Chris Stokel-Walker


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'Essential reading.' – ESQUIRE

'Both absorbing and highly illuminating' – THE BOOKSELLER

'No one understands the intricacies of YouTube like Chris Stokel-Walker' – THE ATLANTIC

Two billion people watch YouTube and it reaches deep into everyday lives.

Its creators start new trends, popularise new songs and games and make and break new products. Yet while they are famous to billions of mostly young people, they mostly remain a mystery to the general public and mainstream media. What is the secret of their appeal? How do they cope with being in front of the lens – and who is behind their success?

More than 100 insiders spoke candidly to teach journalist Chris Stokel-Walker for this first in-depth independent book on YouTube. YouTubers is the only book you need to understand YouTube, its ownership by Google, its deal for stars and its ecosystem of talent managers, advertisers and marketers.

It is a richly-layered deep dive into YouTube brimming with lively characters, engaging facts, and influencer case studies. It is an ideal guide for any media studies students, advertisers, brand managers and business people who need to understand YouTube professionally. And for any non-fiction reader interested in a gripping business and technology saga dripping with big money, ruthlessness, determination and ambition.

YouTubers starts by charting the platform's launch in a boring 19-second video of the elephant enclosure at San Diego Zoo – which has now had 242 million views. YouTubers then moves onto the first oddball videos before the site found success by showing comedy clips from the TV show Saturday Night Live.

YouTubers reveals how YouTube saw off its emerging rivals in the online video battle of the 2000s and was bought by the search engine specialist Google. With Google's billions and boosted by smartphones, YouTube became the dominant video platform.

Bloggers started to create engaging, fast-cut videos that capitalised on the intimate relationship between creator and user – a 'parasocial' relationship stronger than the bond between TV presenter and viewer. By ceaselessly urging their followers to tap the like, comment and subscribe buttons, these creators helped YouTube's rise to global domination.

YouTubers speaks to YouTube stars KSI, Hank and John Green and delves into the lives of child star MattyB, the training camp for aspiring teenage bloggers, the YouTube stunts that go wrong and the increasing efforts of creators to earn money from Patreon. And it tackles the platform's Muslim extremism, red-pilling, and its content guidelines and censorship.

YouTubers asks how YouTube can take on the threat from other big platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

In short, YouTubers tells the riveting story of the exponential growth of YouTube from single home video to global tech phenomenon. It is the best and only book you need to read on YouTube.


One spring afternoon Casey Neistat uploaded a video lasting five minutes and twenty-two seconds to YouTube. In the style of so many YouTubers, he looked straight into the camera and aired his opinion on a matter of importance. As the elder statesman on the platform, Neistat's words carry weight. He can make or break products and careers — and this video was no different. Seconds after he uploaded his video to YouTube via his superfast broadband at his creative headquarters in New York, it was available worldwide to four billion people: everyone on Earth with an internet connection. Millions of Neistat's subscribers instantly received a notification telling them that one of YouTube's most influential stars was again speaking directly to them.

Across the world in apartment blocks, restaurants, bedrooms and bathrooms, phones pinged, buzzed and beeped. Hundreds of thousands of people...

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