Anthony Padilla: All the old-school YouTubers still going strong
YouTube was once a niche website where people made weird videos and that was it. Then, one-day people started paying attention to these silly teens and people in their early twenties. They gained followings and created communities based on shared interests. Then YouTube started letting these creators make money via ad revenue and the website was changed forever.
Original YouTubers have been waning in number over the years, which isn’t surprising. Some have moved away from the limelight because their interests or needs changed, others have carefully managed to move their careers to mainstream media, and others have been canceled by the internet.
Meanwhile, usernames like charlieissocoollike and lonelygirl15 give longtime YouTube watchers memory whiplash. And with original YouTuber Jenna Marbles recently canceling herself, it might leave some people wondering who is left from the old-school YouTube days? (Note: JacksFilms should be on the list but we have a whole article for him already over here.)
Anthony Padilla has been making YouTube videos for over a decade. If you look through his catalogue of videos you’ll notice really only his work from the past three years are available with all but a few of his older works being privated. Which is fair, who wants their teen self on the internet to haunt them for eternity?
His videos have changed over the years from edgy humor, parodies, and personal stories, to these days exclusively focusing on his I Spent a Day With series where he spends a day with people from all walks of life including Kidz Bop stars to 911 dispatchers.
Anthony Padilla has a dedicated fanbase, which he has built up over the years and currently has about 4.47 million subscribers.
iJustine is definitely one of the original YouTubers and is still enjoying a very successful online career with 6.52 million subscribers. While Justine does all kinds of videos depending on what strikes her fancy she is best known for her tech videos which range from reviews to unboxings.
iJustine has also recently launched a Twitch channel where she live streams playing video games. Her new channel features a lot of Animal Crossing, but isn’t limited to the Nintendo Switch game – she also plays games like Call of Duty Warzone when she feels like changing things up.
Teens from the 2010s likely remember the popularity of the Green Brothers, AKA the Vlogbrothers, AKA John Green and Hank Green. Their foray into the world of YouTube was originally a one year experiment where the two brothers would only communicate via YouTube videos for a whole year, alternating who would upload a video each day.
The experiment which was intended just for them quickly grew an interested following and the rest was more or less history. Now John is one of the more famous young adult novelists these days, Hank Green has created the YouTube convention VidCon, and the two support other online creators in any way they can – plus they continue to create new ventures all the time.
The Green brothers now have a media company called Complexly, which runs a merchandise website for various YouTubers, and backs countless YouTube channels – including SciShow Science, which has catapulted Hank Green into Bill Nye territory for the next generation.
Hannah Hart, username MyHarto, has been on the platform for a very long time and is best known for her series My Drunk Kitchen where she would cook while drunk, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. (In fact, for a real blast from the past we recommend watching the John Green episode of My Drunk Kitchen.)
Hart still uploads to her channel with 2.4 million subscribers occasionally, however she doesn’t have a daily or weekly schedule like a lot of channels.
Hart has also been moving at least part of her career into mainstream media with her television show I Hart Food on the Food Network. The show follows Hannah Hart as she travels the country looking to find the best food around.
Philip DeFranco started out as a problematic YouTuber who shared hot takes with the aim of being edgy. Which, back then, was a great way to get viewers. He grew up though, as most of us have, and is now a respected member of the news community.
Four days a week DeFranco uploads a video between 12-22 minutes long covering the latest news. Whether YouTube demonetizes his video for “sensitive content” is irrelevant to him – he wants to inform people. He does his best to lay out the facts that are known to prevent misinformation, though he will also provide his own thoughts at the end of a story after he’s provided the facts.
Philip DeFranco has also been working on creating a news network and website called Rogue Rocket in order to build a more reliable brand which doesn’t solely rely on himself. DeFranco has admitted multiple times that at the end of 2020 he will be looking to revamp his own videos and upload schedule.
Helbig is known for being good friends with Hannah Hart and also has a successful and prolific YouTube career. She uploads her own podcast Not Too Deep to her channel and also does wacky videos reminiscent of old-school YouTube like Turning Myself into Baby Yoda.
Helbig also has her own advice book from 2014 called Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up and a 2016 book called Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It. Both are a comedic take on the world of adulting as well as some personal anecdotes from Helbig, but there are gems of advice in there too.
Despite the internet’s best efforts at canceling him, Shane Dawson is a longtime YouTuber who has had wild success. With 22.1 million subscribers Dawson is a force to be reckoned with on the website.
Dawson has an eclectic collection of works ranging from reaction videos, to parodies, to his “documentaries” about other YouTubers.
Dawson has been part of countless YouTube dramas and has recently decided to stop his foray into the beauty guru side of YouTube due to some of the insane dramas he has become involved in.
ZeFrank was once heralded as an inspiration to all the other original YouTubers. ZeFrank made, like most people back then, silly videos of varying content. He took a long break from the site and most people assumed his channel was dead.
However, within the past few years, ZeFrank has returned to his old channel and creates videos for his series True Facts. In these videos he tells strange, true, and often gross or horrifying facts about different animals. He does this bluntly with a deadpan voice and unexpected jokes, which make the videos a delightful binge watch.