Variety ranked the top 12 stars in the digital world as part of its #Famechangers issue. For more of the rankings, click here.

If television has its own reality stars, why shouldn’t the Web have them too? Since 2012, Joey Graceffa has mastered the skill of daily vlogging his life, which has been viewed more than 500 million times. The handsome Los Angeles native works his considerable charms in uploads heavy on life’s funny moments with his dogs, friends and other YouTube stars. “Through time, you figure out your audience, and see what works and what doesn’t,” he says. “Also, you can work with other YouTubers, which really helped my channel.”

Most videos are filled with silly moments and giggles, but the 24-year-old is versatile enough to go with more emotional material; he’s not afraid to share heartbreak or embarrassing moments. Graceffa got his fans talking in May when he revealed he is gay in a pair of videos that pushed his popularity to a new level. “I try to make my videos fun so that people can escape, but I also talk about serious topics that are relatable to something that the viewers are going through,” he says.

Graceffa interacts with his 5 million YouTube subscribers beyond the comments section, and uses social media and other online services as his digital playground. During the promotion for his book, “In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World,” Graceffa awarded three fans a priceless giveaway — a one-on-one call with him via Skype. Graceffa excels at interacting with fans, which is the core of his appeal with his mostly female fanbase. “They can connect with me on a different level than on a television screen,” he notes.

After years of sharing himself with the world online, Graceffa realized at DigiFest, the world’s largest social-media festival, that he had reached the bigtime. “I had just hit 1 million subscribers, and it was in NYC, and it was a crowd of five thousand people,” he recalls. “When I went out on the stage, there were a bunch of screams, and it was a surreal moment just to have so many people screaming for me.”

Today, Graceffa continues to get recognition from fans as he travels on book tours and appears in videos on the multichannel network StyleHaul. But there is much more that Graceffa hopes to accomplish — and that means venturing outside the Internet. “I want to do more theatrical stuff,” he says. “It would be so fun to be on TV.”

Joey Graceffa by the numbers

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*Data provided by Tubular Labs

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