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: “It's cheaper and more fun to make my own Halloween costume. Also that way my costume will be different from everyone else's.” –Male, 17, PA

In stories of cyberbullying, Formspring gained a reputation for being an epicenter for negativity and hurtful anonymous comments between teens. The platform shut down last year thanks to that toxic history, but in its wake new site Sping.me wants to be “the friendliest social network,” joining the fight for positivity in social media. Like Formspring, Spring allows Q&A discussions and chats, but the site wants those chats to facilitate making friends. Spring’s slightly older userbase (an average age of 24) is one factor they hope will keep the environment relatively gossip and troll-free. (TechCrunch)

In our most recent Ypulse Quarterly trend report, we talked about Chasing Neverland, a trend of Millennials wanting to recapture the carefree feeling of their childhood. One example? The pre-work dance parties that have become popular in New York, LA, San Francisco and Atlanta. Daybreaker, the company throwing these energetic events, emphasizes health and wellness, and says the parties are all about having a unique, fun, in-person experience. According to one organizer, “There’s an outcropping of excitement for interactivity and real community experiences. Millennials—they’re tired of online.” (Mashable)

Millennials are getting serious about saving. According to a new study, the number of young workers enrolling in 401(k) plans increased 55% in the first half of 2014. A major factor behind the increase is the “sheer number of Millennials entering the workforce.” Today they make up 25% of workers, and by 2020 that number is estimate to climb to 50%. (Time)

The rumored anonymous Facebook app is here: Rooms is a mobile network that aims to bring people together based on mutual interests instead of mutual social connections. Users can create a room around any topic, from bee keeping to World of Warcraft, and other people can join those rooms using any username they choose. Room accounts are not connected to Facebook accounts, and the app is based off of the idea of online forums more than recent iterations of social networking. (Fast Company)

Archie, Betty and Veronica are coming to TV: Fox is developing a “subversive take” on the iconic comic series. The show,Riverdale, will reportedly be a combination of the small-town teen sagas of Dawson’s Creek and the weird, mysterious happenings of Twin Peaks. The plot will focus on the darker elements lurking under the “wholesome façade” of the town, and other characters from the Archie franchise will be involved—Josie and the Pussycats will reportedly play a “big role.” (SlashfilmUproxx)

Did you know that Ypulse tracks social media trends in our biweekly surveys? We found that Vine, Twitter, and YouTube have seen steady growth since November 2013, gaining 9%, 10%, and 13% more Millennial users, respectively. Our Silver and Gold tier subscribers explore helpful visuals that detail our tracked trends in the Data Room on Ypulse.com. (Ypulse)

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