YouTube is a very personal way to interact with your fanbase, allowing them to both see and hear you. The videos can be accessed through YouTube, and through links to the video posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or a traditional blog, therefore reaching your YA readership in a widespread, effective manner.
Vlogs are “video blogs” through which the creator makes regular video postings – they are blog posts in video format. This is a popular blogging format among young adults that is effective as the blogging aspect keeps fans returning to your YouTube channel on a regular basis.
- More personable- video allows audience to see your face and hear your voice (more personable connection)
- Allows for commenting
- More tech-heavy than other sites. Need some knowledge of recording a video, uploading to the website
- Video only, can’t communicate effectively with images and text
- Can’t moderate comments, potential backlash in the comments
Young Adults & YouTube
Not many YA authors utilize this video site to its full potential. YouTube, and specifically vlogs, have the ability to create a personal connection with young adults on topics outside the books. Libraries could use them to promote library events for young adults. John Green is an example of utilizing YouTube to the best of its abilities.
YouTube is where John Green established his sincere online presence early in his career. The sincerity comes from the motivation for his YouTube channel. The Vlogbrothers channel is co-run by John and his brother Hank, originally established as a way for them to communicate weekly(“Vlogbrothers”). The topics are not focused on book promotion, but on “Raising nerdy to the power of awesome” (“Vlogbrothers”). This includes promotion of other YA novels, authors, and participation in multiple fandoms that many young adults are also part of, such as Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Trek, etc. The vlogs demonstrate through humour and often song, that they are members of those fandoms. They also use the platform to promote charities and the discussion of social, political, and environmental issues, engaging young adults to join the conversations. For an example, watch this Vlogbrothers FAQ video “How to be a Nerdfighter“:
It demonstrates how Green interacts with his fans by answering their questions (in a humourous way) . By creating the community of Nerdfighters with Hank, Green has given his fanbase an identity, and a group where you are encouraged to be yourself, and where everyone is awesome. John Green has successfully used this social media outlet to create a relationship with young adults.
“Their discourse is so effective because the Green brothers are confident of their audience’s intelligence.” (Allison)
However, if YA authors decide video is not for them, there are other effective ways that YouTube can enhance an author’s connection with their young adult readership, such as interviews posted on the site from other sources. As an author, you can then have that video link on your professional website or any social media outlet if you so choose. For example, author Rainbow Rowell does not have a YouTube channel, but there are posted videos of her at different events and book promotions. She also participated in an episode of a Google Play channel, making her an active participant in the YouTube YA culture without needing her own channel or vlog. Within YA lit and social media culture, many young adults make fan videos of their favourite books. These can be review-based vlogs, book trailers, or simply videos about their favourite character.
Eoin Colfer, author of the wonderful Artemis Fowl series, is an example of not using YouTube to the best of its ability to connect with young adults. As you can see from his YouTube channel, he has posted 4 videos over a span of one year. His videos are not frequent enough to sustain the interest of potential viewers. They are not personable videos such as Rowell’s or Green’s, and his most recent post is blocked due to copyright issues. Without frequency, humour, good site appearance or a sincere effort to maintain the channel, Eoin Colfer’s official YouTube channel is not a successful example of social media in YA lit culture.