every single move is scrutinised, analysed and adored by fans and, well, everybody. And there is no other YouTuber in the world more influential than Miss Zoe Sugg.
We don’t need to patronise you with a Wikipedia style introduction to Zoella and her rise to the top; you were probably responsible for part of it! Her vlogs, beauty chats and friendly nature have allowed Zoe to create such a terrifyingly strong surge of popularity and hype from her fans that all she needs to do is LOOK in the direction of something and its audience will rise beyond belief.
Before we break down a couple of examples that prove how powerful Zoe’s spotlight is, here’s a simple equation:
Zoella + Her public acknowledgment of a person/place/product
= Immediate spike in attention/buzz/hype
Alfie Deyes: How One Blog Post Put Alfie Deyes On The Map
Back on the 11th of August 2013, Zoe Sugg posted a life-changing blog to her website in which she confirmed that “Zalfie is a thing”. As well as sending shippers into overdrive and finally relieving Jim Chapman from his slip-up and potentially outing the couple, someone else amazing happened to Alfie Deyes that he may or may not have been able to predict.
With a steadily growing channel already and BFFs like Marcus Butler, fame was destined to come to Alfie at some point in his future. But, with just one little blog post from Zoella confirming their relationship status, his monthly subscribers literally doubled in a single month. The next largest surge in subscriptions comes at their one year anniversary where we can only assume that the buzz surround the couple drove people in their thousands to follow Alfie to see more of the couple in action.
Mark Ferris: From Biggest Fan To Best Friend In One Video
Mark Ferris is one of the newest YouTube trends, with everyone asking who the hell he is and how the hell we can be friends with him too. However, just six months ago, he only gained 500 subs per month and an average viewership of 5-10k a month. Out of the blue, Mark is mentioned in Zoella’s ‘October Favourites’ video and boom, you can see the spike of popularity for yourself.
By the end of November, Mark’s monthly viewing figures reached a staggering 248.1k and his subscribers increased by 30.68k. And thanks to his budding friendship with Miss Sugg, by the end of March, Mark had a monthly viewership of 1.04 million people.
Superdrug: The Brand That Broke Records
When Zoella paired up with Superdrug to release her brand new range of beauty products, we don’t think anyone expected it to be the record breaking success it quickly became. Her first collection broke sales records within just 24 hours, with the website seeing double the amount of traffic than normal with 25% of them all heading STRAIGHT for the Zoella section of the website.
Since her first collection, Zoella broke her own record when she released the Tutti Fruity collection. In addition to all the records she broke with Girl Online, including outselling J K Rowling, t’s clear that Zoe Sugg’s influence is as strong offline as it is online.
Fans: Publicly Shamed For Expecting Too Much
A recent example of this comes in the form of Zalfie’s privacy invasion. The couple, whose address was leaked to the general public causing dozens of eager fans to drop by for a selfie and a cuppa, decided to address the problem on social media. They begged fans to give them some privacy, telling them that their behaviour was out of order and they needed to respect the fact that both Zoe and Alfie were real people and needed space.
However, some fans decided to fight back against these pleas by saying that “it’s all part of being famous” and that if they “don’t like the attention then go underground, don’t encourage it”. A handful of these tweets were responded to by Zoella, causing her most dedicated fans to attack the sceptics and sending them a barrage of online abuse and negativity. This was not asked for by Zoe, but to defend her honour and her brand, fans felt like they needed to protect her – regardless of the cost.
We The Unicorns: The Tweet That Made Us Famous For Five Minutes
And then it came to our turn in the spotlight. A few months ago we had a chat with Evan Edinger in which he stated that he wanted to marry Gabriella Lindley and have Nala as his “best man”. We, as the creative MFs we are, decided to turn this dream into reality by Photoshopping the entire scene, posting it on Twitter and eventually getting Gabby to retweet.
Zoella was tagged in the image and because her friends engaged with the image, it was brought to her attention. Four simple words, “that’s actually buzz! hahaha”. Zoe hit send and without a second thought went on with her day, not realising what was happening on our end. Within moments, we had gained 300 followers, hundreds of retweets and an inbox full of messages.
The tweet was deleted (we have no idea why) after five minutes, causing the drama and attention to immediately drop away, but not before we were all truly stunned by the effect Zoella had created simply by looking in our direction for a fraction of her life. Now if that isn’t power, we don’t know what is.
Whilst the majority of people don’t understand the appeal and popularity of vloggers and digital media stars, a more open discussion needs to be taking place about their wider effect in a positive fashion – and not the negative or slanderous approach mainstream have been taking recently – “sexy snapchat in your pants” anyone?!
In this in-depth we’ve used Zoella purely as the most iconic and recognisable example, but social media personalities effect so many lives and brands in more ways that one and it’s time that their benefit are made clearer to people instead of focusing on their difference in appeal. So what if Zoella’s demographic is 12-16 year olds; it doesn’t make you right for hating her, it makes you an idiot for not trying to understand what it is that’s so approachable with her.
For fans of YouTubers, Viners and basically every type of person who is famous primarily through the Internet, this article is to praise their success by showing off just how successful and influential they can be. After all, Zoella looked at us for five minutes and we’re still feeling the benefits to this day – that sort of power is undeniable.