When YouTube first started in 2006, no one made money off of it. The site was just a place for creators to upload what they loved. In 2007 (correct me if I’m wrong), YouTube started paying their creators. Now, contrary to popular belief, it takes a while to get your first paycheck (hey, it takes most people up to a full year). But with that being said, most of the OG influencers such as Tyley Oakley and Jaclyn Hill are no longer seen as relatable, while the same people who started at the beginning such as Jacksfilms continue to thrive. So, how are people like Jacksfilms relatable and people such as Tyley and Jaclyn aren’t?
For starters, Jacksfilms (one of the many OG’s we’ll be talking about) knew from the beginning how to keep his professional life and his personal life separate. Sometimes he’ll let people in, but only in doses. You’ll see certain sections of his house, some Q&A’s, but he still has his privacy. Jacksfilms has been able to remain down to earth and stay connected with his fans through social media. Those have been the keys to his success.
Let’s take another OG who is still successful/relatable, JennaMarbles. First off, we know that JennaMarbles is a character; and on Jenna’s vlog, as well as her boyfriend Julien Solomita’s channel, we see the real Jenna. Despite the fame, and living in a nice house, Jenna and Julien do a lot for their fans as well as charities such as helping animals. By doing these things, it allows them to stay grounded. Also, by creating a character, like Jacksfilms, it helps both Jenna and John (his real name) maintain a bit of privacy.
It’s tricker with beauty gurus. We expect to get to know them on a more personal level. We trust them with their reviews, we want to get to know their thoughts during their “Get Ready With Me” Videos, we want them to do Q&A’s, do closet and room tours and so much more. Honestly we, the viewers, expect a lot more from them than a lot of other YouTubers on the platform. We want them to look flawless but in a way that fits our budget. Sure, they can mix in some high-end products here and there, but if they don’t have anything affordable, then the beauty guru’s risk losing their audience.
When it comes to Jaclyn Hill, one of the OG beauty gurus, the channel she built was more relatable. Then as Jaclyn made more money, we saw her start to change. Gone were the affordable clothes and makeup. It was all luxury and high-end once she hit the big leagues. The audience felt like the old Jaclyn was a ruse and the “real” Jaclyn had crawled her way out once the money poured in.
Now let’s take Tyler Oakley, the last OG YouTuber we will be talking about. Tyler started as someone in front of his computer, joking with his audience, and having slumber parties with his best friend; evolving into a celebrity, appearing in People magazine and having parades in his hometown in his honor. Just like with Jaclyn, people began to see a more arrogant side to Tyler. But unlike the lavish purchases and turning his channel into the equivalent of QVC, we saw it through his social media, where he would make bold statements and would then refuse to have any type of discussion afterward. (See an example here.)
Is it fair that we hold YouTubers to see this high of a standard? I honestly don’t care how much money they make or what they buy, as long as they remain grateful. Even if they show their lifestyle on camera, as long as they show some humility I’m OK and they’ll keep me as a viewer.
Maybe that’s what some of these YouTubers that made it big are missing that others aren’t, humility. We want them to make it big, we just don’t want them to forget where they came from and who got them there.
What do you all think? Let me know in the comments, even if you disagree!