Tyler Oakley

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sapienveneficus
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Tyler Oakley

Post by sapienveneficus » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:04 pm

I was surprised to see that Tyler didn't already have his own thread so I'm starting one.

I should start this off by saying that, last fall, I made the decision to unsubscribe from his channel. Looking at his stats, it's clear I wasn't the only one. But no one seems to be talking about what he's been doing lately and how it's impacted his channel. So I suppose that's the discussion I'm interested in starting. To those of you who like (or liked) Tyler's content, what do (or did) you like about it? If, like me, you've unsubscribed to Tyler, what was the last straw for you? For those still subscribed, what's encouraged you to stick around?

I first discovered Tyler back in December of 2011 when he hosted the TrevorLive redcarpet stream. At the time, I was watching the stream because several Glee cast members were planning to attend the event, and I was a dedicated Gleek. I remember being amused by this kid (I say kid because he legitimately looked about 12 at the time) hosting the red carpet. He was funny and seemed genuinely excited to be there.

So, after the stream, I hopped onto YouTube to checkout his channel. I remember this was the first video of his I watched

It was funny so I subscribed. Over the next few years, while I found some Tyler's solo content quite funny (I'm just going to leave this here ), I was most entertained by his collaborations. Of course, I know we've all seen his collabs with Dan and Phil. #whisk

But he's done several others that I've found quite funny as well. Aside from the obvious, I've really loved the collabs he's done with Zoe. She's never been a favorite of mine, but those Disney Quiz videos are hilarious.

Okay, now that I've established my history as a Tyler fan, I want to talk a bit about why I stopped being a fan of his. First, the money! Now, I know that all YouTubers need to make a living. They all sell merch and most have had a sponsored video every now and again. I don't generally have a problem with that. I mean, those videos Dan and Phil made for Krave and Crunchyroll are classics that I've watched multiple times.

My issue with Tyler is that, as his channel grew more and more popular, he increased the amount of sponsored content he put out. Every video was brought to you by audible, with a merch mention, and a nature box spon thrown in for good measure. By late 2015/early 2016 almost every single video was sponsored. Then came the camp video. For those who may have already jumped off the Tyler bandwagon, let me tell you about camp. In 2016, Tyler teamed up with Bethany Mota to promote a week they'd be spending at Camp17. The camp would be a single week and would cost thousands (yes, that "s" is no typo) of dollars.

This was the beginning of the end for me. As a former camp counselor, I know how much sleepaway camps cost. So it is with experience that I can tell you that charging over two thousand dollars for 6 days is insane! After the camp video, I took note of just how many different products Tyler was hawking to his young audience, and it began to make me feel genuinely uncomfortable. But, I was still subscribed because I was looking forward to Auguest. I may have lost a little respect for Tyler as a businessman (imho he crossed the line between making a living and exploiting his young audience) but I still enjoyed his funny collabs.

Well, Auguest 2016 never happened. I remember thinking it was odd that Tyler didn't tease Auguest at Vidcon as he had in years past, and odder still that he wasn't dropping subtle hints about his upcoming month of collabs in any of his July videos or on Psychobabble. Even so, I was genuinely surprised when the first Monday of August came and went without a video. If you look back at the comments on Tyler's videos before and after August, you can see that most fans were just as confused as I was. Tyler never made a video explaining why he'd cancelled Auguest. He never tweeted, tumbled, or instagrammed about it either. In fact, the only reference he ever made to cancelling the month of collabs was a cruel, throwaway line in a December episode of his podcast.

This was the last straw for me. Not only was this guy exploiting his young, vulnerable fans for money, he also didn't care enough about the community he'd created to communicate with them. When I realized that Tyler didn't care about his fans at all, apart from their money, I unsubscribed from his channel.

While it's been somewhat satisfying to see his subscriber count and view numbers plummet over the past year, I've been surprised to see that no one's really talked about all that happened last year. Which is why I've written this rather lengthy post. If you have thoughts about Tyler, feel free to share them. I genuinely want to know what others on this forum think.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by Skylar » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:58 pm

i actually don't know a whole lot about him besides his collabs he's done with dan , and i've only seen a few solo videos of his. i do often find myself going back to his collabs with dan bc they were very funny. i had no idea he did all this stuff though, mainly bc i've never really watched any of his solo videos enough, or the ones i did watch didn't have any sponsored stuff at the end. or if it did i probably clicked out of it before it happened lol.

but yeah idk. i mean. he's cute. he's funny sometimes. but i don't really have anything against him personally?
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by Katka » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:43 pm

I don’t really care about the sponsored stuff to be honest. Tyler seems like such a genuinely nice person and I admire him for all that personal growth and the way he dealt with backlash a few years back when Tumblr unearthed some old video where he was anti-diversity. Instead of trying to hush it up, Tyler owned up to it, wrote a wonderful post about it on his blog and tasked himself to become a better person. I’ve watched him before that happened but that’s when I truly started to admire him and his personality. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another Youtuber deal with a situation like this in such a mature and positive way. I think he’s a good person and I think he’s cashing in on Youtube as much as he can now because he realises he doesn’t have much time left on the platform.

