Are YouTubers worse than reality TV stars

Zeitgeist

How credible are the stars on Instagram, Youtube & Co.?

Whether beauty queen, gamer or vlogger - many Youtubers, Instagramers and snapper have long since become cult figures for their target group. But how much truth is there in their stories? And is authenticity a recipe for success at all - or is everything staged in the end? Seven insights from three internet stars.

From Susanne Hamann

Most viewers have long known that so-called “reality shows” on TV don't really have anything to do with reality. "Scripted reality" is the name of TV shows such as "Frauentausch" and "Attention Control", in which the actors pretend that all reactions are spontaneous, but in fact they are staged with care.

To hear how much authenticity can be expected from the creators on Youtube, Snapchat and Instagram, numerous visitors flocked to the session of Youtuber Christoph Krachten. The video maker became famous for his online show “Clixoom”, in which he asks stars many personal questions, for example. He had brought a similar format with him for the re: publica, but not for music or Hollywood celebrities, but for three big netizens. The seven most important findings:

  1. On Youtube it is the length of stay that counts, not the subscribers: "The really important currency on Youtube are the clicks and the length of time spent on the videos, not the number of subscribers," says Mirko Drotschmann alias "MrWissen2Go" on Youtube. The reason for this is that it has long been more than just current videos that get clicks. Even his five-year-old videos are still found thanks to Google and the internal YouTube search and account for 49 percent of his clicks. "These videos are totally badly made and way too long, but because they are about history, they can still be found today." People like the content, watch other videos on the channel and end up subscribing to it too.
  2. Fibbling does not scratch the authenticity: But how much truth is there in the videos and images that are posted on the web? “I couldn't post a photo until three months later. If it has a location, the users wouldn't notice it anyway, ”says Manniac, who with 270,000 subscribers is one of the most successful Youtubers and Instagramers in Germany. What he means by that: Social media makers are storytellers too. According to Manniac, it is important that the message is right. For this, however, images or videos do not always have to be exactly the truth.
  3. You shouldn't overestimate the viewer: “I don't give a shit what other people think of my snaps,” says Duygu Gezen, snapper and first social media volunteer for ARD, when asked whether it would be bad for her if her snaps were not well received by the audience. "I know a lot of people say, 'I just do this for myself," but I really only do it for myself. "Drotschmann and Manniac agreed with the violent approval. Everyone agrees: one shouldn't take criticism from viewers too seriously. You have to set topics that are important to you, that suit you. Only then can you do it well - and be authentic.
  4. Demand determines supply: But even if it is important to stay true to your line, whoever makes online videos and the like successfully, may have a fan base. And when has questions, it is important to answer. "When the big drama about Böhmermann came up, many asked me for an explanatory video," says Drotschmann. "I then sat down on vacation with a sunburn and did that." The video did not meet the usual standards of "MrWissen2Go". Even so, it got over 300,000 clicks within two weeks.
  5. Emotions and empathy always win: The fact that videos that are not absolutely brilliant can also work because the maker is already known. But it could also be because the story is good. Or even better: That the person behind the story works. "I'm excited about real stories on social media and YouTube," says Snapperin Gezen, expressing why millions of young people on YouTube and Instagram want to know how someone can cope with love problems, how to lose weight or how one can perhaps classify current world events .
  6. Real journalism and YouTube are mutually exclusive: No other German is as successful with Youtube news as LeFloid. He was even allowed to interview Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to Drotschmann, however, ultimately not to take everything seriously: “There will never be real independent journalism on YouTube,” he says. The reason: If you want to earn money with the platform, you have to tag your videos. However, many, many, many keywords are programmed in such a way that they prevent advertising from being played before the video. If a video is tagged with "Islam", no advertisements will be displayed, even if it is an explanatory video about world religions. And: no advertising, no money.
  7. Youtube and social media should be done for fun: Of the four online creators on the re: publica stage, only two earn money from what they do. Gezen and Drotschmann also have other jobs. A situation they consider the most important recipe for authenticity. "It helps extremely if you don't have to rely on making money with YouTube," says Drotschmann and Gezen agrees. Only those who snap, produce online videos or maintain their Instagram account at the end of the day, just for fun and because they want certain topics, have the freedom to really stick to themselves.