Mummy blogging and vlogging is nothing new, even MumsNet is an institution in its own right as parents chat daily about their children’s toilet issues and snotty noses. Parents all around the world are becoming household names thanks to daily vlogging the often mundane parts of their lives. The Shaytards, The Saccone-Jolys and The Michalaks are just three examples of parents who have made it big in the YouTube sphere with thousands upon thousands of fans tuning in to their vlogs like another soap opera.
When vlogging success hits, across any genre, it can often mean money, sponsorships, freebies and fame. With today’s financial climates still struggling, there doesn’t seem to be a person who doesn’t want a bit of the Internet pie. For families, even with a few hundred subscribers, it can mean brands sending them freebies or on free holidays and even cold hard cash from sponsored videos.
Then there’s those, like the Saccone-Jolys, who have over 1 million subscribers on their vlogging channel alone. For Anna Saccone Joly and Jonathan Saccone-Joly, their daily lives play out at 6pm every day and fans have seen everything from their birth of their children to their move from Ireland to London. As a result, they’re no doubt making more than enough money from filming to live a very comfortable lifestyle. And then there’s their in-demand merchandise on top.
It’s a longed for fantasy for many parents, especially those who have grown up with the Internet and have seen how “easy” it is to go from hauling a few Boots purchases in your bedroom to hitting the red carpet and bringing out books a la Tanya Burr.
But is it really all free nappies, memories on film and big bucks? Whether you’re a parent or not, most people are thinking the same thing. What about All The Weird People On The Internet?
Trolls are seemingly even more vicious when children are involved. There’s entire websites dedicated to slating The Shaytards, ItsJudysLife and co. And let’s not even get started on the “rumours” that Sam and Nia lied about their entire pregnancy and miscarriage just for views.
Would you aim for YouTube success if you knew it came with people slating your parenting skills, your looks and even the looks of your children?
We spoke to Jonathan Saccone-Joly, the man who’s family have 1 MILLION people subscribed to them.
“”i was on the internet long before we became parents and we’ve been making videos for 6 years but had children for only 3 years. We’ve documented our lives from graduating uni to moving into together, moving and that journey is there for our viewers. When it came the time for us to grow up and have kids, we were already sharing our lives.” says Jonathan of their decision to film their two children, Emilia and Eduardo.
Along with Jonathan and Anna’s vlog channel, the couple also have their own channels and millions of followers on social media who go crazy when the couple upload a new photo to Instagram or tweet about their six dogs.
But does Jonathan ever pause and see life apart from behind the camera lens. Absolutely.
“I am Jonathan and their dad before I’m Jonathan from the Saccone-Jolys. The kids will always come first. Sometimes it may not look like that in the videos but that is the truth. Nearly everybody puts their kids online and shares videos and pictures online; the only difference between them and us is the a million people will watch our videos and look at our pictures.”
Despite their success, it was always inevitable that the couple would experience the harshness of Internet trolls. But Jonathan reveals some have even taken their hatred offline,too.
“Of course, it does upset us when people keep hammering on and set up all sorts of websites and forums but the worst part is the people who take it offline. We’ve had plenty experience of that but it isn’t stuff that we really feature in the videos. In an average video, 400,000 people will watch but only about 100 will dislike it and that’s such a small percentage. Drama and negativity on the internet would probably be more engaging but I’m trying to take away from that and be a nice community. I try to focus on positive viewers and I call my viewers my friends. Despite the fact they’re only little, we teach Emilia and Eduardo that you’ve got to be the same person online as you are offline.”
So, what’s the secret to YouTube success and gaining millions of fans? Jonathan, despite their endless perks of living life in front of the camera, isn’t entirely sure: ”
The secret to YouTube success is being real. I haven’t had a day off for five years, it’s extremely hard and I even put extra effort to make sure my vlogs feel effortless. I just try and make people enjoy my videos, they don’t need to know how much work was involved. I don’t know what success is, I still don’t feel successful. My kids love me so I suppose I won.”
The Saccone-Jolys and similar successful YouTubing families have inspired thousands of parents to set up their own channels. One mum who recently took to the YouTube sphere is Alice Langley. With two girls aged 6 and 3, Alice is taking a sensible approach to filming her children.
“My children have grown up with me blogging so they’re aware and understand that I’m filming them. Of course, the girls watch YouTube themselves so they do know strangers are watching them and whilst they can’t understand the repercussions fully of their lives being broadcast, i do think it’s the best way to teach them if they’re drip fed the rules of the Internet and social media. If you shelter your children, they’ll never learn and never know how to do things safely. I don’t put certain parts of my children’s lives on YouTube, like them playing in the paddling pool, and if they asked why then I’d explain in language they’d understand”
So, does Alice expect her channel and her children to become The Next Big Thing?
“I have no illusions that I’ll be the next Hannah Maggs but I wanted to starts vlogging to increase my worth as a blogger. One of the main reasons I started my channel was because we’re off to America on a road trip next year and I want to capture everything. I don’t want other people’s success, I want memories.”
Should parents vlog their children? And do the potential negatives outweigh the positives? Tweet us at @WeTheUnicorns with your views.