THE YOUTUBER PARADOX

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Lets be honest, being a youtuber is weird.

In the beginning, I started youtube as an outlet. somewhere for me to sit and yabber on about my interests in makeup and clothes. It was a quiet little corner of the internet where I found people who liked and supported what I was doing and that made me want to make more and more content, because I felt understood.

To this day though, I get a little palpitation at the words 'So what is your job?'. Time after time I embarrassingly stumble over my words, saying something to the effect of, 'I create content on Youtube and i'm also a blogger'.

'Oh, okay....what do you make videos about?' They'll say. 'Oh, beauty, fashion lifestyle...'.

Every time I walk away from that conversation, I curse to myself in my head, thinking that I should know by now how to present myself properly and that because I know there is alot of value in what I do, why am I not communicating that properly to the people who might not understand my job? I really need to work on my elevator pitch.

I know that it might be a little bit weird to write about this on my blog, a very different platform to my Youtube channel but my blog is a place where I can just let thoughts flow and also i'm assuming that many of you reading might also watch my youtube channel?

I started my online career with this blog and I dont think it's something i'll ever give up, I love blogging. Soon after I started this blog though I also started youtube and I had no idea how far apart these worlds would be.

At the beginning, youtube was a bit of a wild west. You could say whatever you wanted, be whoever you wanted, make videos on the strangest mix of topics and what I miss the most...you could actually have a negative opinion on something!

 

H O W  Y O U T U B E  H A S  C H A N G E D

We all know that youtube has changed over the years. What I was doing at the beginning of youtube, I cant do now. To stay afloat on youtube now, you need to move with the times and the trends, you need to adapt your titles and thumbnails, you need to figure out the formula for what is going to work best for your channel.

Competition on youtube has sky-rocketed. A few years ago there was maybe a group of creators in each country who might have been well-known but now there are thousands upon thousands and rightly so. There is enough space on the platform for everyone and if you have the ambition to create a successful (whatever success means to you) channel on Youtube, then f**king go for it.

This has hugely changed the pace of Youtube and what it means to be a youtuber. When I started youtube I didn't have an upload schedule, I didn't plan out my videos, I made videos when I was in the mood and the right mental headspace to and also, when I knew I would enjoy doing so. After a few years I became aware that it was important to have an upload schedule, I was aware that certain videos always did better than others and that I better keep up with the algorithm otherwise i'd get left behind.

This is when the confusion started for me. I knew that I needed to be uploading a certain amount of videos a week but I never wanted to force myself to film if I wasn't in the mood because I knew that it would come across in my videos and I've never wanted to seem disingenuous. I started to become hyper-aware of my moods, trying to seize the moment when I felt really good and film. On the other hand if I was planning to film that day but wasn't feeling so great, I would get so annoyed with myself that I wasn't in the headspace to, because I HAD to film, surely!

I knew this shouldn't be how it felt to be a youtuber but this was the constant cycle I would have in my head a few years into Youtube. It was also when I realised that as well as it being something I enjoyed, I had to look at it as a job too (even though it was my full time job by this point), So even though i'd seen it as my (paid) hobby for so long, To stay sane, I had to remember...it was now a career.

W H A T  I S  E X P E C T E D  O F  M E  A S  A  Y O U T U B E R ?

I love what I do. I have one of the best jobs in the world! I get to be creative, I get to speak open-mindedly & be myself. There are amazing perks that come with my job - I am sent new products every week, I'm lucky enough to go on the most amazing trips and I often meet other like-minded, inspiring girls within the industry.

Aswell as everything good that comes with my job, as with the Ying and yang of life - of course there are some strange things that come with it too.

At this stage, I have learnt not to scroll through my social media when i'm in a vulnerable state and not to read into hateful comments. What I often struggle with now and what has been on my mind for the past year or so is, what do I share and not show online? What is acceptable and not acceptable now? Why is some content requested and then shunned as soon as it's uploaded? I often find myself in a weird 'Youtube paradox'. I find myself stuck.

I'm not sure I have a conclusion for this topic and i'm not even sure how to articulate it but I often find myself very confused and stuck in the middle of making sure i'm producing content I want to put out there and then also keeping my audience in mind - being aware of what they would also like to see. After all I wouldn't be anywhere without my audience, they are why i've got so far and I am grateful for them.

As content overall online has been evolving, I feel there has been such a push and pull between being 'aspirational' and being 'relatable'. There is a want for more experimental, bold makeup, but for me to also stay true to myself and my look/style.

I am asked often to include my daughter in my content but as soon as I do, I am accused of 'using' her. I'm often told to 'be myself' but then shamed if I have an honest opinion on something. It's a very confusing position to be in. In a time of 'cancel culture', it is difficult to have an authentic voice online because there are so many ways now that your words can be misconstrued.

At the end of the day I think I just want my audience to understand my intent. I know it is very easy now, in a time where we are all so highly-strung because of the state of the world, to easily release that tension onto someone in the public eye, but remember that the person uploading this content is just trying to navigate life too!

I often feel like i'm stuck in a Youtube paradox because i'm often not sure what is expected of me and of course...it's hard to please everyone. I know that my job isn't to try to please everyone and that I should just get on with it and 'do me'. However, I am a real person and of course I care about the people who watch me. Maybe this has held me back from putting my whole self out there over the last few years but sometimes this online world has made me feel unsure of what to do at all because 'You're damned if you don't and you're damned if you do!'.

 

W H A T  I  N E E D  T O  K N O W

My message, if anything comes from this rambling post is that I hope people recognise that my intent is never malicious or aiming to be exclusive of any type of person watching/reading. I'm doing my best to still be myself online, even when that might not go down too well with some people - and that's natural. I know that not EVERYONE is going to like you in this life!

I feel like it is quite hard to find your identity, whether it be in real or online life, when you have so many facets to your personality and in hindsight, maybe this just comes back to me knowing myself. I think for the past few years I have been trying to find who I am, but this process can be hard when people are constantly telling you who not be and often reminding you what you should be doing and not doing. If anything you end up not being yourself at all - you end up becoming a collection of fragments of what other people are, in fear of upsetting anyone.

In a nutshell, growing up online can be difficult and thats what a lot of us have been doing over the last decade. Putting our best and worst selves out there for all to see and for all to critique, and that is a messy thing to do! It is important to find an anchor. What do you enjoy doing? What makes you feel fulfilled? What makes you sad? (Scrolling through video comments at 11pm in bed before sleeping). It's important to keep a strong hold on these things and not get swept up in the confusion of online feedback.

I will be 'doing me'. I just hope people will be a little bit kinder of any mistakes I make online. We're only Human after all.

 

 

S H O P  T H E  P O S T 

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