PewDiePie: Social Media Giant
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg was born on the 24th of October 1989 in the city of Gothenburg Sweden. PewDiePie Started Youtubing in 2009 after dropping out of college and being rejected for an internship. His passion was videogames and he desperately wanted to play–and socialize. He had not idea he would or even could make money by playing games, so to pay for his life’s work he decided to sell photoshop art and hotdogs. Yum! surpassing 1,000,000 subscribers in July of 2012, PewDiePie took Youtube by storm. As of August 15th 2013 he has been dubbed the most Subscribed to channel on Youtube with close to 60 million subscriptions to date.
I view PewDiePie as a brand centered on light comedy and genuinity. He has been praised for his down to earth and honest content.This content clearly paid off for this photoshop and hotdog salesman as his net worth has grown to an estimated 12 million dollars. He doesn’t keep all the profits for himself though, he also promotes Indie games that he likes by playing them for his users via live stream. Felix at one point hosted a live stream by the name of “Cringemas” that raised a total of 1.3 million dollars to fight HIV/AIDS! (With sizeable help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
Social Media Presence
PewDiePie is possibly far more advanced in social media exploration than I, and he may be a member of many other platforms that I am unaware of, but to my knowledge he uses Youtube (obviously), Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch. His main outlet being Youtube with 59,935,986 subscribers, then comes Twitter with 14.6 million followers, then instagram with 13.6 million followers, Facebook comes in third with 7,411,863 likes on his page. His Twitch, new as it is, already has over 900,000 subscribers, and as for his Tumblr I cannot figure out how many subscribers he has on there.
In order to achieve the largest social media following possible, celebrities should follow Pewdiepies lead and be active across a wide breadth of social media. The reason being that not everyone is active on every branch of social media. For example I use Facebook, but I don’t use Snapchat, so if there were a celebrity that focussed solely on Snapchat I would not be an achievable audience member.
Analysis and Evaluation
On PewDiePie’s Twitter you will find what I would interpret as his day to day social network how most guys his age use it for. Posting memes and funnies, updating his fans, and responding to questions while all the while keeping his PewDiePie brand intact of course. On the PewDiePie Instagram it appears that he mainly uses the social media outlet to market his clothing and apparel line. Using himself as a model, Felix poses his iconic look cracking a joke here and there. Facebook interestingly enough seems to be an alter-ego of his twitter in a way. Not in the sense that they have the same content in fact, his content seems to be more or less diverse besides his merchandise plugs, but it’s a less used day to day social media account. His posts are spread out (for a social media icon), it is likely he simply prefers Twitter more, or possible he has just accumulated more followers on Twitter and so he puts more effort into that outlet.
PewDiePie’s Youtube career is one of great grandeur and great scrutiny. He has done and said things on his Youtube channel that have inflamed many voices of disapproval including Disney, who are the owners of the company that Felix was signed with, Maker Studios. After Felix went on screen in full Nazi uniform with A Hitler speech in the background no matter the context, Disney probably felt they needed to drop this guy yesterday. However that’s the thing, they already had dropped PewDiePie the day before because of an article they read in The Wall Street Journal stating he was an anti-semitic. The reason for his video in Nazi uniform was to satirize the ridiculousness of the notion that he was anti-semitic. Some may find that extremely inflammatory, however that is the form of comedy that appeals to PewDiePie’s audience (shock comedy). Having read the article, and watched the videos they reference myself I can tell that there are many statements taken out of context in order to smear PewDiePie as a bad person.
There is no denying that Felix is vulgar and sometimes takes his language too far on his live streams to the point where people feel the need to point it out, but in my perspective PewDiePie is no more vulgar than what is on television already. PewDiePie took a large hit from Maker Studios dropping them. Thay had been in the works of creating a tertiary network specifically for PewDiePie, and that plan was promptly cancelled. Since the PewDiePie has done some scrubbing up, he has made public statements apologizing for and admitting his mistakes by inflaming the public eye. He has even made statements that he intends to not use certain curse words as they do not appeal to his audience. Felix has even gone as far as to remove a large number of videos using profanity or inflammatory remarks, although once it is on the internet it is there to stay, and 59 million people are watching PewDiePie so I’m sure you can find them somewhere if your are determined enough. Sometimes it is not so simple. There have been complaints from the community about his profanity during live streams.
Commendations and Recommendations
PewDiePie does deserve alot of credit for his fame. Many view Internet celebrities to be lucky, devoid of much talent, basically posting the right video at the right time. This is true for some sensationalized viral contents, but not PewDiePie. Over the 9 year span of his Youtube career Felix excelled in audience outreach, personal branding (i.e.: naming his following the BroArmy, and the way he purposely spells and says words wrong A.K.A. internet slang or “meme speak”) allows him to connect with his audience through audio and visual cues. This also creates a feeling of kinship between himself and his fans as well as a way for fans of PewDiePie to connect with each other. PewDiePie also deserves recognition for all of the fire his channel has taken recently from the gatekeepers (in this case Youtube, Disney, Makers Studios, etc…) for his content some would find distasteful. In a mediascape that is rapidly changing day by day there is a reason no one on Youtube has as many followers as PewDiePie, and that is because it is extremely difficult to stay relevant. Keeping your audience interested is arguably the most important aspect of creating content, and in order to keep you audience’s interest there needs to be conflict of some sort. Children’s movies have villains capable of doing indescribably horrible things, whereas PewDiePie has a tendency to swear sometimes and make an offensive joke. Without the conflict there would be no giant following. If PewDiePie decided to cease playing call of duty and instead decided to from then on only stream videos of him playing minecraft on peaceful mode he would lose his amassed following in a matter of months.
My honest opinion on PewDiePie is not a positive one surprisingly. I find the mannerisms and the tone of his voice headache-inducing. That is not to say that I do not respect him for all the work he has done in the video gaming community as he had a profound influence on the videogame landscape today. My best advice for PewDiePie would be to keep the original direction of his channel, and not to sway to the powers that be. Profanity has an appropriate time and a place, but we are not watching these videos in school or at work, we are watching them at home and are responsible for our own actions and our own children. The fact of the matter is that some of the content PewDiePie releases that a select few find inflammatory, others find to be what makes his channel unique and relatable. If I were Felix I might even go a step farther and openly state I will not change my content for the benefit of larger companies trying to have my content conformed to their vision.
PewDiePie’s Youtube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-lHJZR3Gqxm24_Vd_AJ5Yw
PewDiePie’s Instagram Page- https://www.instagram.com/pewdiepie/
PewDiePie’s Twitter Page- https://twitter.com/pewdiepie
PewDiePie’s Twitch- https://www.twitch.tv/pewdiepie
PewDiePie’s Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/PewDiePie/
Video Credit: Wall Street Journal- https://www.wsj.com
PewDiePie’s Youtube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-lHJZR3Gqxm24_Vd_AJ5Yw