Who is the real ‘You’ in YouTube?

By Christopher Carr

Recently one of my friends and I had been talking about starting up a YouTube channel and we joked about becoming famous for our comedy antics (believe me, tinfoil man is so much funnier after a couple of bottles of wine). However regardless of drunken conversations and skypes, where I may or may not have covered my head in tinfoil, over the summer break I was ardent about applying for an internship with the sociology department. I felt the experience would be so valuable for further study and future research; it would also be the perfect opportunity to gain professional experience with a lecturer in a field that interests me, plus the extra money would set me with tinfoil for life. Continue reading

The Existential Dimensions of the Creative Economy: Insights from a re-reading of Kierkegaard

Daniel R. Smith

The creative industries have a strong socialist thread within them. Or so the story goes. Much of the literature on the communism of capital, in various spheres, stresses the communality of acts of production: value is made out of a common collaboration, a community of productive activities which is both the beginning and end of the social life of the community (e.g. Negri, 2011). Yet while this argument is, theoretically, very compelling I can’t help but notice that those in the creative economies don’t themselves articulate the communism of capital. Instead they remain stuck between a claim to the communality of the industry and the capitalist realities they remain positioned within. One case in point is YouTube. Continue reading

Charlie is so ‘English’-like: nationality and the branded celebrity person in the age of YouTube

Charlie is so ‘English’-like: nationality and the branded celebrity person in the age of YouTube

The YouTube celebrity is a novel social phenomenon. YouTube celebrities have implications for the social and cultural study of celebrity more generally, but in order to illustrate the features of vlogging celebrity and its wider dimensions this article focuses upon one case study – Charlie McDonnell and his video ‘How to be English’. The premise of YouTube – ‘Broadcast yourself’ – begs the question ‘but what self?’. The article argues that the YouTube celebrity is able to construct a celebrity persona by appealing to aspects of identity, such as nationality, and using them as a mask(s) to perform with. By situating Charlie’s ‘How to be English’ in the context of establishing celebrity, the article argues that the processes of celebrification and ‘self-branding’ utilise the power of identity myths to help assist the construction of a celebrity persona. Use of masks and myths allows for one to develop various aspects of their persona into personas. One such persona for Charlie is his ‘Englishness’. As the social experience of ‘Broadcasting yourself’ necessarily asks one to turn ordinary aspects of their person into extra-ordinary qualities, Charlie’s use of Englishness allows ‘being English’ to become a mythological device to overcome the problem of ‘self-promotion’.


– Daniel Smith.

Wallace’s Found Drama and the (re)fusion of narrative in YouTube vlogging communities

Daniel R. Smith

As I have outlined in an earlier post, the YouTube community associated with the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, have heard from David Foster Wallace on many occasion. Being somewhat of a literary hero of (fellow novelist) John Green, the YouTube community have learnt from Wallace’s novels even if they’ve have never had the pleasure of reading him directly. As stated in my previous post, there is good reason for Wallace being something of an icon for VlogBrother John Green and YouTube vlogging communities more generally. Continue reading

Numerical Isolation as the Tragic core of Video-Blogging

Daniel R. Smith


Recently I have been thinking more about tragedy as an art-form, how the individual is portrayed in a tragic light, and whether we may apply the analysis of tragedy, as undertaken by classicists and philosophers, to the our own ‘age’. To the age of YouTube. One way into this has been the work of Soren Kierkegaard and I think a short explication of this research line can be demonstrated here.

To video blog is to do something that marks the individual out as a distinctly modern subject: to assert themselves as individuals and gain their individuality, to mark themselves out from others, to not be isolated and alone, they in fact require isolation to achieve their own exhibition. Continue reading