How YouTubers influence Thai people behaviourMarch 26, 2020
In this age of technology, people choose things to satisfy themselves. People become active in the audience. They have the capability to choose what they want to consume.
Youtube is a media platform which has become more powerful nowadays. People receive information that they are interested in. Youtubers are the one who spread new trends to the audience through this platform. They also have many subscribers and viewers.
According to Thumb sub, the statistics records about youtubers in 2019, there are more than 50 million accounts that are active on youtube platforms. 62% of the users are men who are interested in sport and 38% are women who are interested in beauty stuff like makeup.
Moreover, youtube is one of the platforms that is easy to access since people can share videos that they like through other media. People love to share things that they are interested in. They tend to follow youtubers that match with their interest. It can be said that the youtubers can influence or change their attitudes and behaviors.
In Thailand, there are many trends that people follow such as lifetyles, foods, fashion and so on. People usually watch and receive new trends from youtubers. So, the trends people receive might influence their attitudes and lead to behavior change both in positive and negative ways.
From now on, the related information that affected Thai people’s behavior will be shown below.
Postmodernism and Hyperreality/ simulated reality
“ The world we see right now is the world of commodities…..” meaning that social relationships are impacted by the image that we see through the media.
Postmodernism is an idea that says that nowadays we live in a hyperreality world which is defined by image and representations. For example, the celebrities post pictures on their Instagram account. We never know whether it is real or not. But these pictures may influence us to follow their lifestyles.
Hyperreality means the inability of consciousness to separate reality from fantasy especially in the age of technology and postmodern culture. Meanwhile, it is the truth that is not based on reality but because people believe it is real.
An example from contents that we see on youtube called Khun Park channel, one of the famous youtubers in Thailand. His channel contains lots of celebrity activities, for example, meeting with Hollywood celebrities and famous singers like Ariana Gande.
The contents he produced look perfect and luxurious. Audiences love to see the perfect life, and some of them might think that one day they will be able to do those things.They can not be sure whether the contents are real, but they are happy to watch them. Audiences always watch programs that satisfy their needs and wants.
Many youtubers create contents that are easy to understand. It makes audiences easily subscribe and follow them. Lots of their contents refers to pop culture.
Youtubers normally create content about their own lifestyle, games, travel, cooking, beauty, music, etc. Those contents mostly are created to entertain audiences. People tend to watch content that provides entertainment since it is easy to digest.
Beauty blogger in Thailand from Mayrr, Ice Pardy and “Fharada” channel. People who are interested in beauty and makeup are their target group, even teenagers who start taking care of themselves. People watch and follow them because the contents grab their attention, moreover they can experience by themselves following the recommendations of the influencers they love.
Not only entertainment contents that become popular but some youtubers also create content that helps our society.
We are going to give you examples from “NON1LIFE” channel. These guys help the society to clean the river. In the video, they were picking up trash underwater with a powerful magnet.
This girl helped a 78-year-old man selling rice porridge because she saw that there was no customer buying the rice porridge. She promotes his rice porridge through her YouTube channel. Then, people come and buy the rice porridge.
Good practice is an acceptable thing for Thai people’ eyes. Kindness and sharing are represented Thai culture. People want to see something like this.
Another episode of the channel, the guy saw many holes in the street. So, he decided to fix it by himself.
After laughing at the video, the youtubers got a lot of positive feedback from the audiences. Some say ‘you are very good guys’ or ‘Thank you for helping our society’.
The contents created a sense of sympathy, kindness and responsibility for society. That’s why the content is interesting among Thai audiences and got a large amount of viewers and subscribers
Some media content is now a ‘ Commodity’. It is now a product for audiences to choose. According to Use and gratification theory, it states that people choose things that suit and fit their needs. Youtubers always try to create contents that are easy to understand and create some feeling that they can share together with the audience. Audiences can choose the content that suits their interests. If audiences like content that is created by youtubers, they will gain more followers and become more well-known to others.
It is a concept that is used for creating content through media. To explain the concept in a simple way, it is anything that contains value.
Youtubers often adapt this concept when they think about which content they should make. We are going to give you some examples of the content on YouTube and the reason why people love watching these contents, repetitively.
For example, a YouTube channel called StreeMeClass. This channel is all about how to be a perfect woman. It does not mean how to have a beautiful face, body or something like that. But it is how to have good manners and behavior. There are two hosts holding the show and talking about the topic in each episode. There are guests who have been role models in Thai society come and talk about their life in some episodes. The guests talke journey, processes and achievements. The audiences can touch the attitude and adapt it for their life. The hosts also become role models for many people.
They provide topics for women, such as table manners, how to dress properly, social skills in the workplace, good manners when having a flight, and ect. All of these topics are really useful for women. They are basic standard things that women should know about it to behave properly in each situation. The channel has large numbers of people who are following and subscribing because of the value in content itself.
Another example from the “Kaykai Salaider” channel, the contexts she made are about achievements. The contents are about giving mom her 1 million baht. She put the money in a jar and made a surprise for her mom. Another video, she bought her mom a detached house.
