The "wedding" of Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau is part of a larger YouTube phenomenon

After months of vlogs, Instagram stories and intense build-up, YouTube stars Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau brought their best friends, families, hundreds of strangers, thousands of online viewers and a full MTV camera crew to Las Vegas on Sunday to see the two controversial makers & # 39; marry & # 39 ;. The result is a disturbing but inevitable prediction of the future for the greatest personalities of YouTube and the platform as a whole.


Their marriage was perhaps the influencer event of the year, but against the background for which it was all orchestrated Mongeau & # 39; s MTV series, Tana turns 21. There is no evidence that the pair is legally married, or evidence that they stay together after the life of the schtick. Even Logan Paul, Jake & # 39; s older brother and colleague YouTuber, doesn't believe it's real. Nothing more than that 66,000 people who spend $ 50 on a live stream of the ceremony as if it were a pay-per-view boxing match, but all that led to the big moment was a departure from what made YouTube work in the first place.

In 2019, authenticity was replaced by pomp and relations with viewers were manipulated to give the public something shamelessly produced to make a profit. Everything had to look real, but nothing did it. The whole relationship between Paul and Mongeau has become the embodiment of every reality show. It is also the next step for YouTube makers.

Mongeau is willing to admit that traditional celebrity art is something she actively cherishes with her YouTube fame. "I remember being 13 years old and literally when the Kardashians first broadcast, as if they were:" I was made for that shit. Like I'm made for reality TV & # 39; & # 39 ;, Mongeau told Teen Vogue earlier this year.

Although Mongeau told me Teen Vogue that she is completely transparent to her fans, adding that she "wants to give my most, like, raw authentic self", it is hard to say how much of it is true if everything about her relationship with Paul felt fake this month. Mongeau and Paul can get away with it because their online self has changed into more than life-sized personalities. They have renamed themselves TV reality stars and have brought that energy to the wider YouTube community.

"What we see with Tana is that she gives up part of that authenticity and freedom to work with MTV and get bigger," Christopher Boutté, a YouTube commentator and author of a new book about makerstold The edge. "I think Jake Paul saw this opportunity when Tana crossed the main stream and Jake Paul tries to do something about it."

It should not seem so unusual. The YouTube community has been borrowed from reality TV's most innovative storytelling tool – confessionals – to create what the whole world now sees as modern vlogging. It worked extremely well. But as the vlog format went out of style, makers are now looking for new and creative ways to stay relevant and attract people's attention. For makers like Paul and Mongeau this meant a return to the attributes of reality TV.


It is not only wedding ceremonies and short engagements that steal from TLC, MTV or E! shows, either. Kian and JC, two popular YouTube makers known for their extensive series, have recently started their own version of Big Brother. "Reality House" takes some of the most striking YouTubers working today – including the iconic vlogger Trisha Paytas, who has launched reality TV shows – and confronts them in a series of competitions. The winning participant runs away with $ 25,000. Episodes are released every week and it has been edited to make sense The Bachelor or The real world.

One of the bigger problems that the YouTube community faces and that the biggest users have been struggling with for years is the feeling that regular networks are starting to dominate the platform and overshadow independent makers, Boutté argued. YouTubers such as Mongeau feel they need to join MTV to push their career further, he said, while other YouTubers try to pursue larger productions by organizing their own reality TV shows or setting up more extensive productions.

Jimmy & # 39; MrBeast & # 39; Donaldson is a perfect example of the new direction of YouTube. Donaldson, who built a reputation by giving away large sums of money to unsuspecting people and sometimes total strangers, attracts more viewers and subscribers by constantly raising the stakes. Digital marketing research group ScaleLab that Donaldson had around 20 million views and 2 million subscribers in early 2018, but ended the year with 200 million monthly views and more than 12 million subscribers.

"I think that although many YouTubers complain about large productions coming in from traditional networks and having to make their own large productions to keep up, they make these videos because it is something that people come for," Boutté said. "I think you have these people like Tana and Jake, and they just evolve the platform."

What is happening now and continues to happen is a deviation from the authenticity that YouTube makers have defined for most of the past decade in more polished but staged productions. Ironically, it is reminiscent of something YouTube previously tried to do with YouTube Red originals, which would give the best makers money and space to get more & # 39; prestigious & # 39; make shows.

It won't happen across the board right away, but many of YouTube's best video makers are likely to work with larger networks, or produce their own high-end series that mimic more traditional TV shows. Even Paul himself referred to his own video & # 39; s as WWE in an interview with The New York Times. "People know this is fake and it is one of the greatest things about entertainment," Paul said about professional wrestling.

Things are constantly changing on YouTube. New makers set different trends in motion, while other makers age or start working on other projects that are not related to the platform. The only problem Boutté has with this current shift in YouTube culture is that while creators are working on creating more fictional or exaggerated videos based on their lives, younger viewers wonder what is real and what is fake is, thereby harming the confidence that many of these supports parasocial relationships. That will change, he thinks, but it will take time for people to get used to YouTube's past to catch up with the future, Boutté thinks.


"It will take another decade for people to realize that this is happening on YouTube."

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