Tyler had his Youtube peak in his mid twenties when he had colourful hair and was relatable to his younger audience but I think that’s kind of over and he knows it. I don’t think his subscriber count went down so drastically because he’s money hungry but because people lose interest in him and move on because they can’t relate anymore. Correct me if I’m wrong but his content has gotten a lot more serious lately too. Tyler is a great activist for lgbtq rights (another thing I admire him for) and he’s made a lot of more serious videos on the topic lately and I think many people who subscribed to him because of his funny collabs aren’t interested in these videos. I love them though, I’m really happy he’s using his platform to educate his viewers on lgbtq history and stuff, even if it might cost him subs.

I think Tyler Oakley is genuinely a good person and I do think he cares about his viewers. He’s done so much for charity and he’s never been quiet about his political opinions either, he’s using his platform for some really good activism… so what if he tries to make as much money along the way as possible? I’m not defending that, I’m not liking it either, but with Tyler the good easily outweighs the bad. He’s inspiring to me as a member of the lgbtq community and I’m glad he’s still there. But I do think that many of his younger viewers can’t really relate to him anymore and that’s why they’re leaving. That’s just my interpretation though, I'm probably all kinds of wrong.
(I also think Tyler's honesty about what it really means to be a gay man these days might also alienate a lot of younger viewers because they can't relate to that reality. Like, I love Connor Franta as much as the next person but his activism is all about the aesthetics, defying gender roles, wearing nail polish... all the stuff popular with younger lgbtq kids on Tumblr and Youtube these days, so it's easy for them to relate to him. But Tyler's always been super honest about the grittier parts of being lgbtq and I've personally always found him a lot more authentic that way but it might be hard for non-lgbtq viewers to relate to that, especially when they're there for funny stuff and not the more serious things he talks about. Also now that the age gap is getting bigger it might be a lot harder for younger viewers, lgbtq or not, to relate to him too. He's not Phil who's kind of "ageless" in a good way, he's grown up and his reality differs from those of his younger viewers a lot these days. I really hope this makes sense...)
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by LeftHandedism » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:50 am

I don't watch Tyler much, and I have also been annoyed by all the spon, but I agree with much of the positive things people have had to say about him.

I also feel pretty sympathetic toward him since I read his book Binge last year, and it was a pretty engaging memoir. It was an actual book, which I give him props for.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by alittledizzy » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:34 pm

I like Tyler as a person but not really as a youtuber. I follow him on twitter and generally find myself smiling over the causes he supports and the kind of person that he is. I don't watch his youtube videos because I feel like he personally checked out of being a youtuber long ago.

I'm not sure I told that against him, though. I feel like Tyler went where he thought the money was, professionally, and it might not have been the bad choice for him. I'm guessing he probably made more in one failed attempt at a tv show than he would in a year of youtube. Popularity like his always has an expiration date; youtube itself as a platform for the type of youtuber he is probably has an expiration date as well. If he wants to stick around the media industry for a while then the connections he made when he was off doing not-youtube things might bode well. I can't bring myself to say thinking forward past youtube is a bad thing for a youtuber.

But he definitely sacrificed his community for it and I can understand why someone that considered themselves part of that community would be angry.

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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by fondsmiles » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:15 pm

I am actually a huge fan of Tyler's. I've only recently joined the phandom, and especially in the beginning it felt big and intense and kind of scary to be honest, and I will forever value the coziness that is Tyler's fandom to me, it's like home. So, well, all my opinions are very biased - but then again, whose aren't.

