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Youtubers: How Youtube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars

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Jake Paul, KSI, PewDiePie and Zoella are mega-stars to the young and a mystery to the old. As YouTubers, they influence the views, lives and purchases of millions of fans. And their power is growing: almost two billion people now watch YouTube videos. Yet their creators are little understood. How did they vault to the centre of the media circus? How did they get to live in Jake Paul, KSI, PewDiePie and Zoella are mega-stars to the young and a mystery to the old. As YouTubers, they influence the views, lives and purchases of millions of fans. And their power is growing: almost two billion people now watch YouTube videos. Yet their creators are little understood. How did they vault to the centre of the media circus? How did they get to live in Los Angeles mansions aged 21? How do they cope with being in front of the lens? And who is behind them? WIRED journalist Chris Stokel-Walker reveals the answers in the first independent in-depth book on YouTube. For three years he has interviewed more than 100 people connected with the site, including influencers, agents, and managers. He charts YouTube's extraordinary rise from single home video to multi-billion-dollar giant. And he asks important questions about brands, burnout and authenticity. If you wonder why YouTubers keep on making the news and stopping traffic in city centres - and whether YouTube will eventually eat 'normal' TV - you need this book.


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Jake Paul, KSI, PewDiePie and Zoella are mega-stars to the young and a mystery to the old. As YouTubers, they influence the views, lives and purchases of millions of fans. And their power is growing: almost two billion people now watch YouTube videos. Yet their creators are little understood. How did they vault to the centre of the media circus? How did they get to live in Jake Paul, KSI, PewDiePie and Zoella are mega-stars to the young and a mystery to the old. As YouTubers, they influence the views, lives and purchases of millions of fans. And their power is growing: almost two billion people now watch YouTube videos. Yet their creators are little understood. How did they vault to the centre of the media circus? How did they get to live in Los Angeles mansions aged 21? How do they cope with being in front of the lens? And who is behind them? WIRED journalist Chris Stokel-Walker reveals the answers in the first independent in-depth book on YouTube. For three years he has interviewed more than 100 people connected with the site, including influencers, agents, and managers. He charts YouTube's extraordinary rise from single home video to multi-billion-dollar giant. And he asks important questions about brands, burnout and authenticity. If you wonder why YouTubers keep on making the news and stopping traffic in city centres - and whether YouTube will eventually eat 'normal' TV - you need this book.

30 review for Youtubers: How Youtube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simon Clark

    YouTube is a global phenomenon. Such is its immensity, deeply integrated in the world of young people, that any description of the website will always come up short. Like blind men grasping at an elephant, aspects that may seem fundamental to one observer will be totally absent from the account of another. To gain an overview of any credibility, one must not only consider YouTube through many lenses - economic, sociological, historical - but also through multiple perspectives. Stokel-Walker’s Yo YouTube is a global phenomenon. Such is its immensity, deeply integrated in the world of young people, that any description of the website will always come up short. Like blind men grasping at an elephant, aspects that may seem fundamental to one observer will be totally absent from the account of another. To gain an overview of any credibility, one must not only consider YouTube through many lenses - economic, sociological, historical - but also through multiple perspectives. Stokel-Walker’s YouTubers succeeds as a cutting-edge account of one of most important websites in the world, as seen through the eyes of some of its top creators, industry experts, and researchers. Drawing on interviews on topics ranging from extremism to mental health to finance, Stokel-Walker weaves a tapestry of impressive scope. Speaking as a YouTuber, he captures the feel of the website, what it is to be a YouTuber (warts and all), and in particular highlights many of the less-publicised struggles of creating content to offer up to the almighty Algorithm. I suspect that in years to come, YouTubers will be viewed as an important historical account. It is a front-line report of a key time in the history of digital content creation and consumption, a meticulously researched history of online video, and a deep anthropological study of the often misunderstood Homo influenceris. If you want to understand the inner workings of your favourite YouTube influencers, and perhaps where we are heading next, you should read this book. It’s smart, sweeping, and significant.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    3.5 Stars-- the assumed audience here is someone (I'm guessing a boomer?) who is scratching their head over what the hell Youtube is and how it got to be so popular. And insofar as that is the audience, I think this does a good job of running through the history of the platform, an explanation of its cultural relevance, and an overview of the major ethical & business practice considerations that have come up between Youtube, advertisers, investors, creators, & viewers. What this makes me hungry 3.5 Stars-- the assumed audience here is someone (I'm guessing a boomer?) who is scratching their head over what the hell Youtube is and how it got to be so popular. And insofar as that is the audience, I think this does a good job of running through the history of the platform, an explanation of its cultural relevance, and an overview of the major ethical & business practice considerations that have come up between Youtube, advertisers, investors, creators, & viewers. What this makes me hungry for is a more "inside baseball" book like this-- maybe an oral history? I don't know, but I think this is a very nice version of what it is, even if I wanted it to go deeper in many places based on my own familiarity with the subject matter & people involved

  3. 4 out of 5

    James R.

