Content creators in quarantine: YouTube edition

YouTube is a platform that encourages creative expression through video. The freedom and ability to create content in multiple genres has made this platform a favorite among college students.

Georgia State students have especially taken a liking to YouTube, with many students choosing to start their own channels. As a result, many want to showcase their personality and remain relatable. They provide incoming students advice, create funny and entertaining content or choose to vlog and show insight into their life. 

Many Georgia State content creators often rely on the city and their college friends to make content that appeals to their audiences. But owing to the current circumstances, they have had to adjust to creating content from home that remains both interesting and appealing.

Several student YouTubers admitted that the online school transition has taken a toll on their content creation. This creative road bump has been a result of various factors, such as increased workload, going back to their jobs and scheduling changes.

Georgia State junior and YouTuber Jaiya Brown said her increased school workload has proven to be an obstacle in her content production. 

“The biggest challenge has been balancing online school while trying to give content at the same time,” Brown said. “Even though we were out of school at that time, we were still in school online with twice as much work.” 

Creators have also struggled with the transition to online learning while also following an upload schedule.

Brown has experienced first hand the issue with adjusting to a new learning style and, as a result, she is finding it difficult to balance both her academics and YouTube.

“I’m more of a hands-on learner, so this transition wasn’t in my favor,” she said. “Because of that, it slowed my posts down by a lot. I wasn’t able to post regularly like I would want to because school always comes first.”

The transition to online learning has led to some courses requiring more work than before, demanding more time from students. This has become an issue for college creators on top of other commitments, such as going back to work.

Sophomore Sydni Danielle relates to this struggle as she has had to return to her job and adjust to her new work schedule to produce content.

”The biggest challenge for me with producing content is coming up with ideas for videos and now trying to really find the time because I went back to work,” Danielle said.

Finding time to produce content and coming up with ideas have become obstacles for student YouTubers. But they’ve had some positive outcomes, such as increased audience engagement.

Georgia State junior and YouTuber Phajjah Whitton relates to this as she has increased her audience interaction and Instagram post creativity to keep subscribers engaged with her channel.

“I keep my audience engaged through interactive Instagram posts to expand on video ideas I have or what my Instagram followers and subscribers want to see,” Whitton said. “I’m also responding to my subscribers in the comment section of my videos to remain active with them.”

This increased engagement with subscribers had led to a more personal connection between them and creators. This connection has allowed creators to cater more to their viewers’ wants when brainstorming ideas for future videos.

Sophomore Reglice Ngwang has stuck to this method when creating content. She focuses on producing content in quarantine that will keep viewers entertained as a helpful distraction.

“I’ve been focusing on making videos that I feel would be funny and entertaining to my viewers to keep them engaged,” Ngwang said.

This emphasis on audience engagement has also led creators to reevaluate the direction their channel takes. 

Danielle has been consistent with her channel goals, but she still remains experimental in terms of the content she has chosen to put out and the direction she wants to take her channel.

“Throughout my videos, the vision I have for myself, my channel and my supporters for the future has stayed consistent,” Danielle said. “I feel I have found what I want my channel to be about. It’s going to take a wide turn very soon, which is why I’ve been so inconsistent lately.”

Her YouTube channel has faced trial and error in finding its niche, but she encourages her subscribers to stay tuned as she further evolves her channel.

“I’m just encouraging everyone to stay tuned because we can only grow and get better from here, no looking back,” Danielle said. 

Being experimental has allowed for her subscribers to have something to look forward to and follow along with as it evolves. This experimental mood has also helped creators to fine-tune the direction that their channel was already taking.

Whitton highlights how she remains authentic to her channel’s direction and goals through diverse content. 

“There are a plethora of videos on my channel, but my goal has remained to help people better their mental health, have a safe and open place to express themselves [and] myself and share my creative talents with the world,” Whitton said.

Evolving content creation is critical to their channels as well as exposure to gain new followers. This has become especially crucial during quarantine. Many people are at home looking for content to watch, and creators are seeking to grow their following.

Brown has pushed to promote her channel by using different social media platforms and she remains transparent with her audience.

“Since I’m in school and working a lot, I like to post messages on my channel about updates on myself,” Brown said. “I’ve also used a lot of social media platforms to promote my channel such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and even word of mouth.”

Her promotion tactics have facilitated a way for her existing followers to remain engaged and bring in new subscribers that may not have previously stumbled on her channel. Promotion via personal social media is crucial, but support from friends can hold just as much impact on gaining new followers.

Ngwang often has friends repost her upcoming videos on social media to increase her channel’s exposure.

“I usually will tell my friends when I have a video coming out, and they will share it on their personal social media,” Ngwang said.

Gaining this exposure in these various forms allows for growth among audiences and new subscribers with similar interests.

Being a YouTuber during a pandemic is a learning experience with many challenges. But it can be rewarding. These student YouTubers provide valuable insight into what a current college student’s life is like from a more personal perspective.

Where to find these students’ YouTube channels:

Sydni Danielle

Reglice Ngwang

Phajjah Whitton

Jaiya Brown