I started watching him in early 2015, was kind of drawn in by Troyler (which was already in it's angsty phase as a ship) but immediately liked him a lot. One of the first things I actively witnessed as a fan of his after watching all of his old videos was when he brought out his book, Binge, and that shaped my view of him a lot and made me value him as much as I still do to this day.
I've always loved how much himself he is, how kind and outspoken and interactive with us as a community, how much he cares and stands up for what he beliefs in. I truly believe he is an incredibly kindhearted human, plus funny and very aware of things on top, and the things he's shared with the world (and in that way with me) have been invaluable to me.
sapienveneficus wrote:Then came the camp video. For those who may have already jumped off the Tyler bandwagon, let me tell you about camp. In 2016, Tyler teamed up with Bethany Mota to promote a week they'd be spending at Camp17. The camp would be a single week and would cost thousands (yes, that "s" is no typo) of dollars.
I tried to look up the tweets, I can't find them right now, but I remember him talking about how he wanted to make it cheaper but it was out of his hands. It's just a Camp17 thing, and they do this with YouTubers, and apparently he hasn't much control over it. At least they do give out sponsorships for people who can't afford it, even from around the world. Because I do agree, that's an insane amount of money.
sapienveneficus wrote:Tyler never made a video explaining why he'd cancelled Auguest. He never tweeted, tumbled, or instagrammed about it either. In fact, the only reference he ever made to cancelling the month of collabs was a cruel, throwaway line in a December episode of his podcast.
This is in fact one of the things i've been most hurt by, and most upset about. Not that he's not done Auguest, because I do really get that. In Binge he talked about how 2014 as a year was incredibly successful for him career wise, but that he'd totally felt like he lost himself as who he is as a person. I have and always will support when youtubers cut back on projects and take more time for themselves. If they can, and if they need to, who are we to fault them.
But what I found upsetting was that he barely addressed it. There was one tweet, months before it, where he replied to someone saying he didn't know if he'd do Auguest. I still wish he'd have talked about his reasonings. Because while I do know a lot of the background he's shared, and can see plausible reasons, I am always one for open communication of boundaries. I guess his way of breaking out of responsibilites that come only from having done something before already was to just act nonchalant and make everyone aware in that way that he has no obligation to do something again, just because he decided to in the past. But he could have put that in words, and I would have appreciated it.
sapienveneficus wrote:Not only was this guy exploiting his young, vulnerable fans for money, he also didn't care enough about the community he'd created to communicate with them. When I realized that Tyler didn't care about his fans at all, apart from their money, I unsubscribed from his channel.
This I do find a bit patronizing to hear, and yes I get probably defensive as a fan of his, but I don't think he deserves such harsh judgement. For one, he has probably the same age demographic as dnp (at least he's stated so in previous times, and many of my friends in the fandom are in their mid 20s like me). And also, I am aware of his care for our community in many ways, that I could start to list all now - I mean, one small example is this tweet he literally only posted earlier: there's many more examples, but I don't wanna get too into it. I just want to make clear that I have a very different perception on this matter.

(btw, sapienveneficus, no offense to you - I can kind of see where you're coming from, and I didn't mean to take anything apart you said, but I do really enjoy talking about why I love him and you provided some good points for me to state my opinions on! it's all in love )

I am not going to go into detail on what Katka said, but I do really share most of your views and found it nice to see that someone who doesn't seem as obsessed as me looks at him in a similar way :)
Something I want to bring up is what you said about him changing his content quite a bit and becoming more political. He has been very vocal in the past US election, which is something that I value endlessly as it's been exactly what I needed to come back into politics again, which I have failed to do for a few years prior. He's outspoken and not afraid to say what needs to be said, educates me daily and is just - a wonderful person.
What I'd love to share is this new project he just announced: All in June he'll do a video series, kind of documentary style it seems, about the LGBTQ+ community, and it looks fantastic.


here's some other videos I find representative of the ways he's changed personally and content wise:
(this also features me,
hehe)
(i like this because it also adresses how he wants to go about youtube and life in general)
He's also been clear about the fact that he's struggling a bit to figure out what he wants his content to be right now. I personally belief that to be the reason he's lost quite a few subscribers. He's changed, and people who appreciated him for who he was before might just not enjoy what he's doing right now, but people who have never wanted to watch him for what they knew him to be still judge him for something he is no longer. I belief that he'll grow with becoming more confident in what he creates, finding more passion in it again and therefore attracting a new audience that likes what he's becoming. Change is always difficult, but I'm so glad he's taking the steps that he needs to be happy in his life!

I also highly recommend reading Binge or watching Snervous because they literally give so much insight into who he is as a human (Binge) and as a Youtuber (Snervous). While I value the books and docs dnp have done, I feel like Tyler's go a lot deeper, especially the doc, holy shit, he's showing some hard hitting truths there (like fans crossing boundaries, him being an annoying and over-controlling little shit, being scared of what the future holds, his relationship with his dad. Good Content.)