    Despite being written relatively recently this book has aged poorly as it covers a subject that is constantly changing. It's a good summary of where things were with YouTube at the time of writing but anyone that has a passing interest in YouTube will have already been aware of a lot that is in this book. The interviews with content creators were interesting and the speculation about the future of YouTube was thought provoking. Despite being written relatively recently this book has aged poorly as it covers a subject that is constantly changing. It's a good summary of where things were with YouTube at the time of writing but anyone that has a passing interest in YouTube will have already been aware of a lot that is in this book. The interviews with content creators were interesting and the speculation about the future of YouTube was thought provoking.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    This book caught my attention because I am both an avid YouTube watcher and a not-so-avid YouTuber. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of YouTube’s beginning and workings but reading this was really eye-opening. I love a good backstory and have to say that my eyes were opened to the nitty-gritty of my favourite app. Now I seem to be coming across more stories that reinforce the book’s salient points which I never noticed before. It’s a well-written book that canvasses and the length and This book caught my attention because I am both an avid YouTube watcher and a not-so-avid YouTuber. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of YouTube’s beginning and workings but reading this was really eye-opening. I love a good backstory and have to say that my eyes were opened to the nitty-gritty of my favourite app. Now I seem to be coming across more stories that reinforce the book’s salient points which I never noticed before. It’s a well-written book that canvasses and the length and breadth of the contexts, motivations and ideas that combine to form YouTube’s story which is also, I think, a story about our evolving civilisation and rapidly morphing social norms. One major thrust of the book which I don’t agree with, however, is the responsibility heaped on the organisation to police content. While not a supporter of unpoliced publications that spread radicalisation, conspiracy theories and other misinformation, I believe these things are really only a reflection of humanity itself. It is humans themselves that should be addressed. We somehow need to address the root causes of these issues – in which case I see policing content as merely suppressing the problems. I realise this might be a bit of an idealist point of view, but it seems a bit unfair to shove this responsibility on emerging tech and then call their responses overreactions. This is very much a book relevant to current times. I feel like the conclusion could have been a bit stronger, although, at the same time, the author is very right in leaving it open-ended. YouTube is really too novel a phenomenon to predict a solid trajectory for and there is little/no baseline for permutations. How can one really make conclusions about what YouTube will hold for humanity? I give this book 4.2 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Eva

    I really enjoyed looking into the Youtube world. Having been an avid watcher since 2009 I understood the world on the surface level but this book goes so much deeper. The sheer amount of research that the author did is incredible. The book includes the views of a wide range of Youtubers including one of my favourites, Lucy Moon. It is an easy read and I read it happily in one sitting. Thank you to Netgalley and Canbury for this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bowbrick

    Good, fantastically well-researched magazine journalism extended to book length. Useful overview of the emerging industry, brutal economics and pressures on creators. Not a business book or a cultural studies book, so no startling insights but quite a lot of specially-commissioned research makes it a very useful read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claire Coupland

    What a great book, sharing the secrets of YouTube’s success. I was fascinated by the start up story and found the book full of interesting information. I also enjoyed hearing about famous YouTubers and the secrets to their success. Highly recommend this to anyone who’s thinking of starting a YouTube channel or anyone who wants to understand contemporary business.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ravenclaw Library Books

    This was an interesting read about YouTube and the phenomenon from so many differentpoints of view. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in starting a Youtube channel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Molina

    Wow. Just wow. Great read and highly informative. Not much to analysis.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alastair Naismith

    A great guide into the weird world of YouTube culture suitable for anyone no matter what their involvement with the site.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alyona Trotsenko

    Ничего нового и интересного не нашла( Успех ютуба они приписывают алгоритму, который тебе рекомендует похожее (как спотифай). Но нетфликс и амазон уже дышит в затылок)))

  12. 4 out of 5

    Frijor

    YouTube

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendi

  14. 4 out of 5

    baser

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eleodor

  16. 5 out of 5

    Layal Liverpool

  17. 4 out of 5

    Arica Schuett

  18. 5 out of 5

    Avinash Gupta

  19. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chad Sproles

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

  22. 5 out of 5

    KG

  23. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Keryova

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clare

  25. 5 out of 5

    Devyn Gregorio

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Raine

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dongmei Li

  28. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

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