Defined by the play button

How YouTube influences the student body


Photo by Photo used with permission of Alex Kiesel

YouTuber Alex Kiesel, senior, in front of his video filming set up. Kiesel has been making videos throughout his high school career and does not plan on stopping anytime soon.

Ruby Lueras, Secretary

February 14th, 2005- the fateful day the video-sharing site, Youtube, was born.

Since the years that have followed, YouTube has impacted the lives of many- whether it is creators, who produce content or consumers who watch the content. One local YouTuber, senior Alex Kiesel, who is known as “Ish13c” on YouTube, says the website has impacted his life in many ways and is now something that defines him as a person.

Kiesels channel now has around 55,000 subscribers and he ranges from 500-1,000 views per video. According to Kiesel, without his channel he would have been completely different.

“All people have one thing they are known for. Athletes are known for being good at their sport. Musicians are known for being good at their instrument. In my friend group, and in my family, I am known as the YouTuber,” Kiesel said. “My channel also serves as a great small-talk topic, especially if I’m talking to my cousins who I only get to see about once every two months. I am terrible at small-talk, but if they ask me about my channel, that’s a topic I can go off on.”

YouTube has given him a strong sense of self as well as teaching him valuable skills that have translated directly into his own personal life. From mundane tasks: public speaking and script writing, to more obscure tasks: reading through contracts.

“All of those skills have seeped into my everyday life in many, many ways. I’ve used my equipment to record and edit more than 20 different videos for school projects,” Kieslel said. “It’s fair to say that YouTube has helped me a lot. If anyone reading this is thinking of making YouTube videos, do it. You never really know what you will learn and how you will use what you learn, and that’s the fun part.”

The original purpose of his channel, however, was to have fun with friends. Although he no longer makes the same type of content he did when he started, he still tries to have fun with his channel, according to Kiesel. 

“I started around five to six years ago basically just to have fun and to make something that others can watch or enjoy,” Kiesel said. “It was fun to make content that could potentially provide entertainment for other people, and if no one else watched it, at least I was having fun.”

Most of the people who spend time on the website are viewers, not content creators. One viewer, Bella Brunke, junior, says that growing up watching specific YouTubers have helped shape her into the person she is today. 

“The first YouTuber I watched was Smosh, I liked how stupid and funny they were. YouTubers like them definitely shaped a lot of my humor growing up,” Brunke said. “Specific YouTubers have shaped bits of my personality and [have] shaped the kind of content I find entertaining.”

According to Brunke, she is more inclined to trust YouTubers opinions and recommendations more so than your typical TV star. Therefore, YouTubers often influence the small decisions she makes in life, Brunke said.

“I watch a variety of different YouTubers now that [for example] will recommend a specific clothing website, a TV series or a book to read,” Brunke said. “For me, I just trust them more. They’re less like celebrities and in a way they feel closer. They’re just one person, not a huge company behind a person.”

Kiesel said that YouTubers have the ability to form a connection with their audience that other celebrities and leaders can not. 

“YouTubers have a large influence over the actions and thoughts of their fanbase. YouTube is special because influencers on the website have a lot more freedom to choose the products they want to sell and the type of content they want to make,” Kiesel said. “There is no production team, no camera crew, and no publicists lurking over your shoulder, at least not for the majority of YouTubers. Content creators form a truly unique bond with their audience which allows them to convey their opinions a lot more effectively.”