Jake Paul Will Teach You To Be Social Media Famous, For A Price

One of the many thumbnails from videos calling Edfluence a scam
One of the many thumbnails from videos calling Edfluence a scam YouTube via StyleTech

The preteen dream used to be to end up on television, an idol showing off her belly button piercing in front of millions of fans on TRL. With the rise of the internet comes another fantasy: social media stardom. Pop idol posters no longer line the walls of America’s youth, they’ve been replaced by vloggers and YouTubers in subscription boxes. Breaking into the public eye and earning a living making videos isn’t easy; only the lucky manage to become viral overnight. Still, that’s not going to stop some social media stars from cashing in on all those doe-eyed hopefuls eager to become the next big thing.

Jake Paul, the Paul brother that didn’t vlog in the Japanese Suicide Forest but did say the n-word in a leaked rap freestyle , announced a new business venture in a video this week. Edfluence is an online course to help you “get started building your audience and becoming an influencer,” according to its website. For a fee, the younger Paul brother will share all of his secrets so that you will be able to “KILL IT on social” and become an online celebrity. For the millions of young fans who follow his exploits, regardless of the mainstream drama he finds himself in, it seems like a dream come true. Twitter is full of people embarking on this quest for social media fame, proudly showing off their new purchase and their commitment to their dream turning into reality.

After completing a “what type of influencer are you?” quiz, with important questions about what you’re like at a party, you’ll be prompted to pay seven dollars to become part of “Team 1000.” With this first paywall breached, you’ll have access to the “social media overview” class, a 30-minute video that looks like something Paul shot in an afternoon, telling you the bare-bones basics of using social media on the internet and the basic “roadmap.” Want videos about branding, video editing or Snapchat? You’re going to have to pay another 57 dollars to join “Jake’s Inner Circle.”

Edfluence does have a disclaimer offering a refund after 30 days, but if you check the terms of service, that turns out to be a lie. Section 4.3, titled refunds, says all “all fees and charges paid by you in relation to the Service are nonrefundable” except if you cancel within three business days of your order. Maybe it’s just miscommunication in Paul’s legal department, but that does seem fairly fishy.

YouTube is full of “Jake Paul Scammed Me” videos,” with many shocked at the predatory payment system squeezing out as much cash as possible from Paul’s young fan base. YouTuber My Name Is Martin asks fans to share his video so “other people won’t throw out their seven dollars for something they’ll never get delivered.” One of Paul’s lessons is to always share your content with a clickbait thumbnail and an outlandish title, so maybe these courses do actually work.

The Paul brothers epitomize social media superstardom. Starting off on the six-second clips of Vine, they migrated to YouTube with a massive, young audience. In a Vice interview at Jake’s NYC pop-up shop, full of preteens vlogging and their unamused parents, he says that the average “Jake Pauler” is “between 8 and 18 years old.” These young kids crave his merchandise and attention, standing in the cold for hours for just a chance to be near their idol. You don’t think they could get their parents to spend a few dollars so that they can live their dream?

I can’t judge Edfluence’s content first-hand, because I am not giving nearly 60 bucks to a clickbait mogul. There seem to be tons of good reviews across all social media platforms from fans claiming they learned a lot from their courses. And, if it’s actually helping people, who am I to judge its validity?

The biggest problem with Edfluence, though, is you can’t just learn how to be a social media star. Virality can’t be predicted; factors like site algorithms, follower count and random chance affect your chances of getting 100,000 likes on Twitter or landing on the front page of reddit. Today it’s a pig getting a bath and tomorrow it’s a social media star saying racial slurs in a rap.

If you’ve tried Edfluence, tell us about your experience in the comments.

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