Why Do People Care?

The YouTube Boy Band.Photo: Jason Nocito

How did you find out about this world?
F: Justine and I used to watch makeup videos on YouTube, and they’d talk about the British YouTubers.
L: I saw Zoella first, ’cause she also does makeup videos. And then I was talking to Justine about it and I started watching her, and that led to watching her whole YouTuber friend group.

How much time do you guys spend watching this stuff?
F: Too much.
K: A lot. Like, if I have nothing to do that day, and my phone is at a high battery, I’ll watch it for a while.

K: Easily.
J: Once you start watching the videos, you feel included in their lives in a way. You feel like you know them so well, so it’s just so entertaining to watch them. They’ll kind of videotape everything they’re doing.

Do you watch much reality TV?
Everyone: No.

Doesn’t YouTube feel like the same thing?
L: No. It feels definitely more down-to-earth and real.
J: It’s not scripted.
L: You get really into their lives.
J: They’re all so different, too, so you get all of the different personalities.

Do you guys have favorites among the five?
L: Zoella.
F: Alfie, definitely.

So Zalfie [the coupling of Zoella and Alfie, in 2013] was a big deal.
F: Oh, yeah. When I read her blog, I texted Justine, I was like, “ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod.”
J: I think Jim and Tanya are really cute.
F: They’re getting married.
J: I like Marcus a lot.
F: Yeah, also, what recently happened is his girlfriend of a long time, she started an account. ’Cause, like, they’re all friends in real life too. So she’s been in a bunch of vlogs, and she just started a YouTube channel, and in like two days, she has a million subscribers. I took Justine for her birthday to see them live at this thing called DigiFest. It was on a big stage, and they were doing Twitter, you know. The boy band sang a little bit. They were obviously the highlight. But there were a bunch of other people, like Lohanthony.

Do you ever worry that they’ll run out of stuff to do?
Everyone: No.

Why not?
J: They document their lives, and there’s still 2 million views every time.

Are YouTube celebrities and other celebrities different in your head?
Everyone: Yeah.
F: It feels like they’re somewhat normal people. Brad Pitt is not a normal person.
K: Or like Harry Styles.
L: Also these YouTubers are not trying to do things for attention.
J: Obviously in ten years they’re still not going to be doing YouTube, right? I feel like they’re gonna have lives and children.
F: In ten years we’re not gonna be watching YouTube.
J: No no, that’s what I mean. Is there gonna be like a new generation? What if they suddenly just stop being on YouTube?
F: I feel like people are gonna know who they are.
K: Yeah, if you’re walking down the street and you see Zoella, you’re gonna recognize her.

Excerpt from Zoella’s announcement that her relationship with a fellow YouTuber would be “private.”
“If anything were to ever happen between myself and Alfie … it could get really messy and nasty between fans and viewers of our separate content, and that is the last thing we’d ever want. :)”

Why Do People Care?