I am sorry if this post is just me being way too defensive (I hope I am not :/ ) or too obsessed as a fangirl but I am SO passionate about him and have SO much love in my heart for who he is.
I don't expect anyone else to feel the same way btw, I'd love to have more discussion about him! I hope I didn't shut anyone down just by rambling on for too long, that wasn't my intention. You're all free to like or dislike him as you please :)

god that's more words about him than i've probably written about dnp on this forum i apologize
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by saffarinda » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:22 pm

I could never really get into him tbh, his personality and content just seem so... different to what I look for in youtubers. I appreciate some of his tweets.

I remember a few years ago when the stuff about Zoe's book being ghost written came out one phandom account said some stuff about it in a tumblr post, how it was annoying bc people try really hard to become authors and get rejected so much and she was just playing it off as her own, and Tyler sent her asks or a tumblr post, I can't quite remember which, and was quite abrasive towards her (I wish I could remember the accounts name, ugh), and the girl was previously a fan of Tyler's and just completly unstanned him. She was so upset and angry and I got so pissed off at Tyler because even though you may want to defend your friend after everything that's occured you don't go messaging teenage girls and getting snippy at them. You're a role model to them and an ADULT, you can't just message a teenager when your in a position of authority and do that.

Now though, idk, still don't like his content but I don't have any personal vendetta against him - but messaging that person really stuck with me.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by Katka » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:42 pm

saffarinda wrote:I remember a few years ago when the stuff about Zoe's book being ghost written came out one phandom account said some stuff about it in a tumblr post, how it was annoying bc people try really hard to become authors and get rejected so much and she was just playing it off as her own, and Tyler sent her asks or a tumblr post, I can't quite remember which, and was quite abrasive towards her (I wish I could remember the accounts name, ugh), and the girl was previously a fan of Tyler's and just completly unstanned him.
I put my answer in a spoiler because it's long, sorry!
I agree that Tyler should have ignored the person and I don’t condone his behaviour towards them at all but that’s not what happened. This was a sixteen year old writer who wrote a very lengthy post “analysing” the first chapter of “Girl Online”, which was at the time free to read on Zoe’s blog or something. If they’d reviewed it or just said they didn’t like it, I don’t think any of this would have happened the way it did, but they decided to tear “Girl Online”’s first chapter apart based on super subjective opinions on what’s good writing and what isn’t, like “Zoe uses ellipses and I don’t like when writers do that so I’ll call her immature” and stuff like that.

It wasn't a critique, it was a hate post and it had nothing to do with her ghostwriting scandal whatsoever (what you mentioned about them complaining about the ghostwriting came later in the answer to Tyler's ask as a justification for writing the post). It was just a person slamming her book based on the first chapter in a very petty way. (I found the original post but I honestly don't feel comfortable linking to it because the person is still only eighteen years old and they say they're still getting asks about what happened and since this is a public forum that everyone can read I don't want to supply a link to their blog in case someone gets the idea to send them shit about it again. Not on my watch, as much as I dislike that post.)

I remember reading that post and being super pissed off about it, not because I’m a fan of Zoe’s or liked “Girl Online” or anything but because it’s the most petty, bitter, pretentious thing ever. Other writers aren’t your enemies and slamming their books because you think you’re a better writer than them and deserve to be published more than them won’t get your own story published faster. Like, no one minds honest reviews but that's not what that was.

But they were only sixteen at the time and Tyler should have left well alone. But regarding the context I think it's more understandable why he snapped (he sent them one ask telling them to channel their creativity into their own stories instead of into angry rants on Tumblr, it wasn't nice but it wasn't hateful either). That post isn't a review or an analysis of the novel, it’s just plain pure hate and I guess Tyler overreacted because it got pretty popular on Tumblr. I honestly don’t think Tyler would have reacted that way to a normal review or someone complaining about Zoe lying about her ghost writer – that doesn’t make his reaction okay at all but it explains it, I think.

There was so much drama about this whole situation back then and people defending the person who wrote that post with your usual "But they just critiqued her work!" arguments and lol, no. "They're just a teenager" is a very good reason to not send someone a message if you're a famous Youtuber. "They just critiqued her work nicely and politely and didn't do anything wrong ever and Tyler Oakley sent them HATE" is bull though. That's not what happened at all but it's how they portrayed the whole mess back then.

