The memedia age is here. What is memedia? It is the phenomenon wherein people independently make and share videos online. These videos can cover themes such as games, cooking, beauty—whatever illustrates the creator’s strong individuality. Many people have used YouTube to share their videos, resulting in the birth of the new term “Youtuber” to describe them. Of memedia videos, those about beauty are some of the hottest. Hanbyul is an popular fashion and beauty Youtuber. “I started to make and share video because I like clothes and cosmetics. I found that media can communicate with people more deeply than blogs. In the meantime, I heard about YouTube, and finally decided to become a YouTube creator,” she says. She defines a YouTube creator as someone who “sells one’s charm.” YouTube makes infinite charm available. Anyone can be a YouTube creator, because everyone has their own unique charm. This is the YouTube creator’s biggest advantage.
One of Hanbyul’s hit videos introduces COSRX’s “Pimple Pad.” According to COSRX, its sales doubled because of her video. She said, “When I hear that some brand’s sales rise because of my video, I think my subscribers are really great. What I do is just introduce my favorite item in the video, and that influence continues offline. Thus, what makes me an ‘influencer’ is my subscribers and fans. This is because I share compensation, like for COSRX’s products, with my subscribers and fans. I thank people who buy products because they trust me. Therefore, I try to make good videos above introducing good items.”
However, brands do sponsor Youtubers to advertise their products. Viewers are very sensitive to sponsorship, because they think a Youtuber may say a product is good even if it is not. When asked about her approach to brand sponsorship, Hanbyul said, “I do not introduce sponsored products or make videos when I am not satisfied with the product. I do not make videos for brands who would compel me to make a video if I don’t want to. I would never shame my subscribers or myself in making video that way. Nowadays, few troubles exist because I am cautious about planning videos before image production. Nevertheless, some brands change their remarks after image production. In those cases, I tell them clearly that I can’t produce the video.”
Youtubers do face some difficulties. Hanbyul says that the biggest difficulty is the ambiguous position of a Youtuber as a celebrity. Technically, they are public figures. They have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and followers, so they must be aware of their speech and behavior. On the other hand, they are just ordinary people who have become famous. Their rights as ordinary people are sometimes not acknowledged. For example, their privacy cannot be protected. They are also subject to many untruthful rumors. Furthermore, Hanbyul believes Youtubers must take on many roles. They not only share their own private information, but also give and share information about subscribers’ influence by their videos.
Of all Hanbyul’s content, she likes the “Style Diary” and “Get Ready With Me” videos most of all. “Style diary” videos are high-quality fashion styling videos that require significant effort. Hanbyul began her career as a fashion YouTube creator. However, because she knows her subscribers are interested in a number of topics, she doesn’t confine her videos to fashion alone; she has expanded her boundaries into beauty, lifestyle, inner beauty, and diet as well. Still, she tries to not to lose her fashion identity, so she puts great effort and time into “Style Diary” videos. Her second favorite videos, “get ready with me,” are exactly what they sound like: viewers can do their make-up along with Hanbyul in her video. She feels an attachment to this content style because she can communicate most and tell an honest story. Despite the format of doing make-up together, she doesn’t concentrate on giving a make-up tutorial in these videos. She presents the content as if she were doing make-up and talking with a close friend.
Hanbyul says, “I enjoy every moment as a Youtuber.” Above all, she was thrilled to achieve one hundred thousand subscribers. Growth of her following was slow compared to other Youtubers in her focus area. She initially made videos about fashion, not beauty. She doesn’t have recommend video because her videos are similar. Thus, reaching one hundred thousand subscribers was a significant moment for her, because it took a long time and it was her first goal.
Ultimately, Hanbyul wants to make specialized fashion videos like Onstyle. Because this is difficult to do alone, she is just dreaming right now, but if she gets the chance, she hopes to start a Hanbyul show like Onstyle. She also wants to present a friendly personality to people on YouTube. She has a very pleasant relationship with the people who have supported her since she had a blog. In this way, she shares information for them and builds a supportive relationship as if they were friends. This was her first goal when she began to create YouTube videos. Nowadays, she has a new goal. She says, “I want to be a celebrity who is ordinary person.” In Korea, no one can be a celebrity if they are not an entertainer. In other countries, foreign bloggers enjoy many events and activities offline. Korean bloggers, on the other hand, are active just on their blogs. Hanbyul says, “If I become an ordinary celebrity, new and various options can be opened to many people.”
Hanbyul gives the following advice for Ajou University students interested in becoming Youtuber: “Do what you like! As a YouTube creator you can open up your charm and appeal to anyone. If you show people what you like through YouTube, it arrives to the viewer as charm. Youtubers around me and officers sometimes watch me edit my videos on the bus, and have said that I am very hardworking and diligent. However, I think that instead of making an effort, I just enjoy the work, so it doesn’t feel like effort to me. I hope you do what you like and what you want.”
조유나 기자 Yncho00@ajou.ac.kr
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