You Youtube, eh?

Canadian YouTubers in online communities

MissFenderr, also known as Alayna Fender, is a popular Winnipeg YouTuber.

Photo by Daniel Crump

YouTube interweaves an unimaginably large web of videos, from hours of fail compilations, to engrossing rants, to, of course, cats. 

But where do Canadian YouTubers fit in, and what does it really mean to be a part of the YouTube world?

Alayna Fender, more commonly known by her screen name, MissFenderr, is a YouTuber based out of Winnipeg who has more than a 100,000 subscribers, averaging hundreds of thousands of views on her videos.

“I started making videos when I was 18-years-old,” Fender says. 

She says she got started after binge watching cat videos on YouTube while in high school.

“I was just clicking through the videos that YouTube was suggesting to me, when one of Meekakitty’s vlogs came up. I watched it and that was it, I was hooked on YouTubers and I wanted to be one.” 

Fender covers a range of topics using a vlog esthetic. The videos, which are often recorded in her bedroom, range from a cinnamon challenge video that got more than 2-million hits, to a video where her boyfriend cuts her hair, to conversations about positive psychology. 

“I get to create online content for a living, and I love it,” Fender says. She values the connections she can make with her followers.

“If I can brighten their day by making a funny video, or help them feel less alone by making a video about my own struggles, that’s all I want.”

Fender says YouTube is unlike any community she’s been part of before. She’s met some of her best friends on the site and at conventions like VidCon and Buffer Festival, Canada’s own YouTube festival.

Will Power is a YouTuber based out of Ottawa whose channel revolves mostly around wrestling and comedy.

He says being from Canada can be a bit lonely at times, but agrees that the site is a powerful tool in connecting people. 

“I feel alienated in way, being from Canada, because most of the people I watch are from the US or Europe,” Power says. “There are a select few Canadian YouTubers who are well known and loved in YouTube, so I definitely feel like there’s a growing Canadian YouTube scene.”

Fender says the YouTube scene in Canada is very much present on the site, just not much from Winnipeg.

“People at conventions generally don’t know what Winnipeg is,” Fender says. “I have to explain that I’m from Canada and that Winnipeg is right in the middle. Most people expect that you’ll move to either Toronto or L.A. eventually.”

No matter where they are based, Fender and Power agree that the best part of being on the site as creators is connecting with fans.

“It feels humbling to know that millions of people have watched my videos and have either been entertained, challenged or inspired by them,” Power says. 

Fender especially appreciates that YouTube is for everyone.

“It’s a space where each and every person can find a community where they feel that they are understood, that they belong,” Fender says. “YouTube is about being a part of one another’s lives, wherever they’re from, and that’s what I love most about it.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 4, 2016)