In a day and age where YouTubers like David Dobrik are idolized, it seems like everyone has created a YouTube channel now, or at least considered it.
For many 20 something-year-olds, YouTube has been around their whole life and the allure of creating videos has even enticed some of our own here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I set out to speak to these MNSU YouTubers and learn about their journey and why they decided to add their faces to the billions of videos already published.
There is a stereotype of MNSU being a big party school and if you do a quick search of MNSU on YouTube, many of the first videos that populate do not help disprove that stereotype. Much of the videos are from male vloggers showcasing their time at parties, filled with booze and girls. I spoke to one vlogger, Cordarious Boyd, who has party vlogs posted and asked his reasoning for joining YouTube. Like many others, Boyd was inspired by watching other YouTubers. As for what gave him the final push to start his channel he explained, “Whenever I went out people, told me to start a YouTube channel and so I started vlogging what I do during the week and weekends.”
Boyd continued to explain that he doesn’t focus on the views or subscribers but that he has the channel “mainly so in a couple of years I can reflect on what the best memories and friends I had in college.”
While some people use YouTube to encapsulate their current reality others use the platform to escape it. For MNSU student and vlogger Maia Eden, YouTube was a distraction after a bad breakup. She explained, “Creatively engaging my mind is something that really helps me when I’m feeling down.”
Eden is currently at 2.28K subscribers and creates a range of content from vlogs to hauls to her journey as a new music industry student. Recently she has begun to think more critically about the content she produces to “make her channel more watchable.” While Eden wants to create more watchable content she explained it isn’t only about the views or likes for her. The creator stated, “I’m not really looking to make YouTube a full-time career, it’s more just a platform to be creative on.”
A similar MNSU YouTuber is Michelle Dolezal, better known to some as @Mishshelly. Dolezal is currently at 6.26K subscribers and has a wide array of vlogs, hauls, lookbooks and more. While the creator doesn’t post as frequently anymore, she still agreed to share insight about her channel. Originally, inspired by other YouTubers, she and her best friend started their own channel called “Maya and Michelle’s Makeup”. However, after realizing the friend didn’t want to upload consistently, Dolezal decided to branch out on her own. On her own channel, Dolezal stated, “I made content on things that were most trendy at the time and put my own twist to it.”
Perhaps one of the more successful trends right now is fitness. The fitness industry is booming, and people sharing their fitness journey and advice has become a common activity. One that MNSU fitness vlogger Neil Bigaouette has joined. Bigaouette has 55 subscribers and a variety of content from bodybuilding to travels and vlogs of his daily life. The creator explained YouTube helps keep him accountable because “it’s hard to stay motivated sometimes so having that following and support no matter how big or little is amazing.”
What remains truly amazing about YouTube is the variety of paths that can be followed when starting a channel. While the motivations are all unique, the general concept is the same. YouTube provides a creative outlet for users to express themselves. Disregarding the subscribers and view counts allows students here at MNSU are taking full advantage of the social platform to make their goals a reality.
So if you’ve ever been on the fence about making your own channel, you’ll never know until you try. Who knows maybe you’ll actually be the next David Dobrik and get to hand out frivolous amounts of Teslas.
Header photo courtesy of Flickr.