Considering the current state of affairs on YouTube, there isn’t much that’s looking good at the moment. From the recent shooting to hackers deleting the “Despacito” music video, the corporation has been on the receiving end of more bad press than ever.
In the midst of all the bad news, however, there will always be creators on YouTube who produce quality content to liven up any bad day. And one of the most successful YouTubers who fall into this category is Jenna Marbles, a longtime face on the site who has managed to flourish just by being her authentic self.
Jenna Marbles first made waves within the YouTube community in 2010, the catalyst being the release of her then-viral video “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking.” Since then, Jenna has only gained more clout online as she put out more content.
Early Jenna Marbles videos possessed a unique balance of shock value and relatability, and their crass yet poignant social commentary was, and still is, popular among Internet users. From ranting about her annoying roommate to doing a skit as Hillary Clinton, Jenna continue to satisfy viewers with her brash sense of humor.
Jenna’s personality online quickly became known to millions of people, and she is still more popular than ever today. But how did this happen? During the relatively short lifespan of YouTube content, very few creators from the early days have survived and thrived in 2018. And it is equally, if not more difficult, to build a following from nothing in a couple years or less.
Yet, here exists the Jenna Marbles channel, posting almost every week since 2010. More than that, plenty of people are still watching. Jenna Marbles’ videos regularly end up on the YouTube trending page and garner several million views each. If anything, Jenna is more successful than ever.
Jenna Marbles’ success depends on multiple factors but ultimately boils down to one thing: authenticity. Jenna has done an excellent job of bridging the gap between the webcam-in-the-bedroom YouTuber of 2008 and the polished content creator of 2018.
After all, YouTubers could originally gain popularity in spite of their poor production quality. If you had a personality and an internet connection, you could theoretically make it online.
This is the exact path that Jenna Marbles followed in her early years as she filmed her videos on a webcam in front of the same background every week. She used the default iMovie music and an absurd number of jump cuts, but those stylistic choices added to the charm of it all. Such was a part of the early YouTube aesthetic, and Jenna thrived because of it.
Authenticity can only get you so far if your content is lackluster, after all. However, Jenna’s creativity and humor have allowed her to keep up with the times without seeming too trend-oriented. Relatively recent gems such as “Prank Calling In Sick From Jobs I Don’t Have” and “My Dogs’ Wedding” are just two examples of original content made by her.
Though they aren’t the most intellectual of ideas, Jenna Marbles is always certain to produce something unlike what you’ve seen before. At the end of the day, the channel has stayed afloat because viewers love the person behind the videos. No number of challenges or tag videos can make you a good content creator; there’s an immense amount of talent and hard work that goes into it.
For the most part, people have remained loyal Jenna Marbles viewers because she has maintained her interesting, funny self while still being innovative with her content. She never “sold out” in the eyes of her core audience, and she still cranks out interesting videos every week. And if she feels a video isn’t up to par, she’ll say it up front.
In her recent video “My Dogs Eating Popcorn ASMR,” Jenna and her longtime boyfriend Julien mentioned how their hamster had just died, and therefore Jenna wasn’t feeling up to doing a high-production video that day. Instead, she posted six minutes of her dogs eating popcorn, which was still somehow entertaining. It’s this sort of transparency with her audience that makes following Jenna all the more rewarding.
Despite having been on YouTube eight years, Jenna Marbles videos never give off this air of manufactured-ness that comes along with an older YouTuber changing their content to fit with the times. For example, her formatting of video titles and thumbnails has hardly changed since she started YouTube.
Her titles are always a little too literal, such as “Cutting And Coloring My Boyfriend’s Hair,” and are always accompanied by an unedited thumbnail. Though YouTube has moved toward favoring flashy titles and thumbnails, Jenna has stayed true to her style regardless.
And unlike many other top creators, she doesn’t seem inclined to star in her own YouTube Red show or write a book not because those things are necessarily bad, but because they just aren’t for her.
To stay relevant on YouTube usually means having to stand out from the crowd, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in a good way. Being entertaining has become more important than being a good person, as is often the case when it comes to fame.
This is how clickbait has taken hold, flourishing among the mediocre creators who have a desire to stand out. Despite such pressures, Jenna has not succumb to these cheap tactics.
Furthermore, Jenna has also kept herself grounded despite achieving such monumental success. Instead of letting YouTube fame go to her head, she has actually matured throughout her career. Compared to her older videos, where she often posted angry rants, she now prefers to just have fun on camera.
Whether she posts 15 minutes of her dyeing her own hair or reviewing bad apps, Jenna’s enjoyment is contagious. She always makes the content she wants to make, no matter how stupid the idea may seem.
Jenna is more than a viral video or a washed-up YouTuber clinging to relevance; she is a person who is continuously innovating and thinking about how to best express herself online. As someone who has stayed true to herself while simultaneously improving her content for years, she truly is an example to follow.
Whether you enjoy her content or not, you have to admit that she is a YouTuber worth admiring.