With the huge swell of popularity YouTube creators are seeing across mainstream media (either via press coverage, media opportunities or imitation), a very important conversation about “being real” and “honest” is beginning to bubble up amongst the digital community. With Jack Howard discussing the trend of “pandering” to your audience, and now Zoe London highlighting the issue of “realness on the Internet”, we’re starting to wonder if YouTube creators are going through a bit of a identity crisis.
In her most recent video, Zoe opens up about her concerns that growing creators feel the need to fit into a predetermined “formula” in order to succeed as a YouTube creator – she even makes reference to the fact that, like most other UK YouTubers, she uses fairy lights in the background of her videos and occasionally uploads beauty tutorials. However, she immediately points that aspiring creators should never feel like they have to “pigeonhole yourself into one category for the sake of being real… you should be able to feel like you can be who you really are”.
Zoe compares 2016 YouTube back to the age of MySpace, when users would create a profile based on their own interests, then find and connect with other individuals who share the same social circle. She says that YouTube has “a YouTuber for everyone” and that “there is no set way of doing things”, so why bother trying to conform or perform a personality that isn’t “real” or true to yourself.
On the flip side, Zoe says that thanks to TV’s popularisation of documentaries and hyper-scripted reality shows, YouTubers are beginning to be questioned on their relatability when more often than not they’re being paid to promote products to sell to their audience. Is it possible that because the enhanced quality of vlogging cameras and editing techniques has sharply increased in the past few years, that YouTubers are facing a backlash from their fans for losing their edge of authenticity?
Regardless of the side of the argument you fall on, YouTubers such as Roxxsaurus and InTheFrow have been sending messages in response to Zoe London’s video praising her message and discussion of the issue.
What do you think about Zoe’s vlog – did she pinpoint the problem with YouTube reality, or totally misunderstand the way creators are trying to represent themselves? Let us know in the comments below and make sure you watch our weekly episodes of SLAY or NAY, the only place on the Internet that rounds up all the best YouTuber news and gossip from the past seven days and sends it straight to your subscription box! You’re welcome…