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: “YouTube is an ocean of entertainment. No other app can provide as much entertainment as YouTube.” –Male, 18, NY

As Millennials’ spending power begins to outpace Boomers’, what are they buying more than any other generation? The answers might surprise you. A list of ten things that young consumers are buying more often include gas station food and snakes (?!). But the rest of the list is less shocking: they’re also buying more craft beer, piercings and tattoos, same day delivery, and, of course, hot sauce. (Time)

Facebook has been upping their video game as the online content wars have heated up, and it seems to be paying off.  The social network’s recent earnings report shows a significant increase, brought on by their video growth. The report says that “billions” of videos are watched on the platform each day, and that 75% of those are on mobile. Facebook Pages (for celebrities, businesses, etc.) have reportedly been sharing 40% more video since the beginning of this year alone. (Streamdaily)

In a recent New York Times article examining campus suicide, Cornell’s director of counseling cited the pressure to look perfect on social media as an amplifier of the problem, “since students feel compelled to post smiling selfies even when they’re struggling." One female student tells New York Magazine, “When I posted [this photo], I subconsciously hoped that if I could convince others I was happy, then maybe I could believe it myself.” (NYMag)

We know Millennial men want to be hands-on dads, but some might be finding fatherhood a more difficult balance than they had planned. Researchers say that their struggles could be because workplace policies have “not caught up to changing expectations at home,” and Millennials’ more egalitarian views on parenthood. One survey found that 24% of Millennial men who had not had children expected to shoulder most of the child care responsibilities, while only 8% of those with children actually did. (NYTimes)

Though young consumers are certainly shopping from their phones, our list of their top ten favorite apps did not include any from the retail category—hinting at an opportunity for retailers to step up their mobile game. Online-only store Everlane has created an app to “cater to their biggest fans” with suggestions on what to wear based on the daily weather, and early exclusive access to items on the app only. (TechCrunch)

Quote of the Day: “Pandora is my favorite app because I LOVE music and creating stations that introduce me to new songs I didn't know about.” –Female, 31, GA

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