YouTube is the home of cat videos and other procrastinating virals but would you be surprised to hear it has its own cast of celebrity?
Many of you will have no idea who Zalfie is or who starts all their videos with 'Hello Best Friends' but the YouTube elite are some of the most famous torsos in the UK (and they're making a mint doing it).
Why don't you know who they are? their fans are aged between 14-24yrs old making you/us old and extremely uncool.
Here's a quick and complicated guide to whose who...
Zalfie - The King and Queen
Alfie aka PointlessBlog and Zoe Sugg aka Zoella are undoubtedly UK YouTube biggest names. They share 14 million subscribers across 5 channels and are of course a couple. Both have daily vlogs that consist of them selfie-ing their entire day. They live in Brighton in a rented flat that costs almost £3k pcm (so my friend, their neighbour tells me). Alfie has just released his first book whilst Zoe's book is out later this year, quickly followed by her cosmetic range and Simple Skincare sponsorship - BOOM! Zoe makes videos about skin care, feeding guinea pigs and her anxiety. Alfie makes videos based on YouTube tags (Cinnamon challenge, Chubby Bunny etc.) and gaming.
Marcus Butler & Naomi Smart - The Perfect Couple
Marcus is an established name on YouTube, like Alfie he makes tag videos for his 3 million viewers and has built his audience through collaborations with other YouTube names. He lives with his girlfriend Naomi who since meeting Marcus quickly seized the opportunity to have a slice of the YouTube pie. She's newer to the game with only 780,000 subscribers and she's a bit dead behind the eyes. Marcus and Naomi are blond, thin, have smelly candles, shop at Waitrose and work out with each other - its a little sickening. They live up the road from Zalfie, you can often watch the four of them daily vlog at the same time in the same room - meta.
Jim and Tanya - The Less Perfect Couple
Jim plays the role of YouTubes camp straight man and opens all his videos with 'Hello Best Friends'. Tanya his soon to be wife is bessies with Zoella and often pops up in her daily vlogs, Tanya also has anxiety - who knew?! I prefer Janya over Maomi because they are less perfect and probably shop at Sainsburys.
Louis - The Adventurer
Fun for Louis is a perfect cliché of white people breaking the rules - he has dreds, probably smokes the green stuff and travels the world trying to find himself and others. His videos however are fun - he wonders the planet trying weird things for the amusement of his viewers. On the surface Louis looks less worried about the commerce of YouTube but dig deeper and you'll find he's just as monitised as the rest and a good business man!
Louise aka SprinkleOfGlitter - The Mum
'Hello Ha Sprinklerinos!' Louise is plain speaking, silly and a Mum. Her videos are about her daughter Darcy, her love of make up and hauls. If you've never seen a haul video before its where the presenter shows you the contents of their shopping bag - its weird. Louise is my favourite YouTuber - she plays the game but never willing to comprise her privacy or politic. She's often left out from the clique but she's the up and coming Oprah of the gang.
Dan and Phil - The Geeks
If you'll know any of these names its likely to be Dan and Phil. They've had the most commercial success with a weekly Radio 1 show. They make videos together and separately and are following the current trend of BoyTubers by setting up a gaming channel. Dan and Phil's brand is based on them being socially awkward, a bit weird and slightly derogatory towards anyone they ever meet - I've met them so can back up this claim.
Casper and Joe - The Lads
Casper is a South African YouTuber whose content is far more risqué that most - he's done Q&A's with pornstars and DJ'd at Bestival. He lives in London with Joe aka ThatcherJoe whose also Zoellas brother and Alfies brother in law - are you keeping up? Casper and Joe are YouTubes lads - their videos are prank-ish, silly, boy stuff but I like them. Casper isn't as an astute as Joe (although he is learning!) when it comes to comic timing or presenting but together they make a nice double act.
Jacks Gap - The Power Twins
Jack and Finn are twins and until recently they sat above Zalfie in the ratings but it seems that they want more than a legacy of Chubby Bunny videos. After a summer of no uploads JacksGap returned with a message of change. Since then they've gone a bit arty and made some cliched indy flicks. They are currently making a series of documentaries for Skype. Interestingly JacksGaps parents are BAFTA award winning producers and writers.
Sam Pepper - The Dick
If you watched Big Brother before it went shit / went to Channel 5 you might remember the series that followed the 'Jayde Goody the Bully' in which Channel 4 let 12 under 25's into the house - Sam Pepper was one of these 25 young hopefuls. Sam quickly ran away to LA and set up his YouTube audience. Sam hires gangs of men to kidnap his friends or enter their apartment with baseball bats. Sam is a dick.
Today #ReportSamPepper is trending after he posted a film of him pinching girls bums.
Ben, Steve and other minor characters
Former athletes, celebrity stylists, sisters of the YouTube elite, the woman that looks after the elite - there's an audience for everyone and money to be made!
Confession: I'm slightly obsessed with their lives. I'm interested to know what self promoted fame worth at 0.3p per play does to someone. I'm intrigued that they've made their own reality TV soap operas from the slightly mundane lives they lead, manufactured relationships, dropped out of education and curated their lifestyles for the internet.
I also think its strange they are all a big clique of real life friends - straight, white, middle class people who live in the south east.
Does the elites fame echo what England is actually like - who knows?! What I can tell you is that I spend one hour a day catching up on their lives and I think this is going to affect the work I'm going to make. I'm critical of it and sucked in at the same time.
If you like a bit of bite in your procrastination here are a bunch of YouTubers I think you should be paying attention to...
1000 Londoners - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nqdhxQneIrElN9WRmd5_g
The Orphans - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmpA12VldRgqj2H7TaGIOSw
Charlie Hides TV - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeVj9kbm3NxKq5MGsHNtaoQ
Paul Kindersley - https://www.youtube.com/user/thebritisharecumming
Jayde Adams - https://www.youtube.com/user/jaydeadams
Mr Heavyhand - https://www.youtube.com/user/heavyhandedvlogs
My Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/scotteescottee