Next Influencer and Its Place in YouTube’s Development of Convergence Culture
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AwesomenessTV’s Next Influencer is a webseries that is published on YouTube. Despite its place on a popular online video sharing platform, Next Influencer is produced by a television production and distribution company. It is also marketed as and closely resembles reality television. Containing the titular competition to become the “next influencer”, the show stars social media influencers with already established followings on TikTok as the competitors. In this case study, two episodes of the program were explored through sequencing and close reading analysis in order to investigate whether the webseries carries some of the key characteristics that are traditionally associated with reality television. The results of the analysis have shown that there are significant similarities between this program and the genre of reality television, specifically in the instances that allow performed authenticity. This study has aimed to explain this similarity through television in transition and as a development of convergence culture as in, different media that borrow aspects from each other. The effects of YouTube’s shift towards a more professional and institutionalized content creation platform are also explored here. Through the analysis of Next Influencer and the arguments presented in this thesis, it is hoped to contribute to a broader spectrum of academic topics that include television in transition, the convergence of television and internet, and the current state of YouTube.