Q&A With Tyler Oakley: The YouTube Star Whose Fans Raised $500K For His Birthday

Meet Tyler Oakley. His “YouTube family” (subscribers) grew by over 3 million last year and today stands at 4,324,655—a following that rivals top entertainers on the platform. His vlog posts are deceptively simple, filmed in the same colorfully decorated room, spotlight on, and Oakley ready to share whatever is on his mind. But watch him tell one story and it’s clear that he has tapped into Millennial tastes with his personal storytelling style. Always charged with intense positive energy, Tyler reveals intimate details, and can talk non-stop without missing a beat. He claims to be fluent in five languages: “English, emoji, sexting, sarcasm, and sass” and has gossiped with President Obama himself. While his best friends include the elite of Millennial YouTube entertainment, the magic in Tyler’s videos lies in his ability to make every viewer feel like they too are his best friend.
 
Wanting to use his influence as a high-profile LGBT vlogger for something more, Tyler began a birthday fundraising campaign last year benefitting a charity close to his heart: The Trevor Project. This year, the campaign reached its goal of raising $150,000 in just six days. By the end of the full 50 days of fundraising, Tyler’s online “family” had raised over half a million dollars—$525,679 to be exact— for LGBTQ youth. We got the chance to speak with Tyler about his monumental rise on YouTube, the success of his birthday campaign, and how views on the LGBT movement are changing within the next generation.

Ypulse: Tell us about how you got started on YouTube.

Tyler Oakley: It was back in 2007 and I was a college student at Michigan State University. All of my high school friends went off to different colleges, so I wanted to find a new way to keep in touch with them. I had Facebook, but I also wanted…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream’ I think of 1950s cliches, the economic downturn of 2008, and how college debt has pretty much made it impossible.” –Female, 17, RI

We know Millennials have delayed going down the aisle, but how do they really compare to the generations before them? Over 30% of Millennial women will have stayed unmarried by age 40, “nearly twice the share of their Gen X counterparts.” Even if the marriage rate returns to pre-recession levels, Millennials will not catch up to Gen X marriage rates. The dip in married couples could have economic repercussions, as they are “often better off financially.” (CNNMoney)

25-34-year-olds (mostly older Millennials) are the most likely travelers to use mobile search and social media “to resolve a travel problem,” with close to 40% relying on a mobile solution to their issues and quandaries. Travel info startup Skift is calling this group the “silent traveler,” and the increasing number of travelling Millennials will likely make the number of silent travelers grow as well. In response, the industry is shifting efforts to mobile: 20% of Delta’s check-ins now come through their app. (MediaPost)

A recent survey covering Millennials’ political and economic views has some pointing fingers and saying the generation’s political views are “incoherent,” and “confused.” But others say they aren’t any more confused about economics than anyone else, and contradictory political opinions are not abnormal. One important takeaway that is often overlook is that a generation of over 97 million in the U.S. cannot all be painted with one brush, and that some of the contradictions in beliefs are likely due to various segments' contrasting views. (NYTimes)

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a workplace trend that some IT departments may find frustrating, and not surprisingly it’s younger employees who are the biggest BYOD culprits. 70% of 18-33-year-olds admit that they break corporate rules and use outside apps (think Dropbox and Evernote) at work. Of those, 50% said they do it because approved apps aren’t good enough, and 60% said they didn’t think it was a security problem for their company. (Recode)

The app French Girls has been around for some time, but it is continuing to gain momentum—or at least to entertain the internet. (Yes, it is named after Titanic’s classic “Draw me like one of your French girls” line.) Users can submit selfies to the French Girl community and receive back digitally drawn versions of their likeness, often creatively interpreted. (Uproxx)

Quote of the Day: “If a photo of me went viral, I would feel angry but…maybe I would be a little excited because it went viral, as long as the picture is not bad.” –Female, 16, TN

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