This has been a bit of a controversial issue recently, what with the release of Girl Online, The Pointless Book, and the Band Aid 30 video. It’s not an issue that there’s one right or wrong answer to, and everyone has extremely varied opinions on it. I’ve decided to share my opinion on this topic, as it’s something quite interesting and relevent to many people today, who watch these youtubers and buy these products, me included.
Youtubing is quite a recent phenomenon, and the fame that comes with being a successful youtuber is even more recent. Most of these youtubers are incredibly hardworking and dedicated – Tanya Burr, Tyler Oakley and Colleen Ballinger to name a few, and I really enjoy watching their videos. These youtubers are being given tickets to premiers, offered recording contracts and books deals and launching beauty ranges among other things. I’m not against this it the cases where it’s relevant to what they do, such as Tanya Burr launching Tanya Burr Cosmetics, as she has a beauty channel. What I am against, however, is these youtubers selling out and putting their name on anything that will earn them money and fame.
When I first heard about Girl, Online it annoyed me a little bit, but I didn’t really mind it that much. Yes, Zoella got a book deal because she had a big fanbase, but then she went and wrote a book, so she deserves some recognition for her hard work, right? Wrong. This bestselling book was, in fact “helped” by another writer, but of course that’s fine and justified because she came up with the characters. At first I was under the impression that this was an autobiographical novel, and it didn’t even bother me that much that it was ghostwritten. After all, many celebrities publish “autobiographies” that weren’t written by them. It didn’t even bother me that much when I discovered that this is a novel with her name on it that she didn’t even write. What bothered me about all of this was when this novel broke records set by J.K.Rowling, proper literature, when Zoella didn’t even write it.
I’ve seen people defending Zoella in all of this and saying “most singers don’t write their own songs” or “this is the age we live in”, but my response to this is that most singers who are known and loved nowadays actually do write their own songs, and those who don’t still need to be able to sing and perform well. Ghostwriting, in my opinion is a completely different issue to this. A singer who sings someone elses song doesn’t take credit for that song, they simply take credit for performing it, where this credit is due. However, people who have ghostwriters are taking credit for someone else’s writing, which I don’t think should be ok. The biggest contribution that someone using a ghostwriter makes is a name which they’ve made from doing something completely unrelated.
Of course, Zoella isn’t the only recent example of ghostwriting – only months ago the Jenners released “Rebels: City of Indra”, for no other reason than they could. They learned off a paragraph about how it was a “dostopian sci-fi novel”, and then basically used their following to sell it. This new phenomenon amongst celebrities raises a question of principles – should it be a possibility, simply because these people are famous, to sell out and put their name on anything they want? I don’t have a problem if it’s their own work, but if it’s not I don’t think it’s ok.
The bottom line here is money. Did these vloggers always dream of releasing books, going to premiers, releasing candles, bubble baths and even pencils with their names on them? Probably not. They were attracted by the bright lights of fame and money. To me, this seems to defeat the purposes of blogging and vlogging – the real element of these vloggers that people know and trust is becoming less and less real, as they sell out and turn into “celebrities.”
I’m not saying that mine is the only opinion – of course it’s not, and I’m willing to see other points here. I’m not hating either, and I hopr this hasn’t come off as a rant. I simply wonder if this is a good direction for society as a whole to go in, where fame means selling anything using your name and vloggers can break records and sell books that they didn’t write simply because they have a huge amount of youtube followers.
What is your opinion of the youtuber phenomenon? Will you be picking up a copy of Girl online?