The Digerati Dish on YouTube Success

What do you mean there are YouTube celebs who aren't cats?

The Digerati Dish on YouTube Success

Update: YouTube is no longer synonymous with "cat videos."

Tyler Oakley’s YouTube channel has 4.05 million subscribers. Grace Helbig has 2.2 million subscribers on Daily Grace and 1.7 million on It’s Grace. Ze Frank (executive vice president of video at BuzzFeed) creates all kinds of digital art for his personal site, which enjoys a loyal fan base as well. Examples of his work include "How to Dance Properly" and "Young Me/Now Me." During South by Southwest Interactive , Oakley, Helbig, and Frank sat down with Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of Bravo’s Watch What Happens: Live, to discuss fandom, video creation, and comedy in the digital era. That’s right, a discussion largely about YouTube without a cat to be found.

Advice on how to connect with an audience, both technically (across platforms) and emotionally (through content creation), composed much of the conversation. Regarding which social platform online humorists should use moving forward? “It’s coming back around to LinkedIn,” said Helbig. “It’s all about Grindr,” countered Oakley. Frank offered a slightly more serious response: “Lighter-weight peer-to-peer, peer-to-group technologies,” says Frank. “The story of technology seems to go up, and then seems to retract into simplicity over and over again. And we seem to be going into one of those retractions where some of this really simple technology seems to be pretty powerful.” He offers Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp as an example. All the panelists agree: Avoid Snapchat.

When it comes to content, make videos you like; don’t try to make viral videos. “Focus on finding your voice,” says Helbig. She offers an idea on how to get started: “It’s a lot easier to decide for yourself what you don’t want to do versus what you do want to do. Sometimes peeling away all the things you don’t want to do will help you find what you do want to do.”

Super Fandom in the YouTube Age

Friday, March 7, Austin Convention Center

Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at

More South by Southwest
SXSW Expands SouthBites Programming
SXSW Expands SouthBites Programming
David Chang announced as featured speaker

Brandon Watson, Sept. 30, 2014

Two More Acquisitions for SXSW Alumni
Two More Acquisitions for SXSW Alumni
'Honeymoon' and 'Thank You a Lot' picked up

Monica Riese, March 28, 2014

Ta-Nehisi Coates for SXSW 2018
Ta-Nehisi Coates for SXSW 2018
Plus Teen Vogue, The Daily Show, and Charlie Rose

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 30, 2017

<i>Moonlight</i> Director Returns to SXSW
Moonlight Director Returns to SXSW
Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins part of first speaker list for 2018

Richard Whittaker, July 24, 2017

More by Ashley Moreno
Fun in the Sun: Outdoor Activities in Austin
Fun in the Sun: Outdoor Activities in Austin
Where to hike, bike, and wade into cool water

Aug. 25, 2017

So You’re Thinking of Keeping Chickens
So You’re Thinking of Keeping Chickens
Tips for finding the perfect flock

June 30, 2017


South by Southwest, SXSW, SXSW 2014, SXSW Interactive 2014, YouTube, Grace Helbig, Andy Cohen, Bravo, Tyler Oakley, cats, Ze Frank, BuzzFeed

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)