YouTube star Sebastian Rhodes calls it his little family, but there’s nothing small about his social media following.

His YouTube channel has more than 14,000 devoted fans. He has 54,000 followers on Instagram, 8,000 Facebook fans and on Tumblr, where he started out, 10,000 people following his account.

One of the reasons he switched focus from Tumblr to YouTube was because it’s a better platform for engaging with his followers. People were keen to hear his voice and see him on a video.

“When I first started making videos there weren’t many vloggers,” he said. “I started making them because people wanted to see me and to hear me talk.”

Sebastian isn’t alone in choosing to share his life with fans and friends online. According to YouTube, more than 1 billion people visit the site each month, watching more than 6 billion hours of video. And it keeps growing – the number of people subscribing to YouTube channels each day has risen more than three times during the past year. 

It means we’re watching online video like never before. And amidst the how-to guides, product rolls and ads, are videos like Sebastian’s guide to sleeping that has racked up more than 40,000 views. 

Material for Sebastian’s videos comes from everyday life, from dating to friendship to tongue-in-cheek guides. His most popular videos are the “stupid” ones that make people smile. “I’m just making fun of something. They’re just there to make people laugh,” he said.

The 19-year-old admits making his first episode titled The First Time I… was nerve-wracking. “You don’t know what to say,” he recalled. “You’re still trying to discover your personality on the camera.”

Sebastian’s videos have grown in confidence since he first started vlogging in 2012. With more than 14,000 subscribers engaging with his stories, he’s free to experiment with new content and look for interesting topics.

On a recent video he talked about the Coca-Cola Happiness Cycle program that encourages teens to get active by giving away free bikes and hooking them up with the HappiCycle app. He loved the idea of getting people together to build bikes that they could take home. “It’s a hands-on approach to a modern day issue.”

While his audience is growing, Sebastian still makes time to engage with his followers, replying personally to messages across all different platforms, including Twitter, Kik and SnapChat. “I read all the YouTube comments, and I read all the Instagram comments,” he said.  “I love talking to them all!”

“I don’t really see them as fans,” he said. “Some of them have been following me for two-and-a-half years and know more about me than my actual friends in real life. So I don’t mind sharing my personal life with them.”