On a recent episode of South Park, the characters, who are eight year old children, were shocked to discover that they were out of touch. They had no idea about a new celebrity named PewDiePie, a YouTube celebrity with over seven billion views on his channel. The fact of the matter is, PewDiePie is far from the only social networking celebrity using videos to gain fame. The future of social networking is video, and the future is now.
YouTube, which could be considered the first and definitely the most popular video social networking site, premiered almost ten years ago, in February of 2005. Close to two years later, it was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion dollars. YouTube has proven to be a force to be reckoned with, bringing Google an estimated one billion dollars a year. With over a billion views a month, YouTube has tremendous power in advertising and making users famous. Along with PewDiePie, YouTube has created a number of celebrities. Comedians, lifestyle experts, and musicians have all gotten their start and made millions just from YouTube. PewDiePie revealed in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) that he made four million dollars in ad revenue in one month alone. The comedy duo Smosh will have their own movie directed by the guy who played Bill in Bill and Ted. YouTube is the king maker for video social networking.
There are still the princes, however. They live on Vine. Entering its second year, Vine has hit 1.5 billion loops, every day. Whereas posters can upload video clips of any length onto YouTube, Vine limits them to only six seconds. This has worked to Vine’s advantage because as they say, adversity is the mother of invention. The format lends itself to comedy. Since Vine clips are so short, they often rely on quick edits and one liners to get the jokes across. While it hasn’t hit YouTube like numbers yet, it does have its own success stories. For a while, the experts at social networking on Vine were in a group called Magcon, which was made up of mostly older teenage boys. These Viners would go on mall tours, with thousands of teenage girls paying for the privilege of seeing them up close. Now, the members of this group are getting their own movies. Cameron Dallas, a member of Magcon, will have Expelled, a film he starred in, stream on Netflix.
Other companies have noticed the drawing power that social networking with video can have. Twitter has also announced a forthcoming video tool. Sites like shakem.com have arranged complete apps around editing videos with sound and graphics and post them to sites like Vine and Instagram. These apps will have the power to create more stars.
As more teens leave Facebook for apps like Instagram and Vine, and fame and fortune is to be found by amateurs on these sites, they will continue to grow in popularity. YouTube, being the first and biggest video social networking site, will have to work even harder to keep up with the growing market and not seem stale. The fact of the matter is though, that video in social networking is here to stay.