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2015 was the year I really started watching YouTube. Before I had gone on little one-hour viewing adventures around the platform, but 2015 was when I began to really engage with content. Not long after my sub box was already filled with a lot of content creators - charlieissocoollike, Christina Grimmie, danisnotonfire, Emma Blackery and many more - and I realized that this was something I wanted to try myself.

Fast forward to 2016 when I was asked to start thinking about a topic for my university dissertation. I was studying film, but was spending most of my time outside of uni watching YouTube videos, imagining what the life of a content creator might be.

Eventually I realized - why not combine the two?

So I decided to write my dissertation on the establishment of an authentic self on YouTube. In a format that is inherrently artificial, completely controlled by the creator, how is it that people still manage to convey an approachable, likeable, inviting, spontaneous and thus authentic self?

As such, my Honours Year Creative Research Project was split into two halves. A creative half, wherein I regularly uploaded videos to YouTube and kept a reflective log of my experiences, as well as a research half; wherein I researched mediated authenticity across different platforms, what is perceived as authentic and why we get so attached to people we only see on a screen. Finally I combined the two,  analyzing my own experiences on the platform within a greater context of mediated authenticity.

It is available below to read and download.

As I am continuing with my channel, I know that there is still plenty of research to be conducted in this sector, so if you want to discuss different aspects of YouTube culture and authenticity with me, I would be incredibly happy. Simply send me an email and let's see where it leads!

An exploration of being yourself on YouTube, drawing on Personal Experimentation and Academic Research