Is THIS The Real Secret To YouTube Fame?

4 April 2016, 16:39 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:14

We the Unicorns

By Benedict Townsend

Is being nice what separates YouTube stars from other entertainment stars?

I thought I'd talk today about something pretty cool that I feel is unique to the online creator space. You see, online stars have something that appears to be quite unique about them in comparison to other kinds of celebrities. Whereas TV, Film and Music stars are generally praised merely for their craft - sometimes even despite them being terrible people - the personality-driven nature of the online world means that one of the most important commodities is - wait for it - being nice. Yep. That's it.



Zoella Is Prime Example

Zoe Sugg aka 'Zoella' is a prime example of this. Arguably her greatest strength - aside from her makeup and style knowledge - is her personality. She's nice, she's friendly, she's inoffensive. Watching Zoella is like checking in with an old friend. Now, granted, there is obviously always going to be a disconnect between real people and their online personas. Just because you have watched Zoe's videos, that doesn't mean you truly know her - but you are about 300% closer to knowing her than JLaw or some reality star.



She is a pleasant person who goes out of her way to avoid bringing others down. In an entertainment world so usually filled to bursting with 'drama', 'beefs' and 'haters', the online world has evolved to say 'no thanks, we tired of all this.' Creators now sell their worth not on their ability to get into newspaper scandal pages - but into people's hearts. N'AWWWW.


Even The Exceptions Prove This

Now, I can already feel you screaming through the screen "BUT WAIT BENEDICT, WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE, IN FACT, NOT NICE?!" Well firstly: please sit down and lower the gun, we're all friends here and there's no need for anyone to get hurt. Second: yes it's true that there are a selection of prominent YouTubers who are known precisely for not being very nice - but here's the thing: that IS why they're known. They stand out - they're different. On a website where the majority of creators try to be friendly and open, a mean YouTuber is notable because they are such an exception. Nicole Arbour and Sam Pepper stand out because they are different to what we are used to - and that's a great sign.



There Are Some Powerful Side-Effects From This

The best thing about this niceness is that it's give-and-take. It's not just creators being nice to a hostile audience, it's a mutually nice relationship where everyone is pals. That might sound cheesey (and it is) but it can have some fantastic results. For example, there was the recent case where Zoe Sugg experienced some inexplicable slut-shaming from the mainstream media and we had an amazing reaction from #TeamInternet, where the community stood up and said no thank you, we're not fans of jerks around here. You can find more info on that here.



But Is It All Good?

There are, believe it or not, some downsides to being 'nice'. For one, it opens you up to a variety of criticisms: That you're boring, unadventurous, overly-cautious, that it limits creativity and discourages creators from taking risks or even being themselves. The degree to which these criticism may be valid depends on both the creator in question and the viewer that's watching them, but regardless of their validity, there is no denying the sheer power of positivity and brightness. If you look at the creators that have risen to the top, to the big subscriber numbers, they are all people that you want to spend hours and hours watching. Why? Because they make you feel good! And in a world as dark as ours, who doesn't need a little bit of good feeling here and there?


What do you think though? Do you enjoy the niceness of YouTubers, or do you think they could use a little edge? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook and on Twitter. Oh and if you're looking for more fun, why not follow us on snapchat buddy: unicornssnap.