YouTube’s Happiest Family – The Shaytards

YouTube-BLWith the growing interest of online communication and surfing the World Wide Web, people from all over the world have been exposed to the realm of YouTube. Composed of different channels from millions of users filming various experiences, YouTube gives this generation the opportunity to share moments in an instant with merely the click of a mouse. However, YouTube provides so much more than just a domain for sharing videos – it bestows an incredible impact on its viewers and sharers each and every minute of the day. One of the most inspiring and growing communities on YouTube is known as the ‘Shaytards Rebellionites.’. Contrary to its unappealing name and rather disturbing sound, this community is composed of millions of viewers who watch daily videos of an inspirational man and his family. On his YouTube channel, Shay Butler and his family are known as the Shaytards and continue to shape and mold the perspective of life for the majority of his viewers.

According to, YouTube viewers are comprised of people of all ages, both genders, and from almost every country in the world. YouTube is both nationally and globally ranked as the 3rd most visited website on the internet and is used from homes, schools, and workplaces daily (alexa). YouTube videos are known to be used for tutorials, music, and in the Shaytards circumstance, for entertainment and comfort. The average visit on YouTube lasts about seventeen minutes and each user explores about twelve pages per visit. However, with the Shay Butler’s video lengths and captivating interest on his YouTube channel, the latter statistics may seem incorrect.

The main Shaytards YouTube page appears just like any other YouTube channel with a banner of several family pictures at the top, a main video titled “Who are the Shaytards?,” and several recently uploaded videos as the page goes on. On the “Videos” tab, the daily videos appear in order from the newest to the oldest video, filmed on Shay’s 29th birthday in 2009. The thumbnails – a screenshot of a moment during the video – and titles of each video are all enticing and draw in the attention of the viewer. These range from Shay in a leotard to a baby being thrown ten feet up in the air during the sunset on Venice Beach. Interestingly, Shay has had the opportunity to discuss the layout of YouTube with its creators and gave the suggestion of the current YouTube Layout – the thumbnail and title appearing in a grid-like fashion in order to easily maneuver through videos.

The ‘Shaytards’ began with the idea of filming every day of Shay’s 29th year of life. The idea grew above and beyond Shay and his wife Colette’s expectations- now going on to year 5 of daily vlogging. Through the use of YouTube, Colette and Shay were able to stop school, quit their day jobs, and display their everyday life on the internet for a living, while supporting all 5 of their children – two of which have been filmed every day of their lives since birth. In an interview with Forbes magazine Shay explained, “I became a YouTube Partner February 2008 and got my very first AdSense check on April 24, 2008 in the amount of $367.40, for a month’s worth of videos. I COULD NOT believe that I was actually getting money for being ‘entertaining’,” (Forbes). By becoming a YouTube Partner, Shay receives a paycheck monthly in accordance with the number of views he receives for his videos. Although YouTube incomes are not publically disclosed, New Media Rockstars provides a list of several YouTubers and their estimated incomes – many of them with six figure incomes.


SONTARD                    PRINCESSTARD                         BABYTARD


ROCKTARD                                        BROTARD

For their protection, Shay and Colette have decided to use “-tard” names for the children to prevent direct negative comments and potential dangers. To the Shaytards community the children are known as Sontard, Princesstard, Babytard, Rocktard, and Brotard. As the viewer audience has increased to over 1 million subscribers and the videos accumulated over a billion views, Shay’s other family members have also decided to join the YouTube world with their own channels – His wife maintains the Katilette channel, his brothers Casey and Logan have created the CaseyLavere and LoganMckay55 channels for daily vlogs, as well as his sister Carlie who has created the CarlieStylez channel for fitness and fashion ideas. Colette has also joined a group of YouTuber mothers who has created TheMomsView channel, where a group of mothers discuss the hardships and joys of motherhood. Shay and Colette also have a separate channel, WhenTheKidsGoToSleep, where the couple talks about everything and anything each Tuesday. The audio of all the videos can also be found in the Podcasts on iTunes. YouTube has allowed the entire Butler family to engage in communication with viewers across the globe in ways previously unimaginable.