It's also noteworthy that all of this happened when Tyler's career was at its peak and he had a lot of vocal haters. Hating Tyler was super easy back then and I guess a lot of people defending the original author of the Zoella post just went along with it because they disliked Tyler so much and it gave them ammunition. I think that's why "Tyler sent a fan an ask" turned into "Tyler sent a fan HATE!!!". I'm sorry for the original author though because that must have been really disappointing, even though I don't agree with their Girl Online post at all.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by saffarinda » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:07 pm

Katka wrote:
saffarinda wrote:I remember a few years ago when the stuff about Zoe's book being ghost written came out one phandom account said some stuff about it in a tumblr post, how it was annoying bc people try really hard to become authors and get rejected so much and she was just playing it off as her own, and Tyler sent her asks or a tumblr post, I can't quite remember which, and was quite abrasive towards her (I wish I could remember the accounts name, ugh), and the girl was previously a fan of Tyler's and just completly unstanned him.
I put my answer in a spoiler because it's long, sorry!
I agree that Tyler should have ignored the person and I don’t condone his behaviour towards them at all but that’s not what happened. This was a sixteen year old writer who wrote a very lengthy post “analysing” the first chapter of “Girl Online”, which was at the time free to read on Zoe’s blog or something. If they’d reviewed it or just said they didn’t like it, I don’t think any of this would have happened the way it did, but they decided to tear “Girl Online”’s first chapter apart based on super subjective opinions on what’s good writing and what isn’t, like “Zoe uses ellipses and I don’t like when writers do that so I’ll call her immature” and stuff like that.

It wasn't a critique, it was a hate post and it had nothing to do with her ghostwriting scandal whatsoever (what you mentioned about them complaining about the ghostwriting came later in the answer to Tyler's ask as a justification for writing the post). It was just a person slamming her book based on the first chapter in a very petty way. (I found the original post but I honestly don't feel comfortable linking to it because the person is still only eighteen years old and they say they're still getting asks about what happened and since this is a public forum that everyone can read I don't want to supply a link to their blog in case someone gets the idea to send them shit about it again. Not on my watch, as much as I dislike that post.)

I remember reading that post and being super pissed off about it, not because I’m a fan of Zoe’s or liked “Girl Online” or anything but because it’s the most petty, bitter, pretentious thing ever. Other writers aren’t your enemies and slamming their books because you think you’re a better writer than them and deserve to be published more than them won’t get your own story published faster. Like, no one minds honest reviews but that's not what that was.

But they were only sixteen at the time and Tyler should have left well alone. But regarding the context I think it's more understandable why he snapped (he sent them one ask telling them to channel their creativity into their own stories instead of into angry rants on Tumblr, it wasn't nice but it wasn't hateful either). That post isn't a review or an analysis of the novel, it’s just plain pure hate and I guess Tyler overreacted because it got pretty popular on Tumblr. I honestly don’t think Tyler would have reacted that way to a normal review or someone complaining about Zoe lying about her ghost writer – that doesn’t make his reaction okay at all but it explains it, I think.

There was so much drama about this whole situation back then and people defending the person who wrote that post with your usual "But they just critiqued her work!" arguments and lol, no. "They're just a teenager" is a very good reason to not send someone a message if you're a famous Youtuber. "They just critiqued her work nicely and politely and didn't do anything wrong ever and Tyler Oakley sent them HATE" is bull though. That's not what happened at all but it's how they portrayed the whole mess back then.

It's also noteworthy that all of this happened when Tyler's career was at its peak and he had a lot of vocal haters. Hating Tyler was super easy back then and I guess a lot of people defending the original author of the Zoella post just went along with it because they disliked Tyler so much and it gave them ammunition. I think that's why "Tyler sent a fan an ask" turned into "Tyler sent a fan HATE!!!". I'm sorry for the original author though because that must have been really disappointing, even though I don't agree with their Girl Online post at all.
Thanks for the reminder! I'd forgotten a majority of the incident, my strongest memory of it was scrolling down her blog and seeing how angry and upset she was at Tyler. Whilst I completely disagree with her posting something with so much slander, she was free to express her opinions and it was simply a tumblr post - I doubt that she felt her post would blow up as much as it did. My main issue was always with Tyler messaging a teenager and disagreeing with her. The imbalance of power, and the fact that in messaging her was only going to bring more attention to it... I understand Zoe's his friend and he'd get annoyed but I can't believe he thought it was a clever idea.

If it were a review filled with subjective, hateful opinions made by an adult, or a journalist on a news website, I don't see as much of a problem at directing annoyances towards them - they know how to handle themselves/have set themselves up for critique in expressing their opinions.

