In addition to entertaining, animating, and telling a funny story, Thorne wants to send a positive, influential message through all of his anecdotal videos (okay, most of them — other times, a funny story is just a funny story). However, having a preachy attitude will not get you views on YouTube. So Thorne takes a different approach.
“We have sixteen seconds [in YouTube videos],” he explained. “In the first sixteen seconds, you have to say something that grabs [your audience].” In this way, Thorne makes sure people don’t stray from his videos after the initial click. By the end of the video, he’s hit his viewers with a message, and they didn’t even notice.
“If I have a voice, I want it to be somewhat positive, where I think about the consequences [of my actions],” he said. He tries to put this idea in his videos, “sometimes in overtones, sometimes undertones.” For example, in his video where three women invited him to engage in a foursome, he mentioned that though he wanted to jump into action, he took a step back and conceived of the fallout first, ultimately allowing him to take a different course of action.
This leads to email responses from his audience, in which fans tell Thorne about actions of their own that they thankfully second-guessed because they thought of that very video. “Those are the kinds of stories I love hearing,” Thorne affirmed, “because I know [my videos] are affecting people.”
Ultimately, that’s what Thorne aims to do. In a world where there are “lots of not so great influences in music and on TV,” he “cares” about his subscribers, which is important when you’re a vlogger, a creative form that requires giving your authentic self to your audience. “When I’m telling [my viewers] these things, I’m trying to effect [their] lives.” He does this by giving advice that he believes, for instance, will help viewers achieve long-term relationships and not just one night stands.
With the hope to “challenge people through [his] videos to be the best person they can be,” Thorne uses the same secret employed by the likes of Mary Poppins. “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” and in Thorne’s case, the sugar is his entertaining tales marked by fun animation, while the medicine take the form of his life lessons.
To hear more on the roots of Thorne’s drive to inspire, tune into his interview on “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”