When it was revealed last week that Kristen Stewart had cheated on her boyfriend Robert Pattinson, there was possibly only one person more devastated than R Pattz himself. Emma Clarke, 25, from Carlisle, a huge fan of the Twilight films in which the couple star, posted a self-filmed rant on YouTube that sees her break down in tears over Stewart's actions. "I don't understand why she would do this?" she cries.
The video instantly went viral, notching up a million hits in just one day. Someone who offered their support for Clarke was 24-year-old Chris Crocker, who tweeted "Just saw the video of the Twilight (Kristen/Robert) fan. Keep your head up." Crocker is better known as the young man who hysterically begged viewers to "Leave Britney Alone!" in a similar tearful YouTube rant back in 2007, which has since been watched by 44 million people.
There are thousands of YouTube vloggers who record and post their thoughts on various affairs, anything from celebrity gossip to politics. A 19-year-old Londoner, Olajide Olatunji, received one million hits for his self-recorded, foul-mouthed diatribe against the Arsenal footballer Robin van Persie after he announced his desire to leave the club earlier this month.
Drinking with Bob is a video series of an American sounding off about issues such as gun laws and Mitt Romney's tax returns. Even celebrities aren't averse to uploading ill-advised monologues. Charlie Sheen (much to his publicist's horror, one imagines) posted a to-camera tirade against the makers of Two and a Half Men, after he was fired last year. Long gone are the days where people would take out their frustrations in a journal. Now more and more are choosing to pick up a camera and share their views online.
"It's cathartic: the internet as passive therapist," says Benji Lanyado, a journalist and web developer. "In the old days, anyone in need of a rant could only call on those in their immediate vicinity, often the person sitting next to them in the pub. Today, you have the option of broadcasting it to the world."
The vlogger's rant is often ill-thought out and exceptionally emotional, showing them to be obsessive, even aggressive. Their popularity lies in the audience ridiculing the star. "They often become figures of fun," says Claire Wardle, a director at Storyful, a social media news agency. "It feels a little like Big Brother and the diary room. They are unaware that everyone is laughing at them."
Similar to contestants entering Big Brother, Wardle suggests people often post these videos in the hope of being spotted for bigger and better things. "Often people who start blogging say they're just doing it for themselves, but then you think; why do it online, why not do it in a journal? You have to conclude that they want people to see. There must be an element of them secretly hoping they'll get picked up for a book deal. And producers are increasingly using YouTube as a place to find talent."
But what was the reasoning behind Clarke's emotional video? "I had to say something about it, I had to have my two cents' worth," says Clarke. "I don't think it would feel like a relief if I wrote something in a diary, it wouldn't feel the same. The videos are 100 per cent honest. If I think it, I say it. You can't do that in real life. I only do it on YouTube."