Anyways, I can't get into Tyler's content. I remember trying really hard to get into Troye and Tyler's content back in 2013-2014 but I never could. I got into some of Troye's more comedy based videos (and loved "Happy Little Pill" back when it came out, I replayed that so much on my holiday) but Tyler's just never appealed to me - and I watched a fair few videos because I have a friend who used to love Tyler, but it all just seemed the same to me It's a shame because I can't get into the gleamers, or people like Connor - their content just seems identical with different people doing the same thing in the same way.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by interruptfireworks » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:38 am

i remember everyone used to love tyler in 2013-15 and now it seems like he's fallen off the face of the earth??? (at least in the 'fandom' world or where i'm at in fandoms). i unsubscribed from him in early 2016 or late 2015 just bc his content wasn't the same as it used to be. he'd always had funny collabs or q&slays (as he liked to call them) but then he stopped making videos so often and that viewer to youtuber connection felt sorta distant if you get me.

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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by sapienveneficus » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:02 pm

It's taken me awhile to read all of the responses to my initial post. I'm glad so many people have contributed. I saw a few themes emerge in everyone's responses that I'd like to address.

Changing Content
A few people have brought up that Tyler has changed his style of content over the past year or so and that this change has decreased his popularity. I do think that's partially why he's seen such a decline, but I don't think it tells the whole story. Based on the comments I've seen under his videos, I still think, to a large extent, that his actions last year coupled with his lack of audience communication contributed to his channel's decline.

But reading many of your comments made me think about longevity on YouTube. Is YouTube only for the young? I'm not sure that's a question that's easily answered. I mean, let's be real, if you're young and hot it's easy to amass a following, but if you've created a community, there are ways to keep it strong as you age. I think it all comes down to audience engagement. Take Louise, for example, she made a video last year talking about how she wanted to take her channel in a different direction. She's a divorced woman, in her 30s, and that means that her interests have changed a bit. I don't watch her videos, but I admired her decision to be open with her audience about where she wanted to go next with her channel to keep things authentic. Yes, her views have dropped a little (quickly glancing at her channel she's gone from averaging 300k to 200k per solo video) but she still seems to have a regular audience, one that's aging with her. Or consider the Vlogbrothers. They've been making videos for a decade, and while they may not be in their peak "french the llama" days, they still have a large, engaged audience. So I don't think that it's guaranteed that people will age out of YouTube, but I do think that the key to keeping an audience is respectful engagement.

Binge
I didn't talk about Tyler's book in my initial post but having read some of your comments about it, I thought I'd add my thoughts. I have read Binge. I agree that it's a proper book where Tyler is very open and honest about his life and his struggles. My reaction to Binge was, for lack of a better word, complicated. I was impressed with how honest Tyler was. There were several chapters where he really put himself out there. I also felt terribly sorry for Tyler when I read the chapters about his childhood. Gosh, that kid was hurting and wasn't getting the help/interventions that he needed. (IRL I'm a teacher so I could go deep into all the ways his elementary school and local social services failed that kid, but I need to stay on topic) Actually, reading those early chapters made it impossible for me to watch any collaborations he's done with his mother as my view of her has been forever altered.

As the book went on and started to cover his YouTube career, I started to lose respect for him as a YouTuber. This is difficult to explain, but I'll try. Obviously, whenever a YouTuber sits down to film a video, they become a heightened version of themselves. Most will use some kind of script, all will edit their videos in some fashion, that's just how it works. Knowing that hasn't affected my experience as a consumer of YouTube content because, while I know that the people I see on my computer screen are edited and polished, I also know that they're still being themselves. YouTubers have an authenticity about them that other entertainers don't; I think that's a large part of their appeal. Here are a few examples, I don't doubt for a second that Hank Green loves science, or that John Green loves all the boring sports (I'm looking at you, Indy car racing), or that Lilly Singh loves The Rock and her parents (however much she may tease them), or that Dan and Phil love anime and video games (and each other ). These creators talk about things they care about. Sure, those conversations are polished for the camera, but they're still genuine.

Reading Tyler's book it became clear to me that Tyler pretended to like things (ex: One Direction) to gain a large audience of teenage girls so he could sell them things. Which, from a marketing standpoint, was a brilliant move. He clearly paid attention in all his MSU marketing classes. But knowing that was mostly fake, it made me lose respect for him as a content creator. I suppose, now that I really think about it, I was already one foot out the door before the whole camp thing came on my radar.

