With Michael Smyth


Update for listeners; here’s my MP3 ABC Radio Segment Collection


Ask 13-18 year olds who has greater celebrity status, and it seems it’s no longer pop stardom; it’s the ones they are watching, on YouTube. Online video watching is taking over. Even Twitter has jumped on the bandwagon of letting video advertisements into its news-stream.

“Video is an incredible storytelling medium and we’re thrilled to be giving brands, publishers and a subset of verified users the ability to share organic and Promoted Video on Twitter.” Source:

But let’s continue to look at the phenomenon that is YouTube.

Statistics: 80 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds.

How do you get noticed in that amount of footage? It seems you need your own celebrity status.

YouTube Personalities are the new black when it comes to what gets watched from that amount of loaded footage and these personalities are as much a regular “pop star” Nicki Minaj heading in One Direction.

Generation teenager loves it. And their purchasing behavior is being swayed by it.

We could look back and say it started with Jamie’s World, a young girl who burst onto the YouTube scene about 4 years ago from New Zealand. Her quick funny skits had girls giggling all over the world and she quickly rose to 1.1 Million subscribers on YouTube, and a following of over 9.7 million on Facebook. Jamie’s now 18 years old and time will tell how she evolves a teenager based humour skit into adulthood!! We’ll all be watching I’m sure.

But YouTube Personalities are now in the hundreds, and they get paid (out) well for their time. ( )

These personalities don’t just do skits; we aren’t talking just 1 – 3 minutes of fun tidbits. We are talking 10 – 20 minutes of full online air time banter, songs, and a complete glimpse inside someone’s life. Some personalities post daily. We are also talking a fair amount of gamer time and definitely interaction and conversation. Yes, teenagers like to interact with their celebrities. They post questions on the YouTubes and ask for feedback or post out to Twitter to get responses – and then base episodes on those responses from the teenagers.

Here’s some of the most popular names: Smosh, the Fine Bros., PewDiePie, KSI, and Ryan Higa.

Or others, some guy examples include Corey Vidal, Caspar Lee, and Troye Sivan.

Troye Sivan Mellet (everyone must know “Happy Little Pill” – that’s already had 3.5 million views on YouTube and has reached #1 on the normal music charts!), has 2.38 million fans who subscribe to his YouTube channel, 1.6 million Twitter followers and well over 900,000 Facebook fans. He is from Perth and was noticed in a big way after penning and creating the video for his song “The Fault In Our Stars”, sharing it and raising money for cancer patients via the hashtag #troyeonsies

The Fault In Our Stars Story and Song:

Girl examples include Zoella or Sprinkle of Glitter, who say things like “You don’t have to be a cardboard cutout of a model to wear the clothes you want. You just need to find them in your size and put them on. At first you might feel a bit wobbly (excuse the pun) in things but keep going.

Or Michelle Phan. The 27-year-old began posting makeup tutorials in 2007 covering how to resemble famous fictional characters and now has her own cosmetic line, a book deal, and projects with companies like L’Oreal and Lancôme. You can share with her your own makeup sketches via her #phanart

For YouTube Personalities like Michelle, it’s big business.

To the teenagers they are actually quite good role models in the main. Yes, someone will probably unearth a wonky personality. In general, they show girls how to put on makeup, play best friend games, etc and are basically a lot of online fun with a bit of education thrown in with lots of inspiration to be a better person.

As previously mentioned, they also have influence over teen purchasing, with many of the personalities dropping brand names left right and centre. Next time your teenager asks for a particular product, ask where they heard about it.

Time to get a YouTube or video strategy going? Yes indeed; especially if you are marketing to those 13-18 year olds or in education.



  1. 3 Seconds is all it takes for a commercial to be watched or skipped. Use the seconds wisely. Ads be gone. Unless it’s fun and quirky and then hey…
  2. 15 Second videos are great if all you want to do is capture attention in a news feed (use Tout or Instagram)
  3. 30 – 45 Second videos are OK for a traditional commercial style video and you can say quite a bit in that time, but these days it’s a little bit “no-man’s land”.
  4. 120 Seconds is great for a full “key message” a statement
  5. 3 Minutes is perfect for a skit or educational piece, 3 sections – a statement intro and content can easily be achieved and doesn’t bore the viewer.
  6. 10 Minutes is acceptable for an ongoing story. This is where the YouTube personalities are kicking in.



Social media calls for people to use their voice, to voice their opinions and it has got many people in hot water over time. But we are all human right? Haven’t we all said stuff we’d rather not?

Think; “online for all time”.

But what if we don’t care that we say it, because we believe it, and it’s our personal right to hold that belief? Great. You may not be in line with the rest of humanity… and it embarrasses your employer, so do you still say it? It’s an interesting debate.

A recent case has emerged from the Sydney Opera House about the Soprana – Tamar Iveri’s voiced opinion, who couldn’t get sacked for what she had voiced on the social media’s, as appropriate code of conducts stopping her for doing so weren’t in her contract. She was well within her right to speak her opinion freely. And she did.

In essence, “you can’t sack a person if they haven’t broken their contract” and her contract didn’t contact a clause for social media conduct.

As a result the Sydney Opera House are reviewing staff contracts.

Then there’s Wikileaks, Julian Assange rearing up, with reports that social media users could land themselves in legal hot water if they share the Wikileaks’ reporting of a secret suppression order made by the Victorian Supreme Court. The suppression order was published on the group’s website and was shared on websites including Twitter and Google+.

We all know that Julian does not like to be suppressed.

You can read more about the Wikileaks story here:

What would you do if this happened to your own staff member?

What if they say something that you completely oppose and it has the potential to damage your reputation?

Do you have any type of cover in your code of conduct?

There would be a confidentiality clause to cover company information sure, but how about embarrassing inappropriate messages that, if the equivalent were said in the workplace, would be deemed as inappropriate.

Is it the employer’s right to enforce this?

In a case such as the Soprano, perhaps yes, as she is such a public figure. There are certainly clauses in our (AFL) football champion’s contracts with contract terminations happening this very year for these very reasons.

With the work life balance blurring, it’s a topic on the rise. One to watch.

There are many experts who can help you work through this dilemma…


Grant Archer, LinkBridge; exceptional at preventative code of conduct strategies

Neville John, KJK Legal; exceptional at employment law

Tim O’Callaghan, Piper Alderman; exceptional at online law

Or give me a call for a chat.


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