I have worked in the world of YouTube since I was 22-years-old. What was supposed to be my first foray into the world of journalism weirdly turned out to be my first stepping stone into an entire career studying digital media.
Yes, I get paid actual money to research YouTube trends and communities. It’s weirdly wonderful, but also proving rather impossible to concisely describe on my LinkedIn. Should you be doubting my credentials as a Doctor of YouTube, here’s a quick walk down memory lane:
My first VidCon in 2013. Yes, I do still own that Walle backpack because I’m an adult with taste.
My staff photo from YouTube Nation taken in 2013? I’m holding the YouTube play button so obviously I.KNOW.YOUTUBE. I just changed this photo after having it as my work email icon for years because I recently realized I don’t look that young anymore.
Here is Earnest and I with the YouTube Nation gold play button that is somewhere in the YouTube office in New York. Or in Kevin’s apartment? Which seamlessly leads us into my last point, here is Kevin and I, standing in front a photo of a laser cat, holding shirts about the Shia LaBeouf meme. Enough said.
Some could say that’s a lot of years of studying YouTube and they would be right. It’s useful knowledge if you’re a YouTube Trends Specialist or on a very specific trivia team; and while I can’t seem to remember to ever check the weather, I can talk in-detail about social media’s impact on mental health awareness over the last five years so … invite me to all your parties?
(Just kidding, please don’t, my social anxiety could not handle your party invite.)
I have to admit, the world of YouTube is pretty wild in its capabilities. Through just a simple search you can witness the daily lives of millions of people around the world. Through YouTube, I’ve learned how to take apart and clean air conditioning units, draw greeting cards, bake new recipes, and plan trips. I’ve been inspired by other artists talking about their craft, watched people build entire houses with their own two hands, and found community around other individuals grappling with anxiety. It’s a space that has allowed people to share their stories without the necessity of an intermediary and given underrepresented voices a platform to creative content authentic to their experiences. These things are the pillars that keep me excited about the platform — with pioneering creators and the formation of communities being my specific area of interest.
Two work weeks are rarely the same. Sometimes I’ll be studying how interable creators use their channels to dispel taboos around disabilities and dating, and sometimes I’m trying to quantify the influence of how the Popeyes chicken sandwich impacted our platform. It’s a mixed bag which is probably good for my personality because I get restless very quickly in my quest to always be learning.
While at the office it’s vital to remain unbiased and curious in my research, in the outside world (aka the minute I get home and within 35 seconds have my jeans off and yoga pants on) I get to indulge and pick my favorite creators to watch over dinner. Should you be looking for some new interesting, weird, inspiring, or heart-warming creators to follow along with, here are 10 that I’m currently obsessed with below.