YouTubers - The Brat Pack for the 21st Century

Those of us of a certain *cough* age will remember Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, et al. They were our 1980's idols : The Brat Pack - so named after a fairly negative article in the New York Magazine in June 1985. It felt like all coming-of-age movies starred these beautiful people and their (film) collaborations were the thoughts and actions of our angst-ridden teenage lives played out on the big screen.  It wasn't just us that was feeling this way.

YouTube, vloggers, brat pack, gleam team, future stars
Fast forward 30 years and now we have a Brat Pack for the 21st Century.  This time we can access them on the small(er) screen of YouTube but the premise is the same. Zoe Sugg, her brother Joe, her boyfriend Alfie Deyes, Louise Pentland, Tyler Oakley, Tanya Burr and Grace Helbig, to name but a few, are being touted by the media as "the most famous people you have never heard of" (see these articles in the Independent and on Buzzfeed as examples); they are the teenage idols of today - sort of... I asked my 15 year old son if he knew any of them but he was oblivious even though he uses YouTube on a daily basis however his girlfriend of the same age knew exactly who I was talking about.

On the surface, the videos that appear on an almost daily basis are filmed in the YouTuber's bedroom. They talk the talk, they walk the walk. They are carefully edited to only show the good/funny/relevant/essential content.  As an occasional vlogger, I know how much time and effort goes in to filming and editing a video to show it at its best (although I have to keep most of the bad bits in because there'd be no content otherwise).  The audience is only seeing a short (usually under fifteen minutes in length), fairly positive snapshot of daily life or a prank or cross-channel video (known in the world of YouTube as a "collab" or "collaboration") with friends. Let's also not forget that the majority of these vloggers are now managed by a variety of YouTube managers and agencies, one of which is Gleam, giving this new 'Brat Pack' their nickname of The Gleam Team.

YouTube is the second biggest search engine after the main Google website. Even I search for demonstration-style videos on there because, for me, a visual/written balance is needed.  On some occasions, being shown how to do something or listening to someone else's experience (with facial expressions) is much more meaningful than reading a blog post.  Other times it's the flip-reverse. Therefore I can completely understand why the high school generation is tuning in and getting sucked in to the types of videos that are being produced by The Gleam Team. 

We need to ensure that this younger generation totally understands that this small group of vloggers are now media and agency led, that they are using professional editing equipment and are promoting a positive outlook on life. Now, there's nothing wrong with that but these videos are being watched hundreds of thousands of times, cracks are beginning to show because of their artificial and elevated 'celebrity' status and sponsored partnerships are not being declared appropriately. During a conversation with Lynn Schreiber of Jump! Mag this morning (see a Twitter snippet here), we talked about how brands must be keen to work with these vloggers because of the exposure however the blur between authenticity and corporate behaviour needs to be more transparent because of their target audience.  And that's currently not happening. 

Almost all of the 80's Brat Pack had their careers derailed by the end of the decade due to problems caused by alcohol, drugs and at least one sex tape.  The speed in which fast-paced media moves now, who knows where The Gleam Team and their compadres may be this time next year?  Many of them have helped create (or put their name to) clothing and beauty ranges, have had the opportunity to publish books and have put their own positive spin on life in general.  

Is this a real world that we want our teenagers to aspire to or is it giving them false hope? Is the perfect life portrayed in these short vlogs giving a fractured outlook and making our kids think even more that the only way to success is to be famous for fifteen minutes?

My Washi Tape Collection

I can't remember where I first discovered washi tape but I can remember the first set I bought (a set of 10 thin rolls of washi tape - all different colours).  I had become hooked on watching "decorating your Filofax" videos on YouTube and needed some of the action.

I probably don't have as much washi tape as everyone thinks I do but I do keep it topped up and enjoy seeking out slightly unusual designs.  Anyway, some of you asked to see the collection, so here it is!

#BESW14 - The British Gas Big Energy Saving Week

As mentioned previously on this blog, I live in an old, end-terrace house in the North of England. It's the sort of house that manages to retain heat in the summer and is freezing cold in the winter. If there was a way of harnessing that summer warmth and saving it for the winter, believe me, we'd be up for trying it out.  

