While movements like #BlackLivesMatter radicalize and politicize young blacks, many white millennials have become hedonistic in their lifestyles and increasingly infantilized. Unemployed or underemployed, returning to live with their parents, this article will look at why so many of them have become video bloggers–aka vloggers. Vlogging by white kids has exploded in popularity in recent years with heavy coverage in “millennial-friendly” media outlets like Fusion.
Famous video-bloggers like Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), Tanya Burr, Zoe Sugg, Joe Sugg, Alfie Deyes, Jim Chapman, and Marcus Butler record themselves performing mundane tasks and then share the resulting videos on social media platforms, primarily YouTube. Popular activities include stuffing their mouths with marshmallows, a food fight, going shopping, looking into a closet, waxing a man’s ass, crying on camera, and many more. Effeminate beta males, many of whom self-identify as “feminists,” talk about why girls are confusing, describe in detail their current outfits, and/or play Sims 4.
Most vloggers start by sharing their hobbies such as fashion, make-up, traveling, cooking, and restaurant exploring, which are generally funded by their wealthy parents. Then, thanks to the viral nature of social media, they gain wide enough exposure to monetize their content through ad revenue sharing like the YouTube Partner program, direct ads from brands, product placements, and affiliate links. Once a vlogger hits a critical mass of followers, their monthly revenue streams can support a very SWPL-lifestyle in a city like London or Manhattan.
The most challenging part of vlogging is to hit a threshold number of followers (say, 100,000). Once this minimum is passed, the number of followers tends to grow very rapidly, as YouTube and Twitter algorithms promote the content under what’s “hot” and “trending.” In the beginning, vloggers do generally have to be somewhat innovative and pro-social.
Tanya Burr, for example, began her vlogging “career” as a trained make-up artist, recording hundreds of make-up tutorials. This content attracted a large and diverse audience, ranging from teenage girls to professional adult women. After reaching a modicum of success, the psychological effects of being watched and liked by many people takes over. Vloggers tend to believe that their actions really matter to their followers. Finally, the economics of vlogging, i.e. more content, more ads, more shares, more engagement, more revenue, kick in, and the Vlogger is filming himself taking a shit.
A successful vlogger can earn between $20k and $30k a month just from ads. Above that, particularly entrepreneurial vloggers have launched their own make-up lines and written books. Zoe Sugg, 25-years-old, recently bought a five-bedroom house in Brighton worth $1.5 million. According to one estimate, PewDiePie’s channel has earned $16.5m since 2010 and now earns between $165k and $824k per month.
Among the plethora of career choices available to millennials, why are thousands of them creating videos watched by tens of millions of viewers?
First and foremost, narcissism is a major motivator for vloggers.
Vloggers tend to be obsessed with themselves. Every day, they tirelessly hold their cameras and tell you how they slept, what they ate for breakfast, how they feel, why they prefer this pair of socks over that pair, etc, etc. Every day, they spend hours watching and rewatching themselves and then editing the videos to ensure they look perfect. Then they can see the thousands of “likes” and “comments” that follow. This popularity gives the vloggers the illusion of accomplishment. They think what they do makes difference for the society. Because of the economics of vlogging, greed and narcissism are difficult to disentangle. Although some are not necessarily greedy for money, they are greedy for people’s attention. They need to be watched and liked. “I love filming, I love editing, I love seeing everyone’s reactions to my content. I love being able to look back and remember different parts of my life. I love communicating with my viewers. I vlog because I love it,” admits another famous vlogger Alayna (MissFenderr).
While perhaps not the biggest driver, just like blacks look up to rappers and who have “made it,” certainly some liberal-arts major Starbucks baristas look at Alayna’s channel and say, “I could do that.” Vlogging could certainly be compared to rapping. A rapper who gets picked up by Def Jam has a pretty lucrative gig and likely enjoys his job. So black kids spend endless hours writing lyrics, spitting rhyme, and cutting mix tapes on the minuscule chance they cut a seven-figure deal.
A similar logic goes for vlogging. Even though success is unlikely, the more frequently and the more assertively you blog, the more likely you are to hit that magic number of followers that allows you to move out of your parent’s house.
Finally, compared to other artistic pursuits, vlogging requires little originality and creativity. Unlike “the olden days”, when one had to go through a tough selection process with various agencies in order to become acknowledged, today with social media and cheap recording devices, people can be their own agents, producers, and promoters. Even under close examination, most vloggers don’t appear to possess unique talents and creativity. They chat about everyday “normal” things: shopping, finals at school, baking muffins, walking a dog, etc. A South African, Theodora Lee, for instance, vlogs about menstrual cups and tampons. “I was a tampon ambassador at school,” Theodora informs her viewers in the video. Truly, what the vloggers have is patience, consistency to keep up an uploading schedule, and dedication to their subject matter.
This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by the Cathedral. Politicians and left-leaning NGOs take advantage of the popularity of vloggers to reach a younger demographic with their propaganda. Thus, for instance, Tanya Burr was appointed UN ambassador for the Global Goals, which aims to “end poverty,” “fight inequality and injustice,” and “tackle climate change”–all by 2030. She has an “awareness raising” video, in which she encourages her viewers to pick one of the UN social issues and “spread the word” among their friends.
“You can do it in so many different ways, guys. By baking cupcakes and then icing on the cupcake your goal number, and then you can take the cupcakes into work or school,” advises Tanya. So help me God if someone tried to give me a UN-numbered cupcake.
Generating both money and status, the reason people vlog is clear, but why does anyone tune in? People watch vloggers because unlike Hollywood stars with their out of this world lifestyles, vloggers are more relatable. Vloggers don’t boast about their activities and new purchases, at least explicitly. They do it in a subtle way: they share the pleasant experience from shopping or traveling with their audience, they share their impressions and emotions, they give “life advice” to their audience, as if they were their close friends. In other words, their presentation is very personal and on the same level with their followers. For many teenagers, it is much easier to relate to them than, say, to the Kardashians.
In general, I think that the rise of vlogging is another symptom of the gradual decay of white culture and the movement towards a hedonistic ethos. Given that the overwhelming majority of vlog followers are teenagers, I think this phenomenon is a leading indicator of our society’s direction. The number of followers and their zealous fanaticism (Zoella’s book “Girl Online” set the highest ever first week sales for a debut author, beating J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter!) is worrisome and suggestive that white teens care a bit too much about Zoe’s thoughts on fashion. Meanwhile, the success of many vloggers sends an unfortunate message to their audience: the days of working hard to get into a great school leading to a great job are over. Nowadays, a college dropout can become famous and well-paid just by playing video games all day long. The infantilization of white millennials continues apace.