[Written By External Partner]
Ever since the Internet became readily available in homes and businesses worldwide, Internet personalities have become immensely popular. Taking the form of vloggers, Let’s Players, crafters, and more, social media influencers work with a variety of subjects that appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. While there have been television and radio personalities for decades, Internet personalities have reached new levels of success previously unseen in the industry — not only are many of these celebrities household names, they have also gained traction in other forms of media as well.
What is it about Internet personalities that audiences find so appealing?
One of the most impactful facets of modern-day social media (and the Internet in general) is the creators’ ability to produce exactly what their target audience wants to see. There are millions of content creators online, all with their own speciality. Some of the most popular forms of online content include:
- Beauty vlogging — makeup artists of all backgrounds use their talents to showcase looks, demonstrate beauty products, offer makeup and self care advice, and react to other artists’ work. Popular examples include YouTubers like Jaime French, Cristine Rotenberg of SimplyNailogical, and Jaclyn Hill.
- Let’s Plays — tapping into the widespread popularity of video games, these influencers document themselves playing video games across virtually every platform. Many Let’s Play channels are specialized for certain genres, consoles or themes. Some of the most widely known examples include Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan of the GameGrumps, Felix Kjellberg of PewDiePie, Sean McLaughlin as Jacksepticeye, and Mark Fischbach as Markiplier.
- Crafting — encompassing a wide variety of mediums, crafters typically document themselves creating works of art. Many creators produce step-by-step instructional videos on how to recreate their pieces. This includes drawing, painting, sewing, building and other artistic forms of expression. More notable examples include Mei Yu of Fun2Draw, Annika Victoria, Micarah Tewers, and Rachel Levin of RCLBeauty101.
- Cooking — food is popular in almost every walk of life, so chefs, bakers and even food scientists have made a name for themselves across social media. Some creators are professionals with established careers in the industry, while others are hobbyists and amateurs. Recipes and step-by-step instructional videos make up a vast majority of this market. Some of the most notable examples include the Epicurious team, Anne Reardon of HowToCookThat, Gemma Stafford of Bigger Bolder Baking, and Tasty (presented by Buzzfeed).
One major factor that sets Internet personalities apart from other celebrities is their ability to interact with supporters on a very intimate level. Almost every social media site comes with a built-in comment system, live chats, personal messaging, and forums, so viewers can ask questions, provide constructive feedback or hold entire conversations with their favorite Internet influencers. This tends to be very appealing to any personality’s fanbase, as viewers find it exciting to interact with their favorite content creators.
Since influencers are able to communicate so directly with their supporters, they can gain a thorough understanding of what people want to see; this knowledge is extremely helpful in allowing Internet influencers to build their digital character and personality. If their supporters would rather see them produce specific types of content, behave a certain way on-screen, or partake in any particular events or challenges, they can tweak what they’re doing to keep viewers happy.
Another major selling point for Internet personalities is their ability to relate to an audience. These content creators know more than just their target demographic — they understand the people watching their videos, joining their livestreams, and commenting on their posts. Influencers can get to know their audiences on a more personal level and produce specific content they want to see, watch, listen to or read. Along with this, viewers are often given a very deeply personal look into an influencer’s life, which gives more common ground for influencers and their supporters to connect. If an art vlogger opens up about their creative struggles, many of their viewers may respond positively by sharing their own similar struggles. A YouTuber who loves animals and frequently brings their own pets into videos is very likely to win support, respect and credibility from fellow animal enthusiasts and pet lovers.
Unlike traditional Hollywood celebrities, Internet personalities are often seen as more approachable than the ultra-famous actors and performers they see in movies, TV shows and on stages. The open line of communication on most social media platforms makes it significantly easier for supporters to converse with their favorite Internet influencers, which effectively breaks down the barrier that fame often wedges between celebrities and their fans.
People have been fascinated with celebrities for centuries, but Internet personalities have forged a connection to their fans in a way that has never been done before. These influencers are able to produce things their audience wants to see, communicate with fans closely and relate to audiences like never before. If the skyrocketing popularity of Internet personalities has in the last decade are any indication, influencers will likely continue to deeply engage their supporters for years to come.