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Ever wondered what it'd be like to surf a video-less YouTube?


In the fast-moving world of YouTube, it's hard to keep up. With creators uploading videos, sharing on Twitter, creating Snapchat stories, and engaging in every other form of social media imaginable, the canon of the fandom is ever-expanding. Thankfully, one Twitter account is distilling the world of YouTube into easily digestible nuggets of information that will keep you informed about the video platform's goings-on—without ever actually watching a video.

The mastermind behind @YTuberUpdates is 16-year-old New Jerseyan Ryan Curran. He began YouTuberUpdates in January 2014 on a snow day, inspired by other Twitter fan accounts for acts like One Direction and Justin Bieber. The account grew quickly, with more than 6,000 followers in the first month of it running, and has grown to 45,700 followers in less than a year.

YouTuberUpdates isn’t a promotional kiss-ass, however. The account doesn’t endlessly retweet YouTubers, or even link out to their projects. Instead it adopts a straightforward, almost affectless style of simply stating what a certain YouTuber is doing or what the underlying theme of their most recent video was. Sometimes an update feels nonsensical, though, if you’re not plugged into the world of YouTube that Curran is following.

For Curran, that style was a conscious choice.

“Since the beginning of my account I never linked any YouTubers in my tweets mostly because I thought it looked better and sounded more informational,” Curran told the Daily Dot. “People never ask me to link YouTubers in my tweets but sometimes people will ask me to link them to a picture of the update or the video.” 

YouTuberUpdates isn’t the only update-style Twitter out there (unofficial accounts focused on One Direction can command half a million followers), but in covering stars of a medium that’s inherently visual, the text-only storytelling lends a certain otherworldly quality to the missives. At the very least, it’s inherently teen in style, keeping the account linguistically authentic to the demographic, a kind of authenticity full-fledged adults have trouble matching

Staples of the account are the big names of YouTube that the post-high school social media crowd might vaguely recognize, but are staples to the under-18s. Curran frequently updates about Lohanthony, Tyler Oakley, the boys of Our2ndLife, and much of the AwesomenessTV crowd. It’s decidedly not an update on all things YouTube, as adult-aged powerhouses like Smosh or PewDiePie get nary a mention, even though demographically they appeal to the same age range. It’s more of a update board of fans' contemporaries than an all-encompassing news account. Curran admits that he gives preference YouTubers he likes personally, like Miranda Sings, but he also has no one to answer to than his fan base.

“Someone is worth an update tweet based on how popular they are,” Curran said. “I'm not going to tweet about YouTubers who aren't that popular because the tweet wouldn't get many retweets and favorites, which is the overall goal for my updates. I pick out bits of information from things a YouTuber says in a video, what a YouTuber is doing in an Instagram post, or something they tweet about.”

To keep up with the overwhelming world of YouTube, Curran keeps up a strict regimen of video consumption in between his responsibilities as a high school student.

“A typical day for me would be waking up, checking my phone, going to school if it's a school day, and coming home at 3,” he said. “From then on I would watch YouTube videos trying to find updates and doing my homework. I try not to spend so much time on the Internet, but I probably spend at least five hours a day online.”

Curran, who is a YouTuber himself, says he can’t imagine a world without the platform.

“I've been watching YouTube since I was in third grade, and it's a universal platform with millions of videos that can be about anything,” he explained. “I wouldn't have my account without YouTube, obviously.” 

Illustration by Jason Reed

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