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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Stars vs. Celebrities

Chapter 23 which “examines the phenomenon of stars and celebrities,” made me think about how YouTubers are similar and different from the traditional stars and celebrities. The two are alike in the way they attract the media with their personality, content, and bankability. They differ in the level of engagement and authenticity with fans and the degree of exposure to their personal life. Although these video influencers share qualities with traditional stars, people do not perceive them in the same light.

Many video personalities use YouTube as a career launching point. Similar to television, they produce daily or weekly episodic videos. The individual channel content ranges from pop culture to cooking to fitness instruction to name a few. Additionally, many YouTubers collaborate with each other to attract new audiences, increase subscribers, and expand their channel. This is similar to traditional celebrity actors or musicians who perform together. Anyone can find their niche within the YouTube community because of the wide variety of YouTube content creation. This opens the door for an ordinary person to become a YouTube star.

Sometimes YouTubers manage both the main channel and a vlog channel. YouTubers differ from traditional celebrities in that they publicize their private lives on their own through vlogs rather than have the media regularly follow them around and expose them. Vlogs are not only an easier way for YouTubers to produce videos, profit, and entertain viewers, but also increases their relatability with their subscribers. People get addicted to seeing their favorite personality’s life unfold through vlogs where the people openly share their day and discuss a range of topics. Furthermore, the increase in social media platforms allows the YouTubers to better engage with their fans compared to traditional celebrities. For example, live streams and dedicated “Q & A” videos allow them to be more responsive to their followers. They also continuously ask viewers for recommendations on the types of videos they want to see, which provides a balance between creating videos they want to make while simultaneously catering to their fans. Once these people gain a sizeable fanbase, they often time transition to other platforms.

YouTubers expand their presence in other industries when they become more successful. Many become actors in movies, start a singing career, go on world tours, become bestselling authors, or start their own beauty/fashion line. Similar to traditional celebrities and stars, companies use the bankability of YouTubers to endorse their products. For example, beauty gurus partner with makeup companies and insert product placement in their videos. This is comparable to celebrity sponsorship in television or magazine advertisements. Due to the close personal connection with their audience, YouTubers are more likely to have a stronger impact on starting new trends and influencing consumer purchasing decisions. With a higher income, YouTubers can afford improved video production value through the use of professional equipment and production staff. Sometimes a loss in relatability and authenticity occurs as a result. Although YouTubers and traditional celebrities have differing audience engagement, they have a similar cultural impact.

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