Over the past few years we have taken advantage of Government-funded and regeneration schemes to help make our house more season-friendly but we occasionally have to resort to old-fashioned methods of keeping warm.

We have turned the thermostat down by one degree to save up to £75 per year and we all throw an extra layer of clothing on.  We can often be found huddling under one of my very special crochet blankets too (one in the lounge, one on each bed).  With the money we save we like to take a trip or two out to the beach, have a nice long walk with the dog and treat ourselves to the best fish and chips in Lancashire on the way back.

This week, Netmums are hosting a British Gas Big Energy Saving Week and are concentrating on a different area of the house each day, providing top tips on how to save money and energy in each corner of your home.  My favourite tip from today is to exchange the family desktop computer to a laptop which could save you up to £16 per year in electricity bills as new laptop models use around 85% less energy!

A while back, I crowd-sourced some top energy saving tips which you can find here (or click on the image below).  There are some amazing pointers in there especially about leaving equipment on standby and how to get your freezer to run more efficiently.  Let me know if you have any to add and what you will be doing this winter to save money on energy.

energy-saving tips

Follow @BritishGas on Twitter and search the hashtag #BESW14 for more updates.

DISCLAIMER : This is a Netmum's sponsored review. To find out more click the button. You can also view my own disclosure policy hereI am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post. 

Was Judy Finnigan Right To Support Ched Evans?

I tend to avoid the programme Loose Women because it gives me 'the rage' for various reasons. However, Judy Finnigan made her debut panel appearance today and has definitely made an impression with the Great British Public, and not necessarily a positive one. 

The lunchtime discussion turned to the subject of whether convicted rapist, Ched Evans (found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail in 2012), should return to Sheffield United and his job as a football player when he is released from prison next week.

Judy Finnigan attempted to suggest that Evans had served his time (less than half of the given jail term) and that the rape was not violent and [..] the victim had had far too much to drink... 


It's obviously not just me who disagrees with the wording of her support for Evans as there seems to have been a social media storm based around her thoughts. As was mentioned by Tanya on Twitter, I wonder if Judy Finnigan's viewpoint would have been different if it was her own daughter that had been violated?

Any rapist has attempted to hold a position of power, using sex as their weapon. Evans already held a position of power because of his role in British football; one where I feel that the players in the upper-league teams are over-paid for their involvement and they use their prominence to enhance their personal lives. 

This really and truly isn't about whether someone should go back to work after going to jail. No! This is about presenting a 25-year old man with another opportunity to become a role model to so many young people when he shows no remorse for his actions. His own website houses a front page statement that maintains his innocence. Why should he return to a high-profile, privileged job where he would be celebrated on a weekly basis?

Watch the whole programme here - the article in question is at the 14 minute mark (although it's a right kerfuffle because you have to register with ITV Player, then confirm your postcode and turn AdBlock off). Much of the discussion has been transcripted on Buzzfeed too.

I'd be interested in your thoughts too.  Let me know in the comments.

7 Steps To A Social Media Storm

How do you know when a news item is of social importance?

Have you ever noticed what happens when an interesting news story breaks? Tomorrow's *chip paper stories still have a life span even though they are of mediocre interest. Here is my version of the seven steps to creating a social media trend.

Breaking News, social importance, trending, social media,

1. People attempt to be the first to (re)share the 'breaking news' update in their own social network, cross-posting a short update on all their main channels, sometimes even leaving out the official link.

2. Wikipedia entries are hurriedly updated with information changing rapidly as further details are released.

3. Buzzfeed create a real article as opposed to a comedy listical.

4. Bloggers blog about it. Vloggers vlog about it. Clickbait titles with non-related content are published with the hope that website statistics will increase (albeit for a short period of time).

5. Professional social commentators attempt to predict who/what else will be next in relation to the news item.

6. Daytime lifestyle and discussion programmes generate a social interest feature based around a tenuous link with someone who has experienced similar. Evening news programmes attempt the same. All are accompanied with encouragement to become amateur social commentators on a social media platform of choice using a specific (trending or new) hashtag.

someone is wrong on the internet, cartoon
7. More blogs and vlogs appear and discussions happen across social media platforms and then this happens...

...which continues until the next 'breaking news' item.

Which stage do you normally come in at? Have I missed any steps out?

*does anyone know what the digital version of that phrase is?