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Facebook and Twitter Will Dangle Ad Revenue to Lure YouTube Stars

The social media companies want more video and bigger audiences-- but will ad dollars be enough to win over internet celebrities?
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Ricky Dillon is 24, but his spiked bleach-blond hair and multicolored metallic nail polish that shines on his right fingers make him look younger. He has about 3 million followers on YouTube, where his specialty is “reacting funny to things,” as he puts it. His light-hearted, lo-fi videos are labeled with such bright, bubble-lettered titles as “3 BOYS, 26 POSITIONS”—which is not what it sounds like. It’s Dillon and two friends contorting themselves into the shape of alphabet letters, and it has 1.2 million views. 

That’s an audience that Twitter and Facebook want. But Dillon rarely posts on Facebook, and he’s never used Facebook Live—“Facebook's weird,” he said—and he hasn't tried Twitter's Periscope, either. “YouTube's like my base, everything else essentially promotes back to my YouTube,” Dillon said. He started his channel in 2009.