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PUBLISHED: Sep 23, 2014 8:00pm

The point of pointlessness

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THE RAKYAT POST By:
NURJEHAN MOHAMED

Alfie Deyes has found fame through his YouTube channel, PointlessBlog, where he posts videos on various random activities such as Googling himself, teaching his mother internet slang, talking about what is on his iPhone and doing various — as the vlog suggests, pointless — challenges. — Pic courtesy of http://youtube.wikia.com/wiki/Alfie_Deyes

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IF Justin Bieber is Gen Y’s answer to music, Alfie Deyes could be its response to literature.

Alfie who, you ask?

Don’t fret if you had not heard of him till now — like the pop star, his fan base consists of mostly prepubescent and teenage girls.

Similarly, Deyes also found fame through his YouTube channel, PointlessBlog, where he posts videos on various random activities such as Googling himself, teaching his mother Internet slang, talking about what is on his iPhone and doing various — as the vlog suggests, pointless — challenges.

But if you have not heard about this English lad, you surely would pretty soon.

He boasts over three million subscribers on his YouTube channel, 1.72 million followers on his Twitter page and nearly 1.7 million followers on his Instagram account to date.

He was named by Yahoo! News as one of 12 “Web-savvy entrepreneurs to watch” last December and was featured on the cover of Company magazine’s January 2014 for its “Generation YouTube” feature.

Most recently, the 21-year-old vlogger has taken the weirdness of his channel and put it into a bestselling book called The Pointless Book.

Don’t expect anything akin to William Shakespeare’s works, though.

This book — part journal, part activity book — seems to be more an extension of his online brand as it includes a free downloadable app for his fans to interact with him.

Packed with a host of games, activities and pranks, Deyes invites readers to join his online legion of fans and challenges them to indulge in acts of “pointlessness” and “do virtually nothing with pride”.

And it has gone straight to the top of The Sunday Times’ bestseller and Amazon UK’s Top 100 lists, which, given his online fan base, is not all that surprising.

Perminder Mann, managing editor of Blink Publishing, which published Deyes’ work, was quoted in an interview with The Independent’s i100 as saying: “Vloggers and YouTubers are shaping the future of publishing. Many of them have more viewers than prime-time TV programmes and the teenage readers of books relate far more to them than traditional authors.” (http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/introducing-the-most-famous-man-youve-never-heard-of–gkzfCFIaEx)

A book signing at Waterstones in Piccadilly had to be cancelled for safety reasons after 8,000 teenaged girls turned up.

It was subsequently held in a more appropriate venue — the ExCel London international exhibition and convention centre — a first for an author.

Still, he has his detractors.

His debut book may have garnered 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, but a quick look at the customer reviews shows a number of people panning it and calling it a rip-off of Keri Smith’s 2007 Wreck This Journal, which invites readers to literally wreck the book by colouring outside the lines, cracking the spine and asking a friend to do something destructive, among others.

While Smith may have authored several such bestselling books on creativity since 2003, her published works have not attracted the same type of attention — probably because she is not a fresh-faced young man who isn’t beyond doing juvenile humour to get fans.

Only time will tell if Deyes is one of the bright sparks who goes on to international superstardom or if he chugs along at the level of stardom he enjoys today.

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/user/PointlessBlog/

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