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.
Leena Norms is a book lover, writer, activist, and the creator I most wish I was friends with IRL. Her videos are a tribute to all the other 20-something women trying to do it all and range from discussions about the publishing industry, career advice, existential crises, book recommendations, and tips on becoming more politically active. Some of my favorite Leena Norms videos include:
- 3 Habits of the SIDE-HUSTLER
- The solo trip that changed my life
- How to beat your imposter syndrome …
- Why I’m Not Shopping in 2019 – my no buy challenge
Amber Burns is a writer and content creator based in Philly who uploads videos about her daily life, self care, mental health, and books. Her content is so genuine and authentic and I just love it. I LOVE IT! If you need a pep talk or just want to spend time inside the words of someone who feels like a friend, enjoy an afternoon with Amber.
- The one about depression
- Getting Back to Self Care | Sunday Vlog
- Productive Sunday Vlog | Getting My Life Together
Lauren from the Books is also a BookTuber who talks with such enthusiasm and creativity about literature — and honestly, just general life — that I always find myself feeling uplifted after watching her videos. She’s a reminder to find joy in the little things, like making a cheese board and taking an entire evening to sit and read with your loved ones.
- Autumn Bucket List
- Holiday TBR
- F is for … Fast Fashion
- June TBR | June Eyre
- Bank Holiday Reading Vlog
Jen Campbell is a writer, poet, former bookseller and disability activist who is one of the most thoughtful, creative, well-spoken BookTubers on the platform. Her love of words and the ways she uses her own experiences — of being queer, living with chronic medical conditions, and having physical disabilities- to help inform her literary analysis. It’s a pleasure to spend an evening watching her books reviews.
- Writing & Self-Doubt
- Summer Book Recommendations
- Best Books of the Last Five Years
Kate Flowers I just started following recently and have been deeply enjoying. I found her through her new YouTube series which is documenting her attempt to get back into the world of professional dance after leaving due to a drug addiction ten years ago. Her other videos that really stood out to me for their vulnerability and creativity were:
- The real me | day in the life vlog
- couple talks openly about sexuality
- couple BOTH raised by gay dads
- we grew up in a cult…
ClickforTaz captured my heart after her video “I tried to go a month without procrastinating” showed up in my Recommended Videos column. Her content is hilarious, thoughtful, and makes me feel less alone in my attempts to be an adult.
Megan Ellaby is a Manchester-based fashion and lifestyle vlogger who is just doing her own thing — and I’m here for it. Obsessed with 70s fashion, Ellaby is a refreshing voice in what can often feel like the oversaturated world of fashion on YouTube. While our styles aren’t deeply similar, watching her have such fun with fashion has empowered me to be bolder and thriftier with my own sense of style. Plus her home decorating is *blows kisses into the air* When I first found her on YouTube, I would spend hours watching every video on her channel because I loved how much fun she was having making videos and how down to earth her personality was.
- Clothes I’ve Been Loving This Month
- Vintage & Thrift Shop Haul
- Home Updates vlog
- We got engaged in New York City!
Cheyenne Baton is an artist and aspiring-actress living in the Pacific Northwest. Her vlogs capturing her life as a freelancer (and cat mum) just make me want to hang out with her. While I have always loved the aesthetic of her videos, it was her recent conversations about mental health and therapy that really made me sit up and think, this is someone to take notice of.
Inthefrow really has surprised me in how much I love her content because we’re so different (and maybe that’s why I find her so fascinating?). Deeply educated about the history of the fashion industry, Victoria uploads content about high fashion, beauty, and now, home renovations. Her passion for her work is inspiring and despite us working in completely different fields, her content makes me excited to work hard at my own creativity.
- Really worth the money? Which brands and pieces in my closet have I worn the most?
- A week in outfits and a rant on negativity
- NEW Spring Trend Outfits + TRY ON with me
And last but certainly not least, Rowena Tsai. Rowena’s content speaks directly to my soul as she documents her life attempting to live an intentional, productive life — that also balances family, work, passion projects, and self-care. Her videos always leave me with a little food for thought and remind me to take a breath, it all doesn’t have to be done today.
- 9 ways to un-potato your day ft. a casual sunday
- 7 Habits That Helped Me Get My Life Together
- How to Wake Up at 4am Everyday
I’m always curious, how do you use YouTube and who do you follow along with? If you have a minute, send your favorites and suggestions my way! My subscription list is always looking for new additions.