Living for YouTube: an analysis of the PrankvsPrank channel
thesisposted on 2022-11-02, 19:51 authored by Jing Wang
This major research paper aims to analyze the deteriorative effects of YouTube’s demand for performative authenticity coupled with its algorithmic model of compensation. Through a case study of PrankvsPrank’s Jesse and Jeana, this paper will identify the various critical factors that contributed to both the couple’s onscreen success and offscreen romantic failure. More specifically, it will dissect the various ways in which the pressure to maintain and increase subscribers, ‘likes’ and account monetization revenue erodes the values ordinarily sacred within healthy, long-term, romantic relationships. Through engaging in regular acts of self-disclosure and performative authenticity onscreen, Jesse and Jeana were able to foster and leverage the illusion of a genuinely reciprocal (parasocial) relationship with their viewers. Over time, however, the constant and consistent demand for identity work extended beyond their onscreen performance and into every facet of their daily lives—eventually taking precedence over their romantic relationship.