“ Bought my dad a car” or “ Gave parents a car” you often see some of this content, right? The Youtubers, as you can see form the pictures below, present their achievements.
Each person used to be a normal person, no fame and some might used to have a worse life in the past. But now since they have become a youtuber and get income, they would like to repay all the kindness of their parents.
As you can see from the comments after launching these kinds of contents, the contents gain a lot of attention from the audiences and make them feel glad about the youtubers’ journey, development and achievement.
What the youtubers were doing in the video is maybe one of some people’ dream, they wish to make something like this for their parents one day. Maybe it touched some people who want to achieve this thing but they do not even have an opportunity to do it.
It could be said that the youtubes put value in their content, what they did is a good inspiration for people in Thai society. They become a role model for most people in Thai society, in the sense of way of life, saving money and repaying parents’ kindness. They show the audiences that a normal person can be a special one, everyone can succeed.
Why Stereotypes ?
Stereotype is a set of ideas that people have about someone or something and it is held by a number of people. There are many contents on YouTube that contain the idea of stereotyping to grab people’ attention.
An example from a YouTube channel called เทพลีลา (Thep-Lee-La). Some videos are provided based on gender, both male and female.
This video was launched under the title “ How do men think about Thai women’ name ?”
They have an inspiration from the BuzzFeed channels, which expressed the attitude of the men among English women’s names.
Thep-Lee-La adapted this concept in Thai version. There were few men in the video who came and talked about the names of Thai women. Some had the same idea but some were different.
Example from the video, some of them said that women named “ May” are aggressive and confident, based on their experiences. But some disagreed, they thought that this name is the name of sweet tidy women.
Even though the video itself contains the concept of stereotyping, they have no intention to judge all women that if you have this name, you must be a good or bad woman. They only show the personal opinion about the name of Thai women based on their perspectives and experiences.
Another example is about the attitude of men toward females’ fragrance and attitude of women towards males’ fragrance. These 2 videos also adapted the stereotype idea. The video shows each opinion grouped personality of people.
But there are also the contents showing the differences between two genders. We are going to give you an example from now on.
“Men try to do an everyday makeup look” The content was created to make men understand why women always take a long time getting dressed and doing their makeup.
“ Women try to wear suits” The purpose of the video is to make women understand more men’ life, how they wear suits. It also goes against some women who think that it is so easy and spend a very short time for men to get dressed.
They also invited their couples in the video allowing the audiences to see both perspectives between men and women.
There is not only the content under the stereotype based on gender, but they try to create content that reduces the gap between men and women, makes men and women understand each other, and avoid stereotyping among both genders as well.
Society of the Spectacle
Spectacles refer to activities that the audiences or subscribers do not do by themselves. They prefer to watch others doing it instead. Some people have the ability to do something that the other can not. You can see some examples of a spectacle idea below.
Let’s begin with this guy, Kayavine. He is one of the popular youtubers who has 988k subscribers. He is Thai but lives and studies in the United States. He tells his life stories through the channel. There are many videos such as being an exchange student, daily life, study, expense for study and life in the United States.
People are interested in his content because they don’t have such experience that he has. His life may be someone’s dream.
He also created many videos about opening mystery boxes which used a lot of money to buy them. So, this is another content that makes people interested. They only watch him open the box and get things, no need to do it by themselves.
How does the media impact life?
Nowadays, Youtube’s content has become something that people normally consume.
But have you ever noticed why it impacts our life?
Since the distinction between media and society has collapsed, it become hyper-reality which audiences might not know whether it is real or not, and it affects us.
Audiences consume media all the time. They might believe and follow what has been said on the video without any concerns. Audiences have lost their sense of the difference between real experience and simulations of them.That’s why we should think more when we consume the media.
Because of the impact of youtube content, it creates images of experience. The image that we see on YouTube has already become more interesting than its original. And yes, because audiences consume media all the time, and they might see it over and over again. This causes images on video to become more real than reality.
Reviewing first class on airplanes has become a popular trend for youtubers right now. It affects audiences in a way of experience, audiences might feel less excited while they are in first class since they have seen it already in the video.
Same feeling with some tourist places, audiences might feel like they have seen it before and less excited.
Celebrities – Two Step Flow Theory
According to two flow theory, stated that the opinion leaders received the original message and delivered it to the target audiences through their own ways. They add and adapt some of their information and knowledge to suit their target audiences.
Audiences try to follow their opinion leader lifestyle which is hyperreality because they can not be sure what is real or fake.
YouTuber in Thailand have many different lifestyles and occupations , especially celebrities that have fan clubs before they become YouTuber, so most celebrities have different lifestyles from normal classes. For example, Khun Park’s diary is one of the famous channels that mostly videos on his channel is about his lifestyle. One of his videos, he went to America to watch the Arina Grande concert which mostly he bought VIP tickets for meet and greet. Moreover, he has already been to watch Ariana Grande concert 7 times.
