I watched a video the other day where a fellow predicts that the concept of being “Hollywood famous” is starting to decay. It’s slowly getting replaced by niche communities and their pseudo-celebrities. With the rise of YouTube and social networking sites, there’s more windows of opportunity for any Average Joe to become really popular, renowned, or famous for one reason or another. What makes a person an “internet celebrity” can vary, though. I’d like to highlight the broad umbrella of content creators, better known as YouTubers or vidders. As YouTube’s audience grows, people are more likely to know names like PewDiePie or Markiplier than names like Pieguyrulz or Pan Pizza. (Note that the last two are big names in my favorite internet niche of cartoon reviewers.)That’s due to the nature of niches, how some appeal to bigger groups and audiences than others.
The mechanics of YouTube popularity, using MatPat from Game Theory’s vernacular, are a matter of understanding Google keywords, YouTube analytics, and opportune timing. It’s also a matter of picking a topic that tickles the fancy of a prospective audience and discussing it in a meaningful way. Some people argue that popular content is more personality driven. Others say it’s research. There’s a good measure of both kinds of content. Just looking at video game related content, without pointing out specific niches, there’s a range from entertaining, personality-driven Let’s Players like Markiplier to more research based and speculative theorists like the aforementioned MatPat. Technically, MatPat injects jokes and humor into his videos, too. So, he hits that “sweet spot” in the middle of these two generalized perceptions about YouTube content. Markiplier is arguably more popular, but MatPat still boasts quite a huge audience.
Coming back to the idea of niches, how does someone become popular within a specific niche on YouTube? Allow me to invite you to my favorite corner, the corner of the cartoon enthusiasts. There’s people who make animated music videos, specific fandoms attached to specific programs. It’s just as diverse as the umbrella that covers video game related niches. So, there’s an even bigger emphasis on specificity here. One of my favorite cartoon reviewers TheMysteriousMr.Enter branched out from the brony fandom, then struck intrigue among animation enthusiasts when he started critiquing episodes of Spongebob Squarepants. Another factor to note was that he was one of the first to do just this, so there was an air of newness and novelty to it. Or rather, he did so in a way that others hadn’t at the time.
Most of this hinges on the idea of “right place, right time.” Even that doesn’t factor in 100%, though. There’s a variety of other possibilities for people to climb YouTube’s proverbial “fame ladder,” such as appearing as a guest on an already established content creator’s channel in some way, shape, or form. I’m tempted to say that Mr. Enter collaborating with Pieguy introduced his content to more viewers than previously. This kind of tack, though, isn’t really dependable or viable unless you already know somebody. Yes, networking applies in the YouTube realm of numbers and lottery luck as much as it does in real life.
Take my ramblings with a grain of salt, please. These are just my observations and speculations about one of my favorite topics that isn’t cartoons. Following my “steps” aren’t a guarantee to YouTube fame. If anything, I just find it interesting that looking at YouTube as a foundation for celebrities redefines “fifteen minutes of fame.” We live in a world where people daydream about their karaoke video going viral just as much as the chance of winning American Idol…