Although a few years ago it may have been hard for strong voices to use the Internet as a platform to get their message(s) heard, the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have helped change that. Now, anyone with enough social media savvy or YouTube subscribers can build their own brand, and oftentimes make a decent living off just being themselves. Of course, it’s much broader than that, but the truth is the Internet can be one of the more influential platforms around.
To that point, TIME has just released their latest list of the 30 most influential people on the Internet. It’s filled with some familiar faces in the political sector, including President Barack Obama, as well as a few celebrities, but there are two new additions that have caught many a gamer eye.
Although it’s hard to compare one list member to another, we can report that YouTube celebrity and popular Let’s Play-er Pewdiepie (real name: Felix Kjellberg) as well as feminist games critic Anita Sarkeesian have made the cut for 2015. Each of the influential games media members explore a different side of the industry – Pewdiepie the Let’s Play community and Sarkeesian games criticism – but both were deemed worthy of making TIME’s list of 30.
For Pewdiepie the selection is a no-brainer. As the owner of the most subscribed channel on YouTube (he currently has 35 million subscribers), Kjellberg has the eyes and ears of a younger generation, but one that is no less capable of change. Sure, Pewdiepie’s videos may be silly and his approach may rub some people the wrong way, but there’s no way to deny his reach.
Kjellberg even uses that reach to better the world, as evidenced by his $446,000 Charity Water campaign. All he needed to do was ask subscribers (his Bro Army) for support, and nearly half a million was raised. That’s some influence.
Sarkeesian, on the other hand, has garnered a spot on the TIME’s Most Influential People on the Internet list for different reasons. Her Feminist Frequency video series has drawn considerable attention from games media for its criticism of gaming’s lack of diversity. In some cases, that attention has been good, and others it has been very bad.
Still, there’s no denying Anita Sarkeesian’s polarizing views have helped increase her profile and her reach. Her experience with death threats was no doubt a worrying one, but it also caught the attention of people outside of the game’s media. Stephen Colbert even had Sarkeesian on his show to talk about Feminist Frequency.
It’s no secret that gaming is increasing its reach by massive numbers, but list members like these prove the industry is more than just entertainment. Gaming may be the platform, but someone like Pewdiepie can take that simple act and use it to influence millions of people. And to think it all started with a Swedish guy yelling at a computer monitor.
Do you think Pewdiepie is an influential person on the Internet? Do you follow Anita Sarkeesian’s work?