Don’t get us wrong, we love watching YouTubers. We’re actually borderline obsessed, to the point where we’re not afraid to admit sometimes we care more about their lives than our own. That’s a joke, obviously. We think.
But with more and more YouTubers feeling the pressure to share personal aspects of their lives that go beyond what they purchased in their weekly food shop to Waitrose… Well, we have to ask where the line should be drawn, or whether it’s too late and YouTubers already feel compelled to share far too much with their audience?
The thing is, most YouTubers will happily admit their lives are pretty extraordinary. For the most part, they get to travel around the world with their friends, meeting people who absolutely adore them and go to sleep every night knowing they’re making hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people happier than they could ever truly perceive.
But they also find themselves having to justify taking weeks off of uploading a video, or breaking their chain of endless vlogs and reassure us that, for all we see through the lens, they are still normal human beings just like us.
To an extent, it’s understandable why we’re sad when they don’t upload on their scheduled day. After all, it’s their job and whilst normal, everyday jobs take place from 9-5 on weekdays, YouTubers are only expected to upload once a week for the most part. And our disappointment stems from a place of love anyway, right?
However, that is just a minuscule example in the grand scheme of all things YouTube. Although for the majority of the time viewers are patient and understanding (raise your hands if you’re with us), there are those individuals who feel as though they’re entitled to seriously personal info on our faves. And they don’t always go the nicest way about asking for it either. How shameful.
Very recently the Saccone-Jolys announced their third pregnancy, weeks short of reaching the usual first trimester due to the pressures put on Anna. Cruel comments highlighted her natural weight gain and made a point of seeing the beginnings of a bump at various fan sightings. The family then felt then they had to say something before YouTube convention, ‘Playlist Live’.
Sadly, Anna shared via her Snapchat that she had suffered a miscarriage and even had to go so far as to state why she wasn’t visibly upset. She stated that she hadn’t felt right for the last two weeks and had since then come to terms with it. She also added that she was rightly grieving in private with Jonathan.
The thing is, the family shouldn’t have had to publicly grieve. If the family hadn’t felt the pressure to share their news before the twelve week mark, they would have been able to handle it completely on their own terms.
It’s an extreme and very tragic instance, but we felt it was an important event to highlight. There are real people on the other side of your screens (not literally, don’t check) and nasty comments will cut deep.
Ultimately, though, there is good that can come from YouTubers sharing personal information. Zoella’s onscreen aftermaths of panic attacks, whilst soul crushing and upsetting to see, can really help her audience. Her channel has subsequently become a safe place for young people to turn to in order to make sense of what they’re feeling and find some form of validation that they’re not alone.
Transparency is also a huge factor of what makes YouTubers so appealing. We feel like we know them; they’re a sibling or a friend. Ultimately, they’re someone to look up to, and therefore being genuine sort of comes with the territory.
As well as Zoella speaking out about anxiety, coming out videos are also of huge influence to how young people view their own sexuality and the process of telling their friends and family. Although it’s not something YouTubers should feel they have to share, they’re letting us in on their identity by making YouTube their career and, for many, sexuality plays a huge role in who they are as people.
In being truthful about it they are inadvertently touching so many of their subscribers’ lives and helping them through a similarly difficult situation. Much like with Zoella’s frankness about anxiety, YouTubers that put up coming out videos are validating the way people might feel and saying it’s OK.
Although there are inevitably downsides to oversharing, in which there are individuals out there who feel entitled to know private information about YouTubers, it is plain to see that there are also many advantages to letting the viewers in.
At the end of the day, we have to take into account the fact that YouTubers make the final choice in what they choose to film and upload to the big ol’ world wide web. In turn, we should be thankful they’re making the decision to entertain us by letting us glimpse small fractions of their lives. And also remember that it’s just that: a small fraction.
But what do you think? Do YouTubers share too much of their personal lives? Should we take responsibility for the things we post in the comments, and how they might negatively impact what our fave YouTubers put out into the world? Tweet us @maximumpop!