Social Media a ‘Valid Career Option’ for Web Celebrities

Photo Courtesy of Jason Howie, Flickr Creative Commons

In the last few years, the use of social media has grown immensely thanks to websites like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and video sites like YouTube and Vine. For most people, these services are used for personal enjoyment, but for others, these social media platforms have grown into something much bigger: careers built upon and through social media have become a reality, allowing people to profit from their internet popularity. While some may disagree with social media as a job, it is now a valid career option. 

Today, most social media stars’ popularity and fame stems from a single post going viral — whether it is something funny, someone showcasing their talents or something informative. Some people have even been lucky enough to show themselves for the entire world to see. This “luck” has bothered many people, because they feel like the idea of being paid to post on social media is not fair or merited. 

Michelle Phan, a social media star that I follow, is a good example of someone who has made social media a career.

She focuses her YouTube channel on beauty and posts makeup reviews, as well tutorial-style videos filled with beauty tips and tricks. Currently, she has more than 8 million subscribers on YouTube and roughly 2 million on Instagram. She also has a partnership with the makeup company Lancôme and was recently able to create her own makeup line, “Em.” As of this year, her net worth is $50 million.

With all of the money that Phan is bringing to YouTube from her many viewers, it is only right for her to be paid by the website.

In an article on people partnering with YouTube to make money, Carla Marshall writes that “Anyone whose account is in good standing can become a YouTube partner through expressly allowing YouTube to place advertising in, on, and around your video content.”

She also writes that based on the advertising and the number of views a video garners, YouTube will get about a 45 percent cut of what the YouTuber makes. Although it is slightly less than what the people will make, all sources of social media being used are benefitting because of the attention and traffic they receive.

Some people are upset that through these platforms, people are able to find endorsements through other companies, just like Michelle Phan did with Lancôme. However, it is not as if it happens overnight: the majority of Internet stars have been building an online presence for years and have only just found success due to the rise in social media usage.

The only way for people to become known is for people to watch them and share what they like.

For many of these people, this is a job that requires work seven days a week. From filming multiple videos to editing, all of this takes many hours a day. Also, many of the people who have chosen Youtube as their platform have established a schedule in which they will upload several videos multiple times a week for their subscribers. They have to come up with new material and keep to their work schedule in order to get content up on time each week. 

Carrie Kerpen, writer for, wrote an article on social media as a career. She speaks about what is needed in a post to be successful. She says, “Great content is about being valuable to consumers. That means either informing them, entertaining them, saving them money, inspiring them, or simply knowing what they want in what medium.”

There are many hardworking people who dedicate their lives to posting on social media. Many have left their jobs and made the creation of online content their full-time occupation. I feel that with everything that goes into making these posts entertaining for the world, social media artists should be credited for it.