Road to fame online

June 6, 2010 — by Vivien Lu and Ashley Tang

Who knew five years ago that people would make household names for themselves from right in their bedroom, but with YouTube, hundreds of people have found this success as the website celebrates its fifth anniversary. Two of many people who use this method to broadcast themselves online are Kevin Wu (known online as KevJumba), a sophomore at UC Davis, and Ryan Higa (or Nigahiga), 19, who attends the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Both of them upload videos as often as they can in order to gain more subscribers, which further increases their popularity.

These teenagers have built something from nothing. They strive for publicity with no record deals, ad promotions or a real debut. Instead, their fame is achieved solely through YouTube, where any video can spontaneously gain views until it becomes one of the most popular videos on the web. This chance at stardom is grabbed by many people who update their channel. KevJumba and Nigahiga have succeeded in becoming famous on YouTube, although they are still attempting to gain more subscribers and more views.

Nigahiga’s channel is very different from KevJumba’s channel. Nigahiga generally posts videos of himself trying on several costumes and acting as different characters. For example, he has a short series of “how to” videos such as “How to be Gangster,” which has received around 9 million views. KevJumba’s videos usually consist of him talking to his webcam while he incorporates a few dance moves. His dad, shown joking around and lecturing him, is often a guest star in his videos.

Videos like these have made KevJumba the 11th most subscribed of all time and the 7th most subscribed comedian. Since 2006, he has reached just under 1 million subscribers on his main channel.

“The reason why I find KevJumba truly hilarious is because other YouTubers have to try really hard to make people laugh by using special effects and bizarre props,” said sophomore Kylie Tseng. “KevJumba just states his opinions and that’s enough to crack me up.”

Wu also has another popular channel, JumbaFund, which has about 500,000 subscribers. As a YouTube partner channel, JumbaFund earns ad revenue every time someone watches a video from this channel. Every two months, JumbaFund donates all the revenue earned from Youtube to charity. Each time an episode is viewed, money is donated to the chosen charity of the month.

“The really like the concept of Jumbafund,” junior Bren Veziroglu said. “It’s a great way to make a difference while enjoying myself.”

Nigahiga, on the other hand, takes first place for most subscribed of all time, and is the 6th most subscribed comedian (one place above KevJumba), among other numerous awards. Ever since he started his channel in 2006, Nigahiga has over two million users subscribed to his channel, and has a total view count of over 321 million for his videos.

“With his creativity, Nigahiga produces tons of videos that are really funny,” said sophomore Tim Ling. “His blunt humor, combined with his acting, really makes me laugh, so I make sure to subscribe to his channel.”

Although they have very different methods of making videos, both have achieved their fame through YouTube.

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