Your Guide to the Crazy, Intertwined YouTube Starscape
Oh, you’ve never heard of smoshing? Shemurr. The originators of the term, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, are YouTube idols. Between merch, ads, and sponsorships, intertainers (that’s internet entertainers) have gone from bedroom vloggers to multimillionaires with digital empires. (Though as outcast PewDiePie shows, you’re just one offensive clip—or in his case nine—away from disgrace.) As a fresh stack of YouTuber-penned books hits shelves this year—IISuperwomanII’s How to Be a Bawse, Rachel Ballinger’s 101 Things That Piss Me Off, Ryan Higa’s untitled opus—the platform’s stars are converting cultlike fan followings into cash.
Invaluable advice from Tubers’ books
The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, by Rosanna Pansino
Tip: “Remember: Never trust an atom … They make up everything!”
Binge, by Tyler Oakley
Tip: “When life throws a wrench in your plans, catch it and build an Ikea bookshelf.”
#Chupaelperro, by Germán Garmendia
Tip: Adapt to change, like Pokémon’s Charmander. “He turns into a powerful, super-mega-hyper dragon.”
Selp Helf, by Miranda Sings
Tip: “in This chapter i will Tech you how to How 2 conker Love.”
#DGAF personas rule the YouTube universe
Essential elements of a viral video
Fans take their adoration offline
YouTube stars have legions of followers. If you know what to look for, you can identify them IRL.
Lamps / Higaholics
Cohort: Sunny, straitlaced millennials listening to K-pop and making GIFs on Higa’s TeeHee mobile app.
Leader: Miranda Sings
Cohort: Theater kids wearing bright red lipstick, screaming “Haters back off!”
Leaders: Rhett and Link
Cohort: Suburban hipsters sporting “randler” swag—the Rhett and Link mascot that looks like a mouse with antlers and wings—and slurping pour-over coffee from Good Mythical Morning mugs.
Team Super / Unicorns
Cohort: Snapchatting tweens in backward hats and IISuperwomanII’s official Smashbox lipstick: Bawse. They say “shemurr” when they’re feeling awkward.
Leader: Germán Garmendia
Cohort: Chihuahua-owning gamers blasting Garmendia’s music, including the catchy pop number “We Believe in Love, but Love Doesn’t Believe in Us.”
US teens spending time on YouTube
Percentage of 15- to 18-year-olds who visited these sites in the past 24 hours.
Big brands woo stars to reach millennials
Match the YouTuber to their sponsor.
2. Roman Atwood
4. Rhett and Link
6. Miranda Sings
D. Scott toilet paper
E. Schick razors
F. Jack in the Box
Answers: 1, B; 2, D; 3, E; 4, C; 5, A; 6, F
This article appears in the April issue. Subscribe now.
AP Images (Garmendia); Getty Images (all other portraits); top: subscribers/views of main channel only; 2016 earnings: Forbes; net worth: celebritynetworth.com; U.S. Teens Chart: March 2016 Amdocs survey