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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It is easier than ever to unknowingly enter unwanted contracts online, so a group of teens is pushing to reinstate a lawsuit against Facebook for using their names and images in social ads, even though the fine print lets the social network do so. While this generation is concerned about privacy and content rights online, the court originally felt that putting user content in social ads was a “fair exchange” for using the social network. (MediaPost)

Need to know what a certain subset of Millennials is thinking? Silver and Gold Tier subscribers have access to Advanced Instant Poll tools, giving them the ability to submit questions to our mobile social community of 2 million 13-34-year-olds and target specific ages and gender like female teens or males of college-age. Targeting by age or gender (or both!) gets more focused responses and can be used for gut-checks statistics on key demographics. (Ypulse)

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