Political YouTuber Jordan Shanks is so popular with young people that he is now more influential than broadcast media stalwarts such as Alan Jones.
The 30-year-old former model, known online as Friendlyjordies, has 375,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he shares comedy videos that slam the Coalition government.
He also has 250,000 fans on Facebook and 55,000 followers on Instagram, making him unequivocally an internet sensation.
Shanks shared this image appearing to show a schoolboy holding up a sign saying ‘Jordan Shanks for PM’
Shanks is pictured with his girlfriend Thu Nguyen while on holiday in Pakistan in December
Shanks’ videos show him talking about serious issues while amusing memes and photoshopped pictures flash up around the screen to keep viewers entertained.
His latest video calling for Scott Morrison to be jailed over the bushfire crisis was viewed 165,000 times in just six days, reaching more people than Sky News hosts Alan Jones and Peter Credlin, whose Tuesday night show had an average of 135,000 viewers per week in 2019.
In recent months, Shanks has been vocal about climate change, an issue that strikes a chord with his young viewers, and has called New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian a ‘koala killer’ over cuts to Rural Fire Service funding which he believes exacerbated the bushfire crisis.
His ability to identify issues that his audience cares about is a major reason for his popularity, an expert has told Daily Mail Australia.
Shanks (pictured in one of his videos) often dresses up to keep his audience entertained
Shanks’ videos show him talking about serious issues while amusing memes and photoshopped pictures flash up around the screen to keep viewers entertained
Political YouTuber Jordan Shanks, better known as Friendlyjordies, with Labor PM Kevin Rudd (above). Shanks is generally pro-Labor.
‘The source of Shanks’ popularity is pretty straightforward,’ said Dr Fiona Martin, a professor of online media at the University of Sydney.
‘He speaks to his audience in their voice, with an ironic detachment and anger they recognise, and confirms their suspicion that older people are ruining the planet for them.
He speaks to his audience in their voice, with an anger they recognise
‘He has a clear anti-Coalition, pro Labor position, and appears to have progressive views, but isn’t a predictable Greens supporter.’
The other reason behind Shanks’ popularity is the style of his videos which keep the audience glued to their screens.
‘He uses news comedy formats that have been more popular with young people than straight news for decades,’ said Dr Martin.
‘So he’s using messages that they relate to in style and form, on platforms that they use constantly via their mobiles.’
Shanks turned to political blogging after working as a part time model while studying international politics at the University of New South Wales.
He said he had a deal with Gucci and walked runways for Topman and True Religion before giving it all up to work in radio.
Shanks said he misses modelling but told Daily Mail Australia he ‘would be very happy to do this until I’m dead.’
‘Its combining your natural skills with a public service. I think it’s a good thing to do. It keeps you sane.’
Shanks is pictured here in a promotional advertisement for soft drink company Sprite
Jordan Shanks worked as a part time model (pictured in Brazil) while studying international politics at the University of New South Wales
Shanks is so popular he is regularly approached by major corporations such as Sprite to endorse their products on his platforms.
He also makes money by creating videos for left-wing lobby groups including GetUp! and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, who paid him to do a video encouraging young people to register to vote in the 2019 federal election.
Not all of Shanks’ skits are political. He also pokes fun at reality starts, dole bludgers and the mainstream media.
‘I spend a lot of time learning how to be interesting,’ he said in an interview in 2012.
‘There are books out there that can teach you to become a walking talking Disneyland! That’s what I want to be in life, I want to learn how to have fun.
‘I am in the process of learning to be as amusing as possible.’
‘Literally everything in life is the same principle. You spend seven years and 10,000 hours mastering a field and then at he end of that time, without exception you will be at the top of your field.’
He often creates skits around dole bludgers and Australian bogans, and portrays more than one character in his videos