Document Type

Honors Thesis


Being a social media influencer isn’t something you can just audition or interview for, which leaves many people confused on how to become one. According to MediaKix, being an influencer on YouTube is becoming a popular career goal for younger kids (“Why 75%”). It seems that many people today look to YouTube for entertainment and to help them escape the reality of life. It gives people the chance to find someone, an influencer that they can relate to or feel like they are friends with. The history of social influencers and how they are useful to brands when advertising their products to consumers is important in grasping the meaning of influencers today. To comprehend how influencers on YouTube make money, it begins with understanding the features on the platform like AdSense and video monetization. To better understand how people become influencers, I conducted a case study looking into the lives of four popular YouTube creators. It seems that many of the biggest creators on the platform had no media presence beforehand and essentially built their fanbase from the ground up. This study also showcases their growth as they branch into other projects outside of social media. The focus of this thesis will be to explain how creators on YouTube have become influencers and how this has become a financially successful career path.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.