AGTube is a community on YouTube where content creators (known as "AGTubers") upload videos of their American Girl Dolls. AGTubers consist of people of all ages and genders, though most creators are high-schoolers. Being a part of the AGTube community allows you to film videos with any American Girl doll you wish and upload them to YouTube. The AGTube community is generally very positive and supportive; AGTubers will often like and comment on each other's videos. One of the cons is that many AGTubers leave when they find a different interest or they feel that they have lost interest in their dolls.
Early AGTube (2007 - 2008)
No one knows the specifics of when AGTube came to be, however, some of the earliest traces date back to 2007. Many AGTubers consider xmollygirlx as the first AGTuber, but it is not certain that this is the case. The community was fairly small then, and live videos were more common.
Old AGTube (2009 - 2013)
Many AGTubers consider this to be the golden age of AGTube, and refer to it as "Old AGTube." More people joined the community and made a variety of videos. The community was very supportive and many people made friends through this community. One of the first meetups was held during this time when girloftheyearstudios hosted one with AmericanGirl077 and AmericanGirl088.
Many AGTubers in the New Generation and Post-COPPA eras were inspired by older AGTubers. Most AGTube inspirations are from Old AGTube, although some AGTubers that began in Old AGTube were inspired by people from Early AGTube.
Transition Period (2014 - 2015)
This era of AGTube began when many of the Old AGtubers left. While some people thought AGTube was declining, many famous series and became popular at this time, including Aspen Heights and The Realm of Arragara. Although series were prevalent in the years prior, the live-action series format began to take off during this time. This period is more of a transition from Old AGTube to New Generation, as much bigger changes began to occur in the period following this one.
New Generation (2016 - 2018)
Although this period was often referred to as a very inactive time for AGTube, the community was actually very active. It became perhaps even more common for videos to become popular, with some AGSM movies (such as The Living Project and Who Is Rae Payson?) accumulating over 100,000 views.
Old AGTube began to be regarded as a sort of "Golden Age" of AGTube, which is one reason why many creators thought that AGTube was "dead". Attempts to "revive" the community were often called something along the lines of "New Generation"; one main example is a livestream that was held by Rainbow Lollipop Productions in 2016 entitled "#NewGeneration".
Another defining characteristic of this era is creativity; many AGTubers during this time tried new things and attempted to redefine the video formats that were popular in previous eras. AGSM movies became longer; in 2016, rockstar13studios released Wildwood, a half-hour long AGSM movie that held the record for longest stop-motion film in the community for several years. In the years following, more creators have been inspired to create longer videos as well. Additionally, the short-lived but popular trend of making a custom to be the main character of a (typically live-action) movie and then subsequently selling the custom after the movie's release took place. Notable examples of this include Briar Towne and Elena.
Evolution of Video Formats
AGMVs began to change in format; typically, live AGMVs were parodies or less serious videos, while stop-motion AGMVs were more serious before this time. During this era, live and stop-motion AGMVs were equally as common, and often more serious than the likes of the "Tik Tok"-style AGMVs that defined the previous era. Videos covered more serious topics in music videos such as "Elastic Heart", "If I Die Young", and "A Thousand Years".
With the creation of the AGIG community, the AGPS video format became much less popular, though not entirely nonexistent. Despite this, "Best Photography" continues to be a popular category of the Sophie Awards, with several nominees each year.
Post-COPPA AGTube (2019 - Present)
With the introduction of YouTube's new child content policies in late 2019, AGTube was dramatically changed. Although most AGTubers make content for a general audience, rather than strictly children, the use of dolls in videos placed many popular creators under scrutiny. As AGTubers become more popular, they begin to attract a larger and larger audience of children, rather than an audience of mostly fellow creators and collectors. This causes YouTube to label their channels as "for children", and since they have a large child audience, they must use this label in order to not risk facing legal issues that result from children viewing targeted ads.
Being labeled as a channel "for children" results in: comments being deactivated, post notifications being disabled, demonetization, videos being unable to be added to playlists, and lower chances of videos being recommended to viewers. This is incredibly disheartening for creators, as they now have lost connection with their audience and a way to make money off of their hard work.
Although YouTube's response to COPPA created many issues for many AGTubers, this era is also full of numerous positives. Creators push the boundaries of content, similar to the previous era, through making longer and higher quality stopmotions. AGTubers such as VioletDollies and DancingDollphins helped set a precedent for longer and smoother AGSMs. Other AGTubers such as TheAG11Studios and americangirlmegan11 have helped keep the series format alive with more creative series concepts. In addition, photo contests popularized by foreveranddollways' AGNDM in the previous era have become even more popular, with more and more AGTubers beginning their own photo contests.
The Post-COPPA era reflects that of the Transition Period in a few ways. Old AGTube came to a close with the departure of many popular creators, which caused a belief that AGTube was dying, but then caused a renaissance-esque period of creativity within the community. With the implementation of child content policies in 2019, many creators either left the platform or had to adapt to the changes once 2020 came around. This era is still ongoing, so it is unclear what the future holds, but it is unlikely that AGTube will be fading away anytime soon.