Ask any 14 year-old who Zoella or PewdiePie are, and 90% would know. Ask my Grandmother who they are, and she would ask if they are an All Black or a movie star.
They are neither, but they are Team Internet royalty. You only have to Google them to see the extent of their internet empire.
Team Internet really is a thing now. Vloggers (video bloggers) are fast becoming a huge thing. So are beauty gurus and people who video themselves phoning their mum to tell her they’ve been arrested as a prank.
YouTubers can get thousands and thousands of view a day, and thousands and thousands of dollars from it too. Team Internet is made up of people who have made a career out of putting their lives on the internet. They can make millions just from posting a video a week.
To start out though, you need to be skilled with a camera, have good editing skills and a fairly good knowledge of social media. But the thing is for most of these YouTubers; everything is free. You don’t even have to leave your house. Super famous YouTuber Zoella has well over 10 million subscribers, and over 8 million followers on Instagram. That’s the population of New Zealand twice.
Zoella started out as a beauty guru, posting videos of herself putting make up on her face. Now she has two books, a huge beauty range, and two super successful channels on YouTube. She also owns a house that is worth $3m in New Zealand dollars.
But like Zoella and most of Team Internet, local YouTuber/Journalist Jeremy Smith didn’t set out to gain lots of followers, or fame and fortune. He just wants to do it as a hobby, and enjoys the challenge of uploading everyday. His friend Ben, who he originally started his channel with, has helped to keep him motivated.
“Videos are so engaging with people these days, particularly those of our age.” Jeremy says.
He says as a Journalist, having the skill of being able to work a camera, and editing software, always comes in handy. He would love to be able to try out a drone one day, as he advances his video skills.
Workwise now he is just “floating” do a bit of everything. “I left being a journalist about 18 months ago, so I wanted use YouTube to keep the skills sharp.”
Jeremy posts small videos a day, from artistic time lapses of his hometown Cambridge, to challenges, or just general chats.
“I like seeing what I can do, in normal environments, like walking down the street. I like the wow factor where ordinary can become pretty cool.”
Jeremy set himself the goal to make a video of some shape everyday this year, purely to keep his skills and keep developing a love for videos. He mostly enjoys shooting random little bits of his life.
“I wanted to see what I could do.” Jeremy says.
Jeremy and Ben originally started with a channel they just “dumped” stuff on. He films on his iPhone, because he doesn’t think it’s the equipment you use, he thinks its what you can do with it.
A highlight so far would have been when the riders from the Red Bull Ride were in town recently, and Jeremy got to shoot them riding in a local BMX rider’s backyard.
“I’ve had some cool opportunities from doing YouTube, because people know that you have those skills.”
YouTube seems to provide a lot of opportunities. As most people will know, the nightlife in Hamilton is a rather large scene and is definitely a popular place to be.
Leighton Clarke has capitalized on this, working as a photographer/videographer in many of the popular clubs, which has lead to him having big breaks with large events in Auckland.
With three thousand likes on his Facebook page, Leighton’s Life, he’s becoming a familiar face around Hamilton.
Along with this, he set himself the challenge of making a video a day, for 366 days of this year, and his since of humor and fun personality have appealed to many of his viewers. And as Leighton has found out through his work on the Hamilton clubbing scene, people love it when they can be spotted in his videos.
Leighton and his partner Kayla both enjoy making YouTube videos and credit their friends and subscribers as their motivation to keep going.
“It means a lot to me to have a following, your subscribers are key, without them I’m stuck. I don’t know how I’ve managed to keep posting everyday.” Leighton says. “I actually got into making YouTube videos because of Kayla. I saw her one day put her phone up on the window sill and record. It is still on her YouTube to date actually. So she was my inspiration.”
Leighton is also inspired by famous YouTuber Casey Neistat, who is known for his short films and creative videos, which has earned him over 3 million subscribers.
“I just wanted to make a video everyday and it just kind of happened.” Leighton says.
Another part of Team Internet that is fast becoming the most popular job out there, would be the good old beauty guru. Many YouTube beauty gurus started out like Zoella, just putting on make up in front of a camera, but now many of them own their own beauty lines, and are rich beyond their wildest dreams.
A good example of this is Kiwi beauty guru Shaaanxo. Shannon Harris, aka. Shaaanxo, started making YouTube videos as a creative outlet whilst she was studying and working in a deli.
Now she has her own brush and eyelash line, and has collaborated with massive make up brands to create her own make up, all because of YouTube. Shannon has nearly 3 million subscribers on YouTube and she doesn’t even have to leave her house.
Being a beauty guru is every teen girls dream, with thousands of beauty videos being uploaded to YouTube everyday. To make it big in the beauty world though, you need to be fairly skilled and at least know how to apply fake eyelashes.
Kayla Watts is pursuing the beauty guru dream, and her passion for it is obvious.
“Makeup has always been a passion of mine. I always had questions from my friends like “how do you do your eye makeup like that?” So I decided to show them using videos.”
For now, Kayla and Leighton are just normal people, with normal jobs. When they aren’t recording themselves and putting it on the internet for fun, Kayla is a retail manager and Leighton works at Countdown.
While Leighton and Kayla might not yet be Hamilton’s answer to Shaaanxo and her boyfriend and fellow Vlogger Hamish Kennard, the future looks promising.
“It’s definitely more of a hobby for me, however if it turned into a career later down the track I wouldn’t be disappointed!” Kayla says.
“It would be dope as if I could do it as a job, but right now it is a hobby, I love it so much. However, like Kayla said it wouldn’t be a disappointment if it become a job in the future.” Leighton agrees.
But as most people who have attempted YouTube would know, its quite hard to make a career out of it. Whilst both Kayla and Leighton don’t make enough money off YouTube to live off it yet, they both think it would be cool if they could one days. But for now, it will stay a hobby.
“It all depends on your view count and adds.” Leighton says. “I would have to be getting a couple of thousand views per video to notice but yeah.”
However, Jeremy, Kayla and Leighton all agree, if you set out to make yourself famous on YouTube, or you’re just doing it to make money, it’s not the right way to do it. Passion and drive is a must.
“You don’t want to go down the sell-out path.” Jeremy says.
The main thing that is obvious with YouTubers, especially the ones who work jobs as well, like Jeremy, Kayla and Leighton, is their dedication to what they do.
Their commitment to uploading and making new content is admirable, as well as being able to juggle jobs and life in general. It’s a great time management skill to have and their enthusiasm for their hobby is obvious throughout.
Whilst New Zealand might not produce as many famous YouTubers as America and the UK, the love for YouTube is obvious and the passion for their hobby is amazing.
People are becoming more and more open with their lives and Team Internet is fast taking over. But after all, as these awesome local YouTubers have shown, its not about the money, its about the passion.
And as Jeremy says; “Anyone can do it.”