Last week, YouTube announced its plan to expand its Creators for Change program, an initiative that appoints socially-conscious YouTube influencers as program Ambassadors to combat hate speech, xenophobia, and extremism (Weiss 2017). This program started from last September with 11 YouTubers, and last week YouTube announced 27 more. These YouTubers will receive mentorship, equipment and production grants to facilitate their socially-conscious videos.
YouTube has become one of the most diverse communities promoting social good and raising awareness. In 2016, there was boycott and criticism to Oscar as #OscarSoWhite, while at the same year, Streamy Award was celebrated as #SteamySoDiverse. For instance, Asian Americans, which received little exposure and few opportunities in Hollywood, have become a vibrant community on YouTube, including Comedians such as Fung Brothers, Ryan Higa, Musicians as Sam Tsui, David Choi, Beauty Vlogger Michele Phan, and creators like Freddie Wong.
Another group is LGBT content creators, who have received huge visibility on YouTube. For instance, Gigi Gorgeous recently has her first documentary streaming on YouTube Red, which recorded her transition from male to female, and her coming-out stories as a gay, transgender and lesbian. Another icon is Tyler Oakley, with almost 8 million subscribers and an estimated net worth of 8 million. They have succeeded in monetization, and they’re also instrumental in speaking out on behalf of pro-LGBT policies and advocating for LGBT rights (Jenkins, 2016).
YouTube has increasingly focused on doing social good, and it can become powerful in speaking to an audience with huge concerns in this turbulent and vulnerable political environment. For brands aiming to raise social awareness and address social responsibility, it is time to put more efforts on the digital YouTube space instead of traditional media outlets.
Weiss, G. (April 20, 2017). YouTube reveals first fleet of 27 “Creators for Change” fellows. Tubefilter. Retrieved from
Jenkins, H. (April 21, 2016). Multichannel Networks and the New Screen Ecology: An Interview with Stuart Cunningham and David Craig. Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2016/04/multichannel-networks-and-the-new-screen-ecology-an-interview-with-stuart-cunningham-and-david-craig-part-one.html