Oh hey guys.. did you know I started a YouTube channel?
You betcha. She’s up in the ol’ vlogosphere, in all her awkward glory, with messy splices and lighting that’s all over the damn place and funny little edits that shine a direct spotlight on my quirky personality.
To be honest, I never thought I’d be the type of person to start a YouTube channel. I knew next to nothing about video production, had no idea how to act in front of a camera, and it seemed like a platform that thrived more on the teen population than ol’ biddies like me (I’m 32, which is a grandma to most YouTube viewers). But when I had started hosting Instagram Live sessions at the beginning of the year, the response to my video content was overwhelmingly positive. I loved the real time aspect of talking and interacting with my followers, and my audience enjoyed seeing the totally unfiltered version of myself, f-bombs and all. Week after week people would tune in to hear me blab on about any number of topics from blogging to branding to the woes of social media. The only problem was that the video disappeared after each session, so those who couldn’t make the timeslot of the live feed were shit out of luck. Solution? YouTube, a way for me to house all of my video content and still do a livestream if I wanted to.
Seems like a pretty straightforward story, yeah? But you wanna know the real reason I started a YouTube channel?
I was fed-dafuq-up of everything else.
Save for my blog (which is my baby, my love, my little slice of the web where I can do what I want and no one can say a damn thing about it), social media was becoming stale to me… especially Instagram. The platform that was once all about community and connecting through images and storytelling had become more about building a following simply to attract brand partnerships and make money, even if that meant buying followers or joining engagements pods (both of which seem super desperate if you imagine doing that offline – ‘Hey, can I force you to like me?’). I started seeing style bloggers partner with toilet paper and tissue brands, with their engagement pod members leaving cringe-worthy comments like ‘Ommmmgggg obsessed. Looks so soft!’ Really, people? REALLY?
But more than that, more than the thirst for attention coming from every which way, my own creativity plateaued. I found myself getting lazy with the photos I was taking, not trying anything new because, hey, I didn’t need to. Once you gain a following and you see what people are attracted to, you stick to that formula. If a photo of coffee performs really well, you take more shots of coffee. If photos of you in a bikini get more fire than any other piece of content, you continue showing off dat ass. If a black and white photo tanks, you tend to stay away from that edit style for future posts. You get into a routine of doing the same old shit because it works. Which is great and all, but if you’re a creative individual, it’s the worst fucking thing you can do.
I mean, isn’t the point of creating content to be CREATIVE, regardless of how many likes it gets?
So I tried something new. I set up my tripod and started filming. And I feel like it’s given me a totally new perspective on how I approach my brand and social media in general.
Starting a YouTube channel reminds me what it’s like to learn again. To actually create for the sake of creating. I have absolutely NO idea what the hell I’m doing… and it’s awesome! I taught myself how to shoot and edit, and even though it takes ages and can be mega frustrating, with each video I create, I learn something new. I have 140 subscribers and I’m cool with that. I have no brands looking to partner with me on video content yet, and I kinda like it that way. It’s a totally new platform for me to play around with and do what I want without expectation on aesthetic or style. I’m looking forward to growing an authentic, engaged audience on YouTube like I did with Instagram, even if the growth is slow and long.
And don’t get me wrong, guys… I’m still on the ‘gram and love to use it as a means to connect to the audience and community I’ve built through the app. And I’ll continue to use it as a means to earn an income from brand partnerships (that make SENSE for my personal brand – I just can’t do it any other way) and promote my own content. Because it’s a powerful platform where I’ve built a following from the ground up and I’m proud of that, and I love the relationships I’ve formed through it.
But trying something completely out of my comfort zone has reinvigorated my desire to keep pushing myself creatively. To not get too comfortable with something simply because it ‘works’.
And to remember that my content is still valuable even if only 140 people see it.