Exploiting his audience

This is the final thing I wanted to address. I couldn't find a solid source that breaks down the demographics of Tyler's audience. I would imagine now, as only 3-4% of his subscribers actively engage with his YouTube content, that his audience is a bit older. They've either stuck with him all these years or have come around recently because they find his newer content appealing. But thinking about Tyler in the height of his popularity, thinking about all the mail sent to his PO Box, his Person of the Week spotlight, the questions he was sent for Q and Slay's, and the attendees at book signings and shows, I think it's safe to assume that his core audience used to be (mostly female) pre-teens and teens. Now, I'm not a teenager, and I certainly wasn't one when I was actively watching Tyler's content so I don't mean to say that only teenagers watched Tyler's videos. What I do mean, and what I think is reasonable to assume, is that the majority of his fans were pre-teens and teens.

So, why do I think Tyler crossed the line from trying to make a living to exploitation? I have a two part answer. First, I think he carefully crafted a persona to attract a certain, lucrative, audience, and then marketed a heap of products to that audience. I said it in my first post, and I think it bears repeating, I have no objections to merch. I think merchandise can be a fun expression of a passion or membership in a group. In college, I was a fan of the site homestartrunner.com (not .net) and you had better believe I owned a Strong Bad sweatshirt. People would see it and either get it right away and quote their favorite email ("Everyone is different, no two people are not on fire") or ask about it. So that sweatshirt was a win/win for me as a fan of that niche character. I don't own any Dan and Phil merch, but if they ever sold a shirt that simply said, "It's a horse, Susan!" I'd buy that in a second! But, I'm getting off track. I think merch can be an excellent way to express passion for a content creator or membership in his or her community, but when it's based on a lie, that crosses a line for me.

Second, there's just the sheer number of things he's tried to sell. I'm not sure there's a hard and fast rule for how much #spon is too much, but it became literally every video (often multiple times per video) and since there aren't ad rules in the US like they've got in the UK, he didn't always have to be so explicit about it. Remember that funny story his mom told about dragging him to the Crocs store in NYC? That was a paid sponsorship from Crocs. Tyler talked about it on Psychobabble, about how many times his mom had to practice her little story to make it sound natural. Going back to something I touched on earlier, that sort of duplicitous behavior doesn't sit well with me.

Okay, I'm going to stop here because this post is already far too long and rambling. But let's keep this conversation going, I've really enjoyed reading so many different perspectives on Tyler and his channel.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by Katka » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:47 pm

saffarinda: I completely agree with you that Tyler should not have messaged that person but given the context I kind of see why he did. I still wish he hadn’t though.

sapienveneficus: You made a lot of great points there! I still think it’s possible to outgrow Youtube though and I think Tyler has in a way. At least he’s outgrown what’s popular on Youtube with younger fans. You’re right, back in 2014 he used to have a lot of teenaged fans, mostly young girls and lgbtq kids. I guess some of them have moved on from him and some lost interest because he changed but I’m getting the feeling that a lot of “older” (20s and 30s) fans stuck with him because it’s easier for them to relate to him these days. I’m one of those people, I guess, so my opinion on this is totally subjective, but I feel like a lot of younger people left his fandom once he got a bit more political (he always was but around election time he got way more into it). Tyler isn’t just about the fun stuff anymore and I feel like a lot of Youtube viewers aren’t on the site to watch more serious videos about lgbtq rights and politics.
sapienveneficus wrote:First, I think he carefully crafted a persona to attract a certain, lucrative, audience, and then marketed a heap of products to that audience. I said it in my first post, and I think it bears repeating, I have no objections to merch. I think merchandise can be a fun expression of a passion or membership in a group. [...] I think merch can be an excellent way to express passion for a content creator or membership in his or her community, but when it's based on a lie, that crosses a line for me.
This is a bit of an unpopular opinion but I think everyone on Youtube does exactly that. Even Dan and Phil, who I think are two of the most genuine Youtubers out there at the moment, have developed online personas and they’re also targeting a special group of people. What they don’t do is try and sell us useless stuff which I appreciate but I don’t judge Youtubers who do. Look at Zoella’s quirky sunny online persona and the way she’s used the Zoella brand to market her book and Zoella Beauty to her young fans. Or Connor Franta’s aesthetic thing and the way he’s selling coffee of all things and mix tapes he could have just as well released as Spotify playlists for free (I’m not judging him selling them at all, it’s just meant as an example).

