Sunday, October 20, 2013

Who Wants to Be a YouTube Celebrity?

Are you a YouTube celebrity? How do you answer this question? Does it depend on the number of videos you post? How many subscribers you have? Your all-time page views? It was in 2006 when I first signed up for a YouTube account. That was almost the same time when the likes of kevjumba and nigahiga were just starting. YouTube celebrities were mostly dominated by Asians, with happyslip becoming some sort of de facto representation for Filipino-Americans, and yes maybe Filipinos as a whole. It was very clear back then that if you wanted to make it big on YouTube, you had to be either good-looking or really talented. You get plus points if you happen to be really entertaining.
Singers who got “discovered” through YouTube would prove the latter theory. As for the former, you only have to find some users who upload videos doing nothing really interesting, but still racking up views. I remember one Japanese girl who would upload videos with her just staring at the camera for two minutes every time, but since she is a looker, a thousand views was almost always a guarantee. Because I knew very well that I fell in neither category, I convinced myself to keep the channel just for the sake of having one. Hey, I had a MySpace account back then and I did not deactivate it even if I only had four friends. Years later, I stumbled upon videos of several polyglots, the likes of Félix Wang, Amir Ordabayev, Luca Lampariello, and Richard Simcott. For a moment there I thought, hey, maybe I could do that too!
My obsession with languages never really stopped since I began learning Spanish in 2003. I have added several languages along the way, not really getting proficient in them but still learning just for fun. I guess what I was afraid of the most was the backlash that I'd get. YouTube is not a very nice place, you see. It is teeming with trolls that will rip you apart if you allow them to. But then I realized what the heck? I am not doing a crime here. Besides, all I wanted was to attract enough native speakers to correct every grammar mistake I was bound to make in that video. And so I uploaded a 10-minute multilingual video on my birthday that year, not really expecting any feedback. I just had to get it out there. Whatever happened after that, I would no longer give a damn.

Watching the very first video you uploaded slowly get recognition is rather amusing. There is that excitement of wanting to go online every half hour just to check if there is a new comment or if more views have been added. I must admit that I was a bit overwhelmed. I told myself that the video would be a success if it gets at least 100 views. I think I got triple that target after a few days. To date, the said video has 8,000 views and counting. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve reached my goal. Despite being my most viewed language video, this one actually ranks just seventh overall. I currently have 235 videos on my YouTube channel, one of which was brought down because of some copyright claim. Reviewing my channel statistics this week out of curiosity, I found out that 50 of these videos have exceeded 1,000 views so far, which make up the bulk of the 300,000+ overall views I have collected since I became active back in 2009. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Somehow, I feel like I cheated most of my subscribers, though. My channel started out as an avenue for practicing my languages. In fact, the language videos have been the ones to enjoy popularity in terms of views during the first few years. But then, the travel bug bit me and I decided to add very boring travelogues, which were then followed by extreme videos I filmed riding roller coasters and zip lines. The roller coaster videos have proven to be quite  popular, with 13 of them making it to the Top 50.
I would not call myself a YouTube celebrity because I simply am not. I am just some guy who signed up for a YouTube channel and uploaded memories from various points of his life so he could watch it years or decades later as some form of entertainment. I am thankful, though, because through this medium I was able to meet many like-minded individuals who share the same passion that I do. Even my online job which I have been doing for two years now, yes, I got it because of that multilingual video. It is just one of the many things that I am thankful for and which always reminds me to heave a sigh of relief that on that boring day in 2006, I signed up for a YouTube account.

As of 20 October 2013, 14:30 GMT+8

(1) 47,400 - HONG KONG: Ocean Park

(2) 24,996 - SELANGOR:  Sunway Lagoon
(3) 17,408 - ROLLER COASTER: Battlestar Galactica, Universal Studios

(4) 10,693 - ROLLER COASTER: The Lost City of Gold, Sunway Lagoon
(5) 10,683 - CAGAYAN: Anguib Beach
(6) 09,960 - ROLLER COASTER: Space Shuttle, Enchanted Kingdom
(7) 08,020 - MULTILINGUAL: I Want to Be a Polyglot
(8) 07,614 - ILOCOS NORTE: Pagudpud
(9) 07,520 - ROLLER COASTER: Dragon, Ocean Park

(10) 06,641 - ROLLER COASTER: Roller Skater, Enchanted Kingdom
(11) 06,382 - SABAH: Manukan Island
(12) 06,314 - SOUTHERN LEYTE: Agas-Agas Bridge + Maasin
(13) 06,151 - LEYTE: Canigao Island
(14) 06,117 - ROLLER COASTER: Supersonic Odyssey, Berjaya Times Square

(15) 05,186 - TAGALOG: Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba?
(16) 04,919 - ROLLER COASTER: T Express, Everland
(17) 04,882 - ENGLISH: My Language Learning Problems
(18) 04,709 - ZIPLINE: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
(19) 03,947 - SPANISH: De verdad, todo fue por envidia
(20) 03,668 - BUKIDNON: Dahilayan Adventure Park
(21) 03,045 - PORTUGUESE: Você é advogado, você é legal
(22) 03,030 - ROLLER COASTER: Hollywood Dream, Universal Studios

(23) 02,856 - CAGAYAN: Callao Cave
(24) 02,729 - ITALIAN: Sei bellissima, Jenny
(25) 02,697 - ROLLERCOASTER: Takabisha, Fuji-Q Highlands
(26) 02,600 - ROLLER COASTER: Cyclone, Genting
(27) 02,440 - MISAMIS ORIENTAL: Mapawa Nature Park & Malasag Eco Village
(28) 02,375 - SABAH: Sapi Island
(29) 02,359 - ROLLER COASTER: Dragon Coaster, Everland
(30) 02,310 - NORTHERN SAMAR: Oson Beach and Parola
(31) 02,309 - ROLLER COASTER: Buffalo Bill Coaster, Sunway Lagoon
(32) 02,068 - JAKARTA: Ancol Dreamland

(33) 01,990 - SINGAPORE: Chinatown + Orchard + Clark Quay
(34) 01,989 - OCCIDENTAL MINDORO: Pandan Island
(35) 01,922 - FRENCH: Touche-à-tout et bon à rien
(36) 01,843 - BEIJING: Beijing Zoo
(37) 01,792 - GERMAN: Prosit Neujahr

(38) 01,776 - SEOUL: Buying and Refund of Metro Tickets
(39) 01,694 - ROLLERCOASTER: Eejanaika, Fuji-Q Highlands
(40) 01,645 - SEOUL: Insadong
(41) 01,436 - SABAH: Brunei through Labuan by Ferry
(42) 01,528 - ULAANBAATAR: What to See in UB
(43) 01,378 - MISAMIS ORIENTAL: Jatico Adventure Park
(44) 01,358 - BATANES: Basco
(45) 01,179 - ROLLER COASTER: Flying Coaster, Genting
(46) 01,046 - SINGAPORE: Marina Bay Sands + Universal Studios
(47) 01,040 - ULAANAATAR: Zaisan Hill + Buddha Park
(48) 01,024 - TOKYO: Harajuku Shopping + Roppongi Halloween
(49) 01,022 - PALAWAN: Coron
(50) 01,007 - QUEZON: Pahiyas Festival

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