YouTube: A place for killers and porn stars to build a brand 12

Branding is everything. It’s your business’ (or in some cases actual) face presented to the world.

It’s what allows you to build fans, and have followers; it defines what you are as a money-making (or charitable) machine. It’s no surprise then that some of the most influential people (ie. those attracting the most attention from eyeballs advertisers are trying to reach) today are more likely to be found on Snapchat or YouTube than traditional media channels.

It’s not just millennials that are looking to take advantage of this huge interest in the possibilities a ‘personal brand’ holds though.

Indeed, a CV that includes killing hundreds of people and being responsible for the death of thousands more is seen as enticement more than a deterrent for voracious viewers, it would seem.

“Before I start I want to say that everything Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria did was bad. It’s important that new generations don’t get fixated on the figure of Pablo Escobar and even less on mine. We should not be a model for anyone. We are bandits.” – John Jairo Velásquez

As reported by The Guardian, John Jairo Velásquez, a former hitman for Pablo Escobar, known better as ‘Popeye’, has already attracted over 117,000 subscribers to his ‘Remorseful Popeye’ channel since starting it nine months ago.

For anyone outraged by the apparent show of support for Popeye, it seems Velásquez’s presence on YouTube after 22 years in prison is one of genuine repentance and he takes questions from relatives of his victims and attempts to address them.

A niche audience

In an age of constant connectivity, where musicians, artists, actors and any other public figure needs to be in contact with their fans, why should it be any different for cam girls and porn stars?

YouTube’s reach offers an unparalleled reach into people’s lives paired with ultimate convenience.

It’s that combination of factors that adult performers and models like Anna Bell Peaks are trying to take advantage of with a (sort of) SFW YouTube channel.

It launched around a month ago and only has coming up to 2,000 followers – though that’s a relatively small number compared to her nearly 140,000 Twitter devotees.

It’s new ground for most adult performers to go ‘direct to fans’ in this way, and particularly with the minutiae of everyday life, but that’s the sort of thing a dedicated fan would want.

I suspect it’s also one that puts an additional level of demand on the performer – continually thinking ‘what might make for good social engagement on YouTube’ isn’t necessarily as easy a way of life as it might appear.

Messaging services like Kik and Snapchat have filled the role of keeping cam girls and porn stars in touch with their audience for some time already, but few are making such direct efforts to include their viewers as such an integral part of their life.

Ephemeral messaging and sending a single image snapshot of your life doesn’t present the same demands, and is far more transactional in nature. In many cases, the people being communicated with there have paid for the privilege in one way or another, be it cash or an item from an Amazon Wish List.

YouTube is something different, and right now, it’s a place where almost anyone with an interesting story to tell can find an audience. And that’s always going to be something that other people won’t like.

Read next: AI expert says that ‘sex robots’ will be mainstream in 10 years

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