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: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because everyone will have those and I don't like having what everyone else has.” –Female, 27, FL

The future of the on-demand economy is shaping up, and soon anything you might need or want, from toothpaste to kittens, could be delivered to you in a snap. Grocery delivery app Instacart tapped into this “I want it now” mentality for some smart Halloween marketing: Seattle residents can use the app to order last-minute costumes that arrive in one hour. The startup conceived the campaign after receiving costume requests from many of their customers, and the service will be active until 8pm tonight. (Instacart)

Last week, we wrote that brands could learn some marketing tricks from Taylor Swift, and her social media skills continue to impress. Vulture has a break down of why Swift is the “reigning queen of celebrity social media,” where she acts like her fans’ best friend, interacts with them personally, and uses each platform the way they do. On Monday, she used Twitter to put those fans in the spotlight, reposting pictures of them posing with her new album on her own feed with the hashtag #taylurking, a reference to the fact that she was lurking on her followers’ profiles. (Vulture)

Older Millennials grew up with the internet, which means they remember its humble design beginnings, and how social media got its start—after all, they were at the center of it. The internet has come a long way in a relatively short time, but there is a growing nostalgia for Web 1.0, the good old days when “everything was smaller,” “close-knit,” and “DIY.” This nostalgia is fueling the design of some of the newest apps and networks, which emphasize intimacy, self-expression, and minimalism. (Gizmodo)

Young consumers have a different set of retail experience expectations, and while many till prefer in-store, there is no doubt that mobile and online are a very big part of their shopping behavior. So what are their digital retail tastes and habits? 55% use multiple devices to shop, and 71% of females do their online shopping at home versus the 77% of males who do it on-the-go. Their biggest frustrations include slow load times, slow checkout, lack of interactive features, and small/fuzzy images. Those images are important—55% overall, and 72% of females, say they “couldn’t live without pictures when shopping on mobile devices.” (Inc.)

Richie Rich is being rebooted for a new generation. A live-action Richie Rich show from AwesomenessTV is coming to Netflix in 2015. The story of the self-made child millionaire was first a comic book in the 1950s, then reinvented for ‘90s kids in the movie starring Macaulay Caulkin. In this modernized iteration, Richie is a trillionaire who earned his bucks inventing and selling green technology. (KidscreenMashable)

You've got questions, we've got answers. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article on Ypulse.com, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. Whether they want to dig more deeply into a topic or better understand the implications for their brands, we're there to help. (Ypulse)

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