Youtube’s Intimacy, Fan Passion and Digital Eye Contact
“When we surveyed our teen and Millennial subscribers, 40 percent told us that YouTubers understood them better than their friends or family.* But a whopping 60 percent of them told us that a creator has changed their life or view of the world.”
“This embrace of openness by both fans and creators has led to a stronger link between them and the traditional teenage fan club. Sixty percent of those same subscribers tell us that the community they form with other fans of their favorite YouTubers is stronger than those they form around traditional celebrities from TV, music, or film. And earlier in the book I mentioned that the same percentage tell us that a YouTube creator has changed his or her life or view of the world.
When I asked Tyler about this, he explained that even the format of vlogging encourages connection. ‘YouTube is so intimate because it’s a YouTuber talking directly into the eyes of the viewer,’ he said. ‘It’s physically so close to the screen, it feels like you’re with your friend.’
But I believe that intimacy goes even deeper. When you first encounter actors, you’re likely encountering them performing a role. Their success depends on your believing their portrayal of someone they are not. With YouTubers, it’s the opposite; their success depends on your knowing and liking who they actually are. That doesn’t just lead to a situation that’s more intimate; it’s the definition of how intimacy is built.”