Social media influencers make up a totally unique class of celebrity. Rising to stardom through social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and the now-defunct Vine, influencers have millions of fans, and the top influencers have found their way to something resembling mainstream fame.
Jake Paul and his brother Logan Paul are two of today’s biggest social media stars, and in some ways, their content is replacing traditional entertainment channels like MTV.
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Jake Paul, though something of a controversial figure of late, has clear entrepreneurial drive. Leveraging his popularity on social media, Paul has launched:
Jake Paul’s social media empire is massive, and with its far-reaching social impact, its teen-focused content, and its focus on compelling personalities, it has all of the power of an MTV for a new generation.
In an interview with Forbes, Jake Paul explained Team 10, saying, “It’s really an incubator for social media talent. We take people who have a lot of potential and teach them how to make content, produce it, etc. Then we move them into the house and we all collaborate.”
The current roster includes:
Former Team 10 Members:
Team 10’s members are bona fide stars among younger social media users. A rotating roster with more than 40 million Instagram followers and over 25 million YouTube subscribers between them, Team 10 is a massive cultural force. According to its website, Team 10 is also looking to “take over Hollywood.”
The enthusiasm surrounding Team 10 members helps each influencer build their following across social media platforms. Team 10 has a dedicated YouTube channel with over 2 million subscribers and an Instagram channel with more than 2.8 million followers, and original content that often features team members posing for photos, doing outlandish stunts, and enjoying life in West Hollywood.
Team 10 is more than the sum of its parts, though. It’s driven by the personalities of its members. Often friendly but sometimes feuding, Team 10 members are today’s reality stars, sans major television deal.
Team 10’s biggest and most recent appearances in the media revolved around a feud between Jake Paul and Alissa Violet, another Team 10 member that he was dating and broke up with.
Paul released a music video called “It’s Everyday Bro,” (currently the most disliked video on YouTube) which was followed by response videos from Violet and from Jake’s brother, Logan. It’s a tangled web of “diss tracks” and rebuttals but succeeded in promoting and drawing attention to Team 10.
For young social media users, Team 10 and Jake Paul are notorious entities. Paul has nearly 20 million fans on Instagram and YouTube, but following the “feud” and a series of controversies surrounding alleged racism, complaints from his neighbors in West Hollywood, and accusations of bullying from his former peers, he’s become something of an influencer “villain.” In fact, the New York Times dubbed Paul an evolution of the reality show villains of yesteryear, reminiscent of Spencer Pratt of The Hills (originally on MTV) and Jonny Fairplay from Survivor.
“This is definitely the evolution of the fame I was going for,” Spencer Pratt told the New York Times, talking specifically about Paul’s now-infamous interview with local news station KTLA. “When I saw the clip, I was definitely jealous.”
Team 10’s similarities to MTV don’t stop with the reality star parallel. In its early days, MTV was its own kind of semi-celebrity incubator. Long before the days of social media influencers, MTV was famous for its VJs — personalities who acted as onscreen talent between videos.
VJs (for “video jockeys,” the video equivalent of DJs) weren’t necessarily big names when they first appeared onscreen, but a number of MTV talents went on to reach mainstream celebrity status. MTV’s exposure to a young audience gave these personalities a platform and launched a number of careers that would extend well beyond MTV.
In much the same way, Team 10’s collective popularity with young audiences, driven mainly by Paul, gives influencers who have smaller followings a springboard to serious social media fame. In the same way that MTV was a talent incubator for VJs like Carson Daly and Hilarie Burton, Team 10 is kick-starting the careers of influencers who otherwise would’ve had a difficult time standing out in a crowded landscape of would-be social media stars.
Team 10 seems to be equal parts reality show, entertainment collective, and talent incubator. But after Jake Paul catapulted himself into mainstream headlines courtesy of Team 10 drama, there’s no question that it has star-making power and the undeniable draw of reality stars. Whether or not Team 10 can achieve its goal of taking over Hollywood remains to be seen, but it’s certainly launching influencer careers along the way.