  CASEYLAVERE (Shay’s Brother)                  LOGANMCKAY (Shay’s Brother)                  CARLIESTYLEZ (Shay’s Sister)

This method of connecting and interacting with an audience is a rapidly growing means of communication. Not only is Shay able to share his thoughts and daily life with his viewers, but his viewers are also able to provide their thoughts and feedback through either response videos or comments below. Basically, Shay holds out a flip camera and speaks his mind to it, filming his children and their thoughts and actions, whether he is spending time at home or out in public – always receiving stares. He spends his afternoons editing the footage into a 15 to 30 minute video and uploads it to YouTube every evening for his viewers to enjoy. Viewers are able to experience firsthand the inside of their home, the experiences the children face at school, and the hardships Shay and his wife encounter. With each vlog, Shay portrays a funny and loving parent and spouse every viewer strives to be like. Over the vlogging years, Shay has lost over 100 lbs., ran a full marathon, and paid off all of his loans and credit cards. After five years of daily viewing, one may feel as if he or she personally knows each member of the family. Shay has been told many times that when a fan or viewer has met him in person for the first time, it feels as if they were simply meeting up with an old friend.

Watching the Shaytards differs greatly from watching a show on the television. The videos are made for all ages and every member of the family can enjoy them– many families gather daily to watch the Shaytards vlog (video blog) together. The videos are also interactive to an extent; if one day Shay asks for an opinion, the comments and feedback to that video impact the content included in the next. He reads and responds to many comments on every video. There have been many response videos that have shared how Shay’s words and actions have tremendously impacted the way families have interacted or inspired an individual to become better parents, and in some situations, saved lives. Several cancer patients and suicidal individuals have found inspiration in Shay and his family to keep fighting and pursuing the beauty in life. The power of these videos is amazing, in which the Butler family living in Los Angeles, California can merely film and share their experiences, and then influence and uplift another person sitting behind a computer screen.

tanktshirtsockshatbraceletphone case

Shay has changed the YouTube community by creating the ‘Maker’ company which works with other YouTubers in creating content for their channels. Other well-known YouTubers such as Charles Trippy, the bassist for the band We the Kings, Snoop Dogg, and Richard Simmons, have used Maker in creating new content. Through the Shaytards channel, countless connections and friendships have been built. Because of Charles Trippy’s new method of acquiring a wider audience, other bands have also taken up the opportunity of expanding a fan-base by creating behind the scenes YouTube videos. When Shay mentions a fellow YouTuber, he or she receives a sudden increase in views and subscribers. The same outcome occurs when companies ask for brand deals. KIA, Hot Wheels, Vita Coco, and Windex are among the few who have asked Shay to promote their product and he has done so successfully. The Shaytards channel has allowed for the expansion of audiences for different products as well as for other YouTubers. Another large source of income for YouTubers is their sales in merchandise. Shay has partnered up with RodeoArcade and sells several items which the Shaytards community proudly wears. The items include T-shirts, tank tops, phone cases, hats, stickers, socks – which have even inspired a music video, and the most extravagant, ShayCarl shoes. As part of the Shaytards community, I am a proud owner of a Shaytards T-shirt and phone case.

Because Shay and his family are constantly collaborating and flying out to meet up with his fellow YouTubers, the Shaytards community is also familiar with his YouTuber friends as well, including: KassemG, LisaNova, Sxephil, CTFxC, and HiimRawn. Each of these YouTubers has thousands of subscribers and shares a majority of the same audience due to their friendships. Each year, VidCon – also known as Video Conference – allows the YouTubers and their viewers to meet up and celebrate their mutual love of vlogging and sharing videos. They are also able to sport their merchandise in addition to selling it. Currently, Shay and his YouTube friends are working together to produce a documentary, called Vlogumentary, presenting their success stories as well as the hardships they face each day with their unique jobs. With this documentary, Shay hopes to give rise to YouTube, bring awareness to those who are unfamiliar with the vlogging world, and give a new perspective of vlogging to daily viewers.

With the power of YouTube, Shay Butler and his family have been able to utilize this new method of communication for a lifestyle. Each day their lives revolve around YouTube and the audiences they portray their lives for. From a simple idea of filming each day for one year of his life, Shay has been able to not only provide for his family but also impact the lives of millions of people who wake each day expecting to be uplifted by his words and actions that day on

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