Alia Adi, founder of YouTube cooking channel Basmaty World, works at her studio in Dubai. Credit: Kamran Jebreili / Associated Press
In 2016, the top 12 highest-paid YouTube Stars. An Italian law student turned a fashion blog that she started for just $10 . Emily King and Corey Smith are able to fund a lifestyle of cross-country adventure . But for every YouTube or Instagram millionaire, there are a whole bunch of people barely scraping by. To dive into this aspirational economy, we talked with Brooke Erin Duffy, author of “ ,” and Gaby Dunn, .
- The aspirational economy is perfect for advertisers trying to target finicky, inattentive audiences. A young person with a large Twitter or Instagram following can reach a lot of their peers. And Duffy says that because young people are looking for visibility, they’re willing to work with companies that pay in exposure rather than money.
- There’s a long history of mostly-unattainable dream jobs. Think acting in Hollywood or becoming a famous musician. But what’s different now is that, with the democratization of technology, we’re constantly assured that we actually can get paid to do what we love. Duffy thinks it’s a very seductive narrative, but says that we don’t hear about the time, energy, and money that goes into developing these passion projects (or the vast majority that never turn a profit).
- People following their YouTube dreams should have a backup plan, says Dunn. For example, someone who uploads makeup tutorial videos to YouTube should think of themselves as a makeup artist first and foremost. That way, even if their YouTube channel doesn’t get millions of views, it can still serve as marketing for their main gig.
- details why “the queen of the mommy bloggers” had to quit her online empire.
- Gaby Dunn and Brooke Erin Duffy talk more about the gendered world of the aspirational economy .
- that dives deeper into her ideas on unpaid internet labor.