by Molly West
It’s no secret that the world is changing. With it, the way entertainment works is changing, too. Now, there are new genres of content, as well as new platforms to share it on. One of the most popular platforms right now is YouTube. At a glance, it seems like all fun and games; however, when you look closely, it’s clear that there’s more to these creators than meets the eye.
YouTube first launched in December 2005, but it was not until December 2007 that the YouTube Partner Program started. This allowed content creators to monetize their videos and make money from ad revenue. Over the years, this algorithm has been refined and changed. Now, being a YouTuber is viewed as a job, with some creators making as much as $9 million a year.
These creators are now moving on to bigger projects. With more money to make content, as well as a wider audience, many YouTubers have moved on to higher quality productions. One YouTuber, Hannah Hart, has even made it onto Food Network with her own show, I Hart Food. Other YouTubers have branched off into things like music, movies, and even partnering with major league companies such as Disney.
Some creators have gotten caught up in the publicity. Others, though, have used their platform to do something meaningful.
Many popular YouTubers have performed major acts of charity. Not only will they donate thousands of their own dollars, but they will get their viewers to donate as well. The money is rarely even touched by the YouTuber themselves, as it goes directly to the charity. This both supports a good cause and inspires the viewers to do good on their own time.
An example of a YouTuber who does this is Mark Fischbach, more commonly known as Markiplier. As of April 2018, Mark has raised over $3 million for charity. During the year of 2017, he did monthly livestreams where each month, he would stream for approximately ten hours—give or take—to raise money for different organizations. On average, he raised $100,000 each month. The most he ever raised during one of these streams was in November 2017, when he raised over $400,000 for Save The Children thanks to the help of an anonymous donor who matched each donation.
Even those who don’t do active charity efforts are making a difference. Many famous YouTubers have online communities surrounding them. Though they may not seem like much on the outside, an online community for many people can be like a family. They all share the same love and respect for the YouTubers they watch, but from that develops a love for each other. People in fandoms are supportive of everyone else in the community and use the platform to spread positivity. Some people may be going through hard times, and having close friends within a community can make it easier to face challenges.
Often, these acts of kindness are inspired by the creators themselves being kind and spreading positive messages. A lot of things that YouTubers say are the same things you would hear from a teacher or parent: follow your dreams, work hard, and spread love wherever you go. Young people who may not have an older figure to give them advice like this now have their favorite YouTuber to look up to as a hero.
Not to say that every YouTuber is a superhero; there are those who only do it for the money and fame. A lot of the genuine ones, though, have a deep caring for their fans. If it weren’t for the fans, after all, the YouTuber would have never become big in the first place. The relationship between viewer and creator becomes less of a fan worshipping an idol and more of a mutual appreciation.
Thanks to the internet, we now have new ways to inspire and create. YouTubers are grasping at their opportunities in this fast-growing industry and quickly using their popularity to do some good in the world. In the future, it is likely their impact will only grow. Keep an eye on the creators you watch on YouTube; they might end up becoming the heroes of the future.