NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
Written by Hannah Ginsberg for the LFYT 2015 final.
As Burgess and Green discuss in "YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture,": "YouTube has been mythologized as literally a way to 'broadcast yourself' into fame and fortune" and we see this with so many people on YouTube." Although a large amount of individuals do make it to fame through YouTube such as Justin Beiber and Cody Simpson, many of them don't. (p.15)

In 2013, Buzzfeed posted an article titled "YouTubers That Aren't Popular That Should Be" in this article they listed 17 individuals or groups with channels that have a relatively large amount of followers but most people don't know about them. Number three on their list is user Emilie of New Gloom. "Emily's channel is a wonderful way to relax and get inspired by watching her thoughtful, beautiful, and simple collection of videos". Yet she only has 40,060 followers compared to some of the million followers that YouTube Celebrities have. [cit]

Burgess and Green also discuss how "YouTube has its own, internal system of celebrity based on and reflecting values that don't necessarily match up neatly with those of 'dominant media' "(p.24). YouTube has created its own community where members of the community are familiar with the 'celebrities' and the issues that they discuss.
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YouTube and the Celebrity by Hannah Ginsburg

Celebrities in society are most often treated similarly to royalty. They receive special treatment at restaurants, clubs, amusement parks, clothing stores, etc. The average citizen watches these celebrities win awards for acting in film or on television, reads about them online and in magazines and watches them on their favorite television shows and films. Oh and one last thing, they're making millions of dollars. So why wouldn't anyone want to become a celebrity?

It used to be hard to become a celebrity. You actually had to have some form of talent and prove to someone that you were worth hiring. Now you don't necessarily have to. Now you can get famous on YouTube and make millions of dollars. Before taking the course Learning From YouTube I didn't believe YouTube was a place with valuable talent--I thought it was a place where amateurs attempted to get famous because they didn't have enough actual talent. Now, I realize that I was deeply wrong.

As many know, one of the first individuals on YouTube who became a top celebrity was Justin Bieber. Bieber uploaded homemade videos of himself singing and playing guitar that were made in the amateur field. Then in 2007 manager Scooter Braun stumbled upon Bieber's videos and was so utterly impressed that he contacted Bieber and introduced him to famous musician, Usher. Bieber was eventually signed to Island Def Jam Recordings and was Ushers protegee. Now in 2015, Justin Bieber has three studio albums, four compilation albums, twenty-six singles and twenty-four music videos.

Justin Bieber's Australian twin, Cody Simpson, was also discovered on YouTube. Simpson started out signing cover songs on his YouTube channel. Then in 2009 Atlantic Records discovered him. Now in 2015, he has appeared in fourteen television shows, has two studio albums and is touring the world.

YouTube is also home to many other celebrities and if you are apart of the YouTube community or keep up with social media, you've definitely heard of them. An example of the YouTube celebrity is Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox who form the YouTube channel SMOSH. Their channel started in 2005 and has over 20 million subscribers. Due to their highly successful YouTube channel they were able to start their own website. As well as Lionsgate is now making a film called "The SMOSH Movie" with Padilla and Hecox as the stars.

Clearly, YouTube is a sphere where celebrities are born and exist. One no longer has to have the ability to act. Now you can be who you are and still become famous (granted, what is authentic and inauthentic is a completely different issue). Although, I do believe that for the most part there is a large difference between the celebrities cultivated on YouTube and those that have made their claim to fame through acting in television and film. It seems that celebrities who have worked in television and film are more widely known and respected. This is because we assume they have worked diligently in perfecting their acting skills and are remarkably convincing on screen. For instance, Brad Pitt is household name, who has been in a multitude of films, won awards and not to mention has a huge fan base. He is someone who no matter where he goes will always be recognized and companies will most likely always want to hire him. YouTube hit Jenna Marbles has a large fan base and 14 million followers, yet is she as recognizable as Brad Pitt? I would argue that she is while at the same time she is not. People who have actively been apart of YouTube and watch YouTube most likely would be able to recognize someone like Jenna Marbles, Anthony Padilla or Ian Hecox. Yet, if you aren't someone who is apart of the YouTube community, you might have no clue who they are. Although, since television is moving towards the online sphere and more and more people are using their computers and the internet for entertainment I think YouTube celebrities may one day be just as recognizable as those who we watch on television and in film.

So how does one become famous on YouTube?