YouTubers- The New Role Models for Our Generation
By Laura Mooney, Arts Editor
These days, when a twenty-something turns on his or her computer, a large percentage of them automatically punch the familiar words “YouTube” into the search bar without even having to think it over. The insanely popular online video website has become such a large part of our generation’s lives that we do not stop to think about how much time we spend on it everyday, even if it is more than some of us would like to admit. Amongst the infinite amounts of cat videos and wannabe singers, there lies some poignancy. All it takes is a little digging.
While YouTube, to some, may only appear as an outlet for a person’s own self involvement, over the years it has evolved into a hub for those particular people to branch out creatively and express their personal opinions for the world to see. These people that we see everyday have become our source of entertainment and method of gaining information about the world around us. One could argue that these online personas are rapidly becoming the role models for the upcoming generations, and in some cases, rightly so.
Now, while many may not agree with the idea of an entire generation modeling themselves after strangers they see online, these YouTubers are providing unique views of the world that viewers cannot see anywhere else, and much of the content surpasses what is shown on television in terms of quality.
When was the last time you turned on the television and saw a reality show about a family actually getting along? One YouTube family in particular has been setting the standard for family values for over five years now with their daily vlogs. The ShayTards, which is run by a man named Shay Butler, is a daily vlog channel that features a Mormon family with husband Shay, his wife, and their five incredibly vivacious and talented children. The family’s daily vlogs showcase a family that have truly put their lives online, with the viewers being a part of two childbirths and even a cross country move. The realness of the videos is something that one could never see if they simply turned on the television, with the majority of family based reality television featuring the likes of the Kardashians or the Vanderpumps, it is a benefit to see what an actual family looks like, providing a great role model for a variety of ages.
Even when it comes to receiving the daily events of the world, one can turn to YouTube instead of any of the news channels to get in the know. Long time YouTuber Philip DeFranco, has been delivering his own comedic account of the news for over five years now, all while making sure he get the point across and maintaining a generally unbiased viewpoint. On his self- titled channel, DeFranco takes on the most popular stories but adds in a flare not seen on a cable news station. This flare not only makes the news more entertaining for viewers of university age, but is doing a great service by enticing younger viewers to begin to take notice of the events occurring in the world around them, with many of his viewers being under 17. DeFranco, along with other YouTube reporters, are providing the model for young people everywhere, telling them that it pays to be aware of world issues, because let us face it, when the news comes from someone closer to your own age, you are much more likely to pay attention.
YouTube is also is a goldmine for talented, undiscovered people who have just enough guts to put their talents up online for the world to see. The amount of singers, comedians, and dancers all over YouTube is endless, and showcases how a perfectly average person can make it big, just like any other celebrity one sees on television. Bo Burnham is one great example of a teen that started off with only a camera and a great sense of comedic timing. Burnham filmed his own comedic songs in his room, including “Rehab Center for Fictional Characters,” and posted them on the site. Burnham’s original videos now have over ten million views each and have allowed him to pursue a professional career in comedy, with his stage show and book of comedic poems. While this type of success is not common for many performers on YouTube, the ones who have made it big, like Burnham, are still as down to earth as the day they posted their first video, and have managed to remain out of trouble, unlike the celebrity singers we see today. So although the majority of the world may not be ready to fully make the switch to having YouTube as their primary media source, as far as taking over the role of role models, it seems as though the people on YouTube are a much better option, and will soon take over as the idols for the upcoming generations.