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Unlikely stars - Jamaicans become hugely popular on YouTube

Published:Wednesday | April 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer

With anywhere between a couple thousand to over 100,000 views per video, Carla Moore is arguably the most popular Jamaican YouTube star.

Blogging, though slow in coming, has long moved out of its struggling early stages in Jamaica as more and more persons begin to grasp its scope and level of integration in more developed countries. A video blog (vlog) is a blogging tool, however, that is only more recently beginning to show signs of significant development in Jamaica.

Moore might not have been the first Jamaican blogger, but the highly opinionated Queens University master's student shared that she sought out YouTube as a venting tool she could use to communicate with her friends and explains that she was not expecting the subsequent frenzy.

"By the next morning I had a thousand views. Of course, I was shocked. I wasn't expecting anyone but five friends and maybe two faas people to watch it," Moore said, adding that people began to comment, encouraging her to make more vlogs.

The result has been the immensely popular 'countryfromlongtime' YouTube channel, with some videos getting more views than some local television programmes.


Moore isn't the only Jamaican who uses social media networking tools to build a presence online. Others such as Rohan Perry, Andrew Trabass and Damali Henry utilise the online world, from YouTube to Twitter to Blogspot and back, in various ways.

These range from skits and comedic vlogs, to posts and content about pressing issues in Jamaica and around the world.

It is interesting to note that Moore and Henry live in Ontario and Montreal, respectively, Trabass in Florida and Perry in Jamaica.

Camile Campell, content manager at eMedia, notes that the existence of these channels illustrates the 'boundary-less' nature of social media and the Internet.

"The Internet is a tool that brings people together, and certainly our generation has taken it one step further with the way we use it. There is a lot being said about how the Internet and technology is detrimental to culture and communication, but social media has actually allowed these people (and many others) to interact in new ways and to open new doors," she said.


Moore had similar sentiments, going on to explain that she has plans to further develop her YouTube page and that she's not above spinning her vlog into a marketing tool either.

"I want to do some content development and see how I can mix it up, maybe even move out of YouTube into some other media. There's a lot that can be done with Jamaica and 'Jamaican-ness' in the digital realm, and I'd like to see how my particular interests can collide there," she added.

All in all, for Moore this has been a learning experience.

"I think I learned that people watch vlogs, as in REALLY watch vlogs. They pay attention to everything, what you say, how you say it, what you're wearing, what's in your background, if yuh hair look good; and they aren't afraid to comment on anything. Also, I learned that people use vlogs as an avenue to have some important discussions, not just fun and joke. There are critical matters that they want to discuss and they often have these discussions in the comments," the YouTube star explains.