Deyes video didn't just feed into cruel narratives about poverty. It revealed the emptiness of his—and his co-stars—cynical brand of internet fameby Caroline Crampton / June 19, 2018 / Leave a comment
We all have a place on the internet where we go when we need to switch off our brains for a while. Maybe you click through endless Wikipedia pages about defunct German principalities, or log onto a gaming livestream to stare at someone you don’t know playing Football Manager quite badly.
Personally, I head over to the site of the most banal set of pixels I know: the YouTube channel of 24-year-old Alfie Deyes.
I’m not the only one watching. Deyes has over four million subscribers on his “PointlessBlogVlogs” channel—it’s almost like he knows I think his work is eye-glazingly vapid—where he uploads a video almost every day documenting the minutiae of his life, and another seven million combined on his channels dedicated to gaming and lifestyle videos.
A million a year
He’s been posting videos of himself on the internet since 2009, and is also part of a wider network of extremely popular and influential online celebrities who do the same: his girlfriend is Zoe Sugg, who has nearly 17 million subscribers on her two “Zoella” channels, and his friends include Casper Lee (over 7 million subscribers) and Marcus Butler (over 6 million).
His videos—and the associated merchandise, sponsorships and book deals—have made Deyes extremely wealthy: he is estimated to be earning at least a million pounds a year.
Given this, it perhaps isn’t surprising that he has now attracted a backlash with a video about trying to live for a day on just £1.