YouTube is the largest and most popular video-sharing platform on the Internet today with around 1.8 billion registered users engaging with it every month (Gilbert, 2018). It reaches more 18-49 year olds than any U.S. cable television network and the average viewing session has increased to more than 40 minutes (YouTube, nd,a). YouTube’s steady domination of the video-sharing market has given creators from all backgrounds the opportunity to earn revenue from the videos they upload. Using YouTube Gamer Mini Ladd as a case study for analysis, this thesis evaluates how the construction of a strong brand image founded on a consistent performance of personal authenticity affects parasocial relationships (Giles, 2002; Rojek, 2016) created with fans. This thesis debates how well-known YouTubers are redefining current definitions of celebrity by re-introducing the term ‘cybercelebrity’(see Edwards and Jeffreys, 2010) to specifically describe anyone who is “Internet famous” (Tanz, 2008). It also outlines branding elements and monetisation strategies used by cybercelebrities in order to form a career on YouTube. Analysis of an audience’s response to the presence of paid sponsorships and product endorsements in videos forms a vital part of the discussion as it examines whether the audience’s perception of a cybercelebrity’s personal authenticity is affected.
- celebrity studies
- Mini Ladd