“I hope you like it guys! Let me know what you think. And please, please give me a thumbs up. It really helps.”
She blows a kiss. Then smiles and waves. She stands and walks towards the camera and presses stop. She exhales in a long breath. She’s tired. She’s been working all morning, non-stop and she hasn’t even left the house yet. She turns and looks in the mirror. She looks beautiful. Ready to hit the town or stroll down the road and turn some heads. But she isn’t going out.
She looks like the kind of girl who has tonnes of friends. The life of the party. A celebrity. Her skin is flawless. Her hair is long and shiny. She looks like the kind of girl who’d never be home. Always busy. Out with friends in the world. Living. But she doesn’t have that many friends and she spends most of her days at home. She takes the camera into the kitchen and sets it up. She presses record.
“Hi guys, I’m about to make myself one of my protein smoothies. Some of you asked me to show you how I make them so here we go!”
She throws various ingredients into a Nutribullet.
“I find this smoothie really helps me stay lean. It keeps me full. If I’m trying to get into a bikini this is what I have for lunch most days!”
She wants to stay lean and look beautiful so she can look good in a bikini. On camera. Does she ever go to the beach? She has over millions of subscribers on You Tube. But she stays at home alone all day. What is the point of having 1 million friends if they can’t help you move house? What is the point of putting on make up to stay home all day? Why are people living their lives through a lens? And who is watching them?
YouTube was created by in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. On April 23 2005 the first video was uploaded to YouTube by co-creator Jawed Karim, titled Me at the Zoo. In 2006 the company was sold to Google for a modest US$1.6 Billion. In 2014 YouTube revealed that 300 hours of video were being uploaded every minute, and that the site attracts more than 15 Billion visits per month (Source: Wikipedia). So, I guess someone must be watching!
On the surface Harris, or ShaaanXO as she is known on You Tube, may seem shallow. All she does is talk about make-up and clothing hauls, right? But there’s something more to her. Something warm and attractive. She has a gift and it’s not just the ability to put on a good outfit or demonstrate some flawless contouring. It’s the ability to connect with her audience and make them feel like they are her friends. In front of the camera she opens up. She lets the world into her life. Into herself. She’s honest. She’s generous. She makes you feel like you know her. Like you want to know her.
That is possibly why Harris is so successful. With over 1 million subscribers on the line, viewer trust is not something to take lightly. If your audience loses faith in your honesty, then they lose faith in you. In your brand. Harris is very upfront about the authenticity of her opinions. She does not get paid to say she likes a product. She does however receive free products. Lots of them.
It sounds like a dream come true. Stay at home all day by the fire. Receiving free make up and making yourself look beautiful and getting paid for it! Gee, it sounds quite lovely. But it also sounds quite sad. There is something very sad about the human race when all we want to do is stay home and communicate with our 1 million friends via the cloud. There is something so sad about a beautiful girl, putting on makeup, to sit at home alone all day in front of her computer screen.
For all our technology: air travel so we can see the world, iphones so we can be available anywhere, skype so we can talk to family who live overseas, for all the bells and whistles, we are getting further away. We’re connected to more people than ever. We have a reach that extends across the globe by the click of a mouse, but we probably don’t even know our neighbours.
When was the last time you actually went out with a friend, instead of liking their Facebook post or favouriting their tweet?
Leave your phone at home and go for a walk. If you bump into someone ask them if they want to catch up for a coffee. Right now. Not "I'll DM you sometime." Interact. Be in the world. Let the sun shine on your face and feel the wind in your hair. Talk to the mail man before we no longer have mail men!
Where will we be in 50 years? In a hyper sleep while our avatars live our lives?