VATANIKA channel is one of popular channels which shows the life of Vatanika Patamasingha. She is a fashion designer that her brand called VATANIKA, same as the name of the channel and her name. Moreover, she has a maid, called SA-JA, to clean her room which is normally life, but in a different part, her maid has a uniform and one of her videos, her bathroom has two sinks that look normal, but she uses only one sink, because she thinks one sink has for showing and another for using.
Papuean Skulthai channel is one of celebrities in Thailand, her channel is about reviewing brand name and her life with mother.Furthermore, her video is reviewing brand name, especially bags such as Chanel and Hermès which all of her bags is not normal bag, but it is a limited edition or unique shape. Additionally, one of her videos is about Christie’s auction that is different from the normal life of many people and this video shows the environment and processing to attend the auction or Christie’s auction member.
Thai Youtubers have artworks which parodies the original work such as a series, television program, song, etc. For example, Bie The Ska is one of popular channels that has ten million subscribers. This channel has a lot of content , mostly the content is a parody of songs.
They do parodies because the majority of people love funny stuff. These contents are easy to understand and they are easy to interpret by the audiences. Most parodies are imitated from famous songs, series and other media content that are well-known from people.
For example, Bie, a channel owner, created his own song which is a parody of the original one called My Ambulance which is the most popular song of Nadao Music in this period of time.
Another example from Buffet channel. There are parody contents. The popular parody video on this channel is about Thai movies which is “I’m fine… thank you… love you”. Moreover, this movie is about an engineer who wants to go abroad to meet his girlfriend, but he cannot speak English. So he learned English from a famous tutor that is perfect. Parody version of buffet channel is named “I fine… fucking… love you”. The story is about teaching the sex.
Ple nakorn channel is mostly about family life, but this channel also has a parody which is a parody of a television program. Moreover, parody videos in this channel is the face which is the most famous television program in the world and the concept of the program is that normal people have a dream to become a model. However, the parody version is the fat which is about a fat model.
Not only are parodies that have been viral on YouTube content nowadays, but also with content that refers to Intertextuality. Which Intertextuality is a similar idea of content but represents in a different way. This might reference music, book, comic, or plays where the idea gets remixed.
They use intertexture because most of them are from famous media contents. They are all well-known by the audience which can grab people’s attention on their created contents. These make people more understanding and create feelings along the video.
For example in this video, they made fried rice with added crips and instant noodles based on a recipe from the animation movie ‘Weathering with you’.
Pros and Cons
Youtubers influence Thai people in different ways. They have both positive and negative benefits when they try to inform, entertain or persuade their audiences via their contents. One of the advantages that pass from youtubers to audiences is youtubers bring new trends to the audience. We ,as a Thai citizens, gain a lot of culture and new trends of the world from youtubers that we like.
For example, my friend loves to watch Kru’ Lookgolf, which the channel presents the content about language and how to use it wisely. We learned a lot of new vocabulary and how to be more confident speaking with the foreign.
Moreover, youtuber can be the first one who tries new things for us. They usually come up with new products that we might be interested in.
For example, most beauty bloggers are always sponsored by cosmetic companies. They are always the first one who tries the product. Their job is to review the product for an audience who is interested and help them make a decision. We as an audience love to see those reviews to help us make the best decision before buying a new product.
They are also the one who inspire us. For example Mejimill channel, she is a teenager who can buy a car herself. She used her money without bothering her parents. Thai teenagers follow her a lot since she is cute and delightful. She can be an inspiration for other kids to earn money in order to get things that they want without bothering their parents.
On the other hand, youtubers also influence Thai people’s behavior in a bad way. As everyone can reach the internet, we have the freedom to search for things that we want to watch. Children are one of the biggest parts of social media. Some youtubers present content that is not appropriate to younger people. They use bad words and bad actions in the video. For example, in Tae Exzenfire channel, there is one clip where he uses many bad words against people that do not like him.Also ,he always creates content which can lead the younger generation to violences. He posted a video that teaches how to make a gun from fireworks. He also made his dog drink cola which is not good for its health.
Another youtuber that many people do not like is Dom from Dom Teamwork. He and his friends always post clips that influenced from foreign youtubers. The content is all about evaluating society. For example there is a clip where he uses a very luxury car to pick up a girl. After picking up a girl, he called her gold dicker. Also, he uses a lot of stereotypes in the channel. He tries to dress up in two different ways, poor and rich, to observe the reaction of people around him.
This kind of video sure can grab lots of attention since many people found out it is entertaining even-though it makes nonsense , but children may not separate what is right or wrong. These actions can affect the way younger people speak and act which is not good for our human resource for the future.
In conclusion ,youtubers have an influence on Thai people’s behavior in many ways. Youtubers are the one who publish their story or interest in the media which every Thais be part of. People copy action from youtuber that they adore. Some actions might be good or it might cause harm to the audience depending on what angle they choose to follow. Postmodernity is an age where nothing is right or wrong, however people should be aware of what is good for them so they can improve themself and adapt to the world in the future.
Authors : Kanokporn Parkorplabpon, Jinjutha Chemcharatsin, Chanya Jintanakul, Ananya Nooplai