Developing a persona and using it to built a demographic is completely normal on Youtube and I think the big difference is that Tyler has admitted that part of it are lies and others have not, which might have been his mistake. I don’t believe for a second that everything Zoella or Connor are telling us about themselves is true. The thing with Tyler is that he chose to become more transparent and I understand why a lot of people feel like they’ve been lied to. But the thing with Youtube is that nothing is as genuine as it seems and no Youtuber is as close as we think they are. But that’s something many people, especially younger kids, don’t really see until someone goes and makes the wall between viewer and Youtuber visible like Tyler has done. No idea if that was a smart move or not but I think that’s what’s happened here.

The big difference between Tyler and other Youtubers is that he’s decided to tell us when something was fabricated. I don’t know how many times other Youtubers I watch have hidden some subtle spon in their videos by making up an anecdote about the brand. I have no way of knowing if a story they tell is true or not and if Tyler hadn’t told us, we would have no idea the Croc story wasn’t true either. I’m rambling so let’s wrap this up. My point is that I’m convinced most Youtubers do this but they don’t tell us afterwards. Tyler did. If he hadn’t, we wouldn’t even know that it happened. I kind of appreciate this but I also think this kind of honesty is what makes people think he’s a liar and exploits his fans whilst most other Youtubers don’t, even though they’re doing the very same thing, just without owning up to it. Youtubers aren't "kids like us" sitting in their bedrooms filming vlogs anymore, they're entrepreneurs. Some are just more honest about it than others.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by human » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:54 pm

Tyler was one of the first YouTubers I watched and I don't think it's so much that we should give him credit for coming clean and being honest now, I think he just legitimately doesn't care about his channel anymore. He's got a bunch of money, plentiful opportunities to make more for the next while, has a lot of famous friends and just doesn't seem to enjoy creating blogs and whatever anymore.

Which is fine. And that shows in his declining subscribers; people get bored and go elsewhere and he seems cool with that. Good for him, seems to be successful and all that... but I think it's a big loss to the community. Call Tyler fake or whatever all you want but damn he was entertaining and I miss his month of collabs so bad lol.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by LtrllySusan » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:02 pm

I was just lurking and reading some threads on Youtubers I don't really watch but I wanna jump in here quickly: Wow, I did not know he was losing thousands of subs every month. I've checked out some of his collabs previously, mostly the silly stuff and I enjoyed that. Might it be that many consider him a "real" celebrity now, accredited by much more than the internet world, and that makes him a lot less relatable? I would assume a lot of his viewers just want some casual entertainment, some nice (parasocial) interaction and not a whole lot of #spon and real-world-stuff that is beyond their reach.

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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by fondsmiles » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:24 pm

LtrllySusan wrote:I was just lurking and reading some threads on Youtubers I don't really watch but I wanna jump in here quickly: Wow, I did not know he was losing thousands of subs every month. I've checked out some of his collabs previously, mostly the silly stuff and I enjoyed that. Might it be that many consider him a "real" celebrity now, accredited by much more than the internet world, and that makes him a lot less relatable? I would assume a lot of his viewers just want some casual entertainment, some nice (parasocial) interaction and not a whole lot of #spon and real-world-stuff that is beyond their reach.
it has been a big thing for him, yes - both kind of awful and also very funny was when earlier this year loads of people congratulated him on twitter for "almost having 8 million subs", exactly one year after he had actually hit 8 million subs. He'd been dropping for a while, so he'd in fact reached 8 million subs the other way round.
(here's a funny tweet of him acknowledging it; the only time he did ever acknowledge it that I am aware of)
I've been checking his videos for how they are doing for a while now. He's usually always losing subs (and has way less views than before), but with his recent series #ChosenFamily he's been doing much better! he's barely losing, or even gaining subscribers again.
To me that not only warms my heart, but it's also very telling: this series is what he's like now, it's his passions and you can really see how much he enjoys making that content. People who haven't watched him before stumble across him because of it, it gets shared more, and so people start appreciating him for who he is now and what he's doing.

I love love love the series btw, I just watched the newest video and cried my eyes out. It's incredibly touching, beautifully executed, and so important. I am so glad he's doing this, he's changing lives, for sure.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by somethingsketchy » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:48 pm

I just cackled at Tyler's latest video. Great stuff. Also some Phandom favourites are mentioned.
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Re: Tyler Oakley

Post by fondsmiles » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:20 pm

I've been really inactive on the forum so sORRY for just sweeping in for some quick self-promo, but:

Tyler's done his documentary Snervous in 2015, here's a trailer
it's been almost two years and I want to (re-)watch with some peeps on twitter as a #snervousparty. if you want to join in on the fun and livetweet with us, please do! you can also vote here which time would be best for you: hope to see some of you guys over there :)
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