YouTube, the country’s leading video-sharing site, is a portal for individuals who want an outlet to express their thoughts and views. But opening up your life to the rest of the world may not be what some expected from their newfound YouTube fame. Especially for the young 16-20 year old crowd that the site seems to regularly attract.
YouTube has gained popularity over the last few years and has projected an almost monopoly over the rest of the online video sharing industry. According to Joshua Gamson, author of Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America, “YouTube is less artificial. I think there is a really strong sense that much of American celebrity culture is PR generated. That creates a market for so-called real people. People enjoy cutting through the nonsense.” And YouTube has grabbed the market with both hands.
Following the blogging trend, video blogging is becoming extremely popular and acquiring a good fan base can increase your popularity quite quickly to the point of making you a sort of Z-list internet celebrity. But along with every kind of celebrity status, there comes a downside. For just as many fans as you have, you’ll have that many, or more, who don’t have good intentions. And YouTube video stars are beginning to find that out the hard way.
One such teen, Emmalina, a bisexual Australian 18-year-old who had a weekly video blog, has deleted her content from YouTube claiming she feared for her safety after her computer was hacked and personal files and information were displayed on the internet. She said in a farewell letter on YouTube forum, YouTubetalk “Every day I logged in and discovered more and more cruel spoofs, harassing videos, death and rape threats, incredibly nasty comments and God knows what else. I can’t take it anymore. YouTube’s ‘popularity’ is hell unless you’re a f—ing saint with nothing to hide or you have indestructible confidence.” As more and more people transition into video outlets, the hacking and the stalking is bound to increase. “People forget that I’m a real, normal young girl with a life, feelings and a right to privacy.” Emmalina also had to make her Livejournal account private and move her public blogging to a mommy blog called loveemmalina.com.
Celebrity agent, Mark Markson warned “the openness of the internet represented a double edged sword for those seeking notoriety. If you put yourself out there on YouTube or MySpace you are moving into open area and giving your privacy away. If all of a sudden fame comes upon you, all of the negatives as well as the positives come with it.”
YouTube can be a great way to express yourself, promote yourself or even jumpstart a career. But like all things fame worthy, there’s a price to pay. And for some hardcore YouTubers, the negatives are outweighing the positives.
Here are some our favorite videos via Youtube for your viewing pleasure: