The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

CGMS – Celebrities Unleashed

Gabrielle Smith (CMF Newsletter Editor) reports on a session at the Children's Global Media Summit 2017 in Manchester

Celebrities Unleashed – Entertainment Panel

Wednesday 6 December 2018

What will entertain kids in the future? As many find fame in the unlimited online world, the trajectory of a successful YouTube career can often mean big things - this panel took a closer look at a newly emerging celebrity culture. Hosted by Ricky Boleto from CBBCs Newsround, he was also joined in discussion with Tom Fletcher (musician, author and vlogger), Lisa Filipelli (Founder, Flip Management) and British YouTuber, Oli White, talked about the impact of social media and a growing celebrity status for a different audience.

Aside from the instant gratification of getting likes, money and fame – it seemed unanimous amongst the speakers that authenticity is key. Lisa Filipelli explained that by ‘just being yourself’ audiences are engaged with what YouTubers have to offer. Of course, structuring original content and winning over subscribers is no cakewalk, but rather a process that needs to be planned carefully. Although there is no end to the joy in what is for some a very lucrative hobby, you do need to have a reason to vlog insisted Oli White, who as a young boy dreamt of one day being a kids' TV presenter. When the platform began to fund original channels, the structure and format of Oli’s videos changed. But with this came the pressure to create and to keep hold of his audience.

Tom Fletcher began using YouTube as a creative way to stay in touch with his sister, making diary videos, editing them himself and then posting his entries online. He realised early on that, ‘YouTube was an amazing way and place to support everything else’ that he was doing. Like Oli, he too uses the platform primarily for fun, but as a way of giving the viewer a snapshot of his daily life behind the scenes. With a platform that is constantly changing, the audience is hyper-aware of the filter between the YouTubers, the viewer and real life. Ricky Boleto put it to the panel that through portraying a ‘better version of yourself – kids at home are watching… But what are the messages for young people?’

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