I guess you’ve all heard of the YouTube celebrity Felix Kjellberg A.K.A. Pewdiepie. If not, he is the most subscribed YouTuber with an astounding 40 million subscribers, mostly playing ‘indie’ or unpopular videogames while live commentating the event. In 2015, his annual income is estimated to be 4 million dollars a year and his net worth is estimated around 16 million dollars. And he’s only 25 years old! (Net Worth 2015)
Where does all this money come from?

First, let me freshen up your memory by explaining the phenomenon called ‘Social Commerce’. “Simply defined, social commerce is the fusion of social media with e-commerce or basically the concept of word-of-mouth applied to e-commerce.” (Marsden 2010)
So, in the case of Pewdiepie’s channel there are some signs of social commerce. For example, every month Pewds gets a package containing several collector items which are all related by theme, like ‘Villains’. He unboxes the items on screen and comments on them. At the end of the video he advises people to also buy these ‘Loot Crates’. The video below is one of the examples of this word-of-mouth on his channel.

Another important way companies gain a lot of awareness is when Pewdiepie plays their game. Then, the so-called Oprah effect comes into force. The Oprah effect is the effect that an appearance on a famous show can have on a small business. (Investopedia 2015) Because Pewdiepie nearly has 10 billion views, a recommendation can have a significant influence on the game developers.

Not a lot of people know that Pewdiepie actually is signed under Maker Studios, a company owned by Walt Disney, which produces videos for channels on YouTube. (Maker Studios 2015) The funny thing is, Pewdiepie says in his videos that he never gets paid to promote the videogames he plays. (YouTube 2015)

Is he telling the truth? Or is he lying and exploiting all of his subscribers? That making money is his main motive?
What do you guys think?

– Investopedia (2015) Oprah Effect
– Maker Studios (2015) Makers
– Marsden, P. (2010) Social Commerce: Monetizing Social Media, Hamburg: Syzygy.
– Net Worth (2015) Pewdiepie
– YouTube (2015) Pewdiepie


From smartphones to Phoneblocks.

The other day I was browsing around Facebook, checking on some old friends what they have been up to and I came across this video that was shared by one of them through 9gag called “Forget Samsung and Apple. This is the future…” My first reaction when I read the title was something like “Chyeah, sure… Like you know what you are talking about!” I honestly thought it was another attempt of Nokia, or any other long forgotten phone manufacturer for that matter, to get to the spotlight of the phone industry by making a viral video. Despite my initial skepticism, I decided to watch the video and see what they had to offer.

So after watching this I was astonished. A customizable phone which will not only be all you want but will also attempt to save the world? Amazing, finally, right? But, honestly, this was not really the main point that caught my attention. To my academically trained brain (that´s how I like to call it when I find the terms to be more interesting than the content) the focus point of this video was the amazing combination of crowdsourcing, crowdspeaking and usage of social media in the attempt to launch a new mobile phone.

I have to say, in a sense it reminded me of the Threadless case. Phoneblocks seems to be the same concept built on the community, offering a platform to be creative and to gain a great product from it. However, with a slight variation of the industry, from apparel to electronics. Phoneblocks, if successful, will give lot of opportunities to creative and handy people around the world who are interested in technology and have the interest in building their own blocks. Crowdsourcing 101. We all gain. We could have great blocks we could use on our phones and the creators (as I assume) would gain a slight profit from this.

But for all this to be possible to happen, the whole idea would have to be realized. How, you ask me? As they said in the video, they were using crowdspeaking to raise the buzz and interest in potential investors, companies, designers, people. All this by using social media and people from all over the world who would share their content all at the same time. What is the idea behind this? Well people sharing the same content at the same time would flood the internet with Phoneblocks and nobody would be able to run away from it. People would get suddenly interested and would want to find more about it. Eventually, it would reach the companies and people who can make a difference not only by sponsoring but also by offering ideas and technological knowledge to make this idea happen. But for all this, a huge effort from the broad public would be needed. A crowd, community that desired to change the phone industry and make it what they want. I think it is a brilliant idea with the use of social media to start strong with this project.

Only future will show how this project will evolve and if, in real, the social media boom will be successful start of the journey of Phoneblock. But, after seeing the success of their viral video (more than 15 million views in 2 weeks) I am fairly positive about the outcome and can´t wait to see how this will evolve.


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