Youtube: a single app that has transformed the way we view entertainment today and has provided creative young minds with an outlet to express themselves.
It’s a bit ironic that some feel more comfortable displaying their true colors to potentially millions of strangers than in front of a couple thousand peers, but it appears that the internet, when used wisely, can act as a great platform for joy and remembrance.
We as humans constantly strive to remind ourselves of the things that give us fulfillment, or even the fact that we have been lucky enough to exist in this world and experience life’s offerings. We typically recall our lived experiences by cherishing physical evidence. It’s nearly impossible for one person to remember all that they experience in a lifetime, so books, souvenirs, photographs, and now, more commonly, videos, have helped us achieve our goal of encapsulating memories we wish to keep with us for many years to come.
Arroyo Grande High School (AGHS) senior Abe Valentino, decided to start his Youtube channel, focused mainly on vlogging, during his freshman year as a place to store his high school memories.
“I got into it because I saw a lot of other YouTubers, and I thought it’d be fun to do it because if they can do it, I can do it. It was a fun way to document my life and have a lasting memory of high school and things that I’ve done throughout the past few years,” explained Valentino.
AGHS junior Celina Jane Delos Santos creates videos capturing moments from her day-to-day life to ensure she has something to look back on as well.
“I remember I got inspiration from my cousin Justin because he would create videos to look back on and I realized I wanted that too. It’s nice having memories, but having physical memories to look back on is really nice,” said Delos Santos.
Starting a Youtube channel comes with its fair share of difficulties. For Valentino, time management persists as an issue.
“At first, it was really easy for me to keep up posting regularly, and I even had an uploading schedule, but as time went on… and everything in life became a little bit more difficult, it got a lot harder for me to post videos regularly,” said Valentino.
“There were a few times where I thought, ‘This is it, I’m not going to be posting anymore. I just don’t have the time,’ but what has kept me motivated is the fact that I want to be able to have a video memory of everything that I did.”
For Valentino and Delos Santos, other challenges include remembering to bring the proper equipment and even finding something to film in the first place.
“The biggest challenge I faced during this whole thing would be having all the equipment on me… I would often find myself forgetting my extra battery, forgetting, my extra SD card, or oftentimes just forgetting the camera in itself,” said Valentino with a laugh.
Delos Santos mentioned, “[One struggle is] definitely school and COVID kind of stopped [the filming process], because there’s not much I can do or go out and film.”
For a vlogger like Valentino, dealing with questioning stares can be troublesome as well.
“The most embarrassing thing would be when I would film in public, and people would just look at me because I’d have a handheld tripod and a camera. I feel like since we live in such a small city,..and.since we’re such a small community, when people see stuff like that, it just looks out of the ordinary or weird.”
Both Delos Santos and Valentino mention the editing process is also a main struggle of maintaining a Youtube channel.
“My most recent video took me, easily, two weeks to edit. Over the span of two weeks, it takes at least 48 hours,” said Valentino. “In the last year, I’ve started to take my editing more seriously, so… I needed to move over to the Mac where I could do a lot more with transitions and audio effects. That’s why it takes so long to edit my videos, I think.”
Despite its time-consuming nature, Valentino and Delos Santos agree that editing acts as an outlet for education and experimental choices which aren’t commonly found in other creative outlets.
“It’s been a really creative hobby because I’ve been able to learn so much about using iMovie and software editing, and..it’s been super educational, which is something I didn’t think I would ever say about it,” Valentino explained.
“I use iMovie right now and… I think it’s nice to play with the animations and the speed,” said Delos Santos.
Although content creators face some challenges, the joy that comes from the memories associated with creating their videos and storing these memories for people to see and enjoy long into the future makes the difficulties worth it.
“I always put my phone on a tripod so I can capture bigger moments with me in them. I captured this moment of myself and my family laughing in the Philippines, and it’s really nice to look back on,” Delos Santos recalled.
Valentino’s joy as of now has come with the creation of his latest video.
“My current favorite video/ memory from a video probably has to be my time capsule video that I filmed. Last year back when quarantine started, I filmed a time capsule video that I’m going to be reopening and filming next month. Right now, that probably has to be my favorite video because I don’t even remember what I asked myself in the first video or what I did. I think it’ll be really interesting to see where I was a year ago.”
The Youtube algorithm typically influences the decisions of most creators on Youtube, but these students are very happy simply uploading videos without worrying about the popularity they may or may not gain.
“I don’t know [my current subscriber count] right now but it never really mattered to me because it was more just for me to look back on. It’d be nice if my friends looked at it too, but it never really mattered to me,” said Delos Santos.
Valentino mentioned he’s considered a micro-influencer, meaning he doesn’t have the largest following, but he does reach a sizeable audience in a specific category (in his case, people interested in viewing lifestyle vlogs) which can provide him with more viewers if he wishes to format his videos a specific way.
“The YouTube algorithm is really interesting, because being a micro-influencer, you don’t really get your videos out into the algorithm unless they have good titles, or are a certain length, so if the video is too long, sometimes it might not make it out into the algorithm compared to where if you have a shorter video that has a more interesting title, it has a better chance of getting out on to other people’s explore pages.”
However, adjusting to Youtube’s format isn’t that important to Valentino lately, as he feels having fun in the process matters the most.
“At the beginning of my Youtube journey, subscriber count really did matter to me, and I felt like I wasn’t going to be successful if I didn’t get a bunch of subscribers. Roughly now I’m at like, 270, and if I get more subscribers, great. If not, it’s okay. At the end of the day, I enjoy what I’m doing so the numbers don’t really matter anymore,” said Valentino.
Valentino’s and Delos Santos’s ability to upload without focusing too much on popularity comes from their drive to release content that feels worthy to them.
“Worthy content to me is just something that is any content that I feel really passionate about…like school vlogs I consider worthy content, because I liked what I was filming, and it didn’t feel like a chore… Worthy content to me could be very different compared to you…but as long as I like it, that’s all that matters,” said Valentino. “The main takeaway I have from all my videos is that they have offered my friends and me something that we can all look back on. That probably has to be the most rewarding/my favorite thing from it.”
Delos Santos regards worthy content as the result of hard work and care.
“I feel like you can always tell when someone puts their all into their work, and they really leave it on the table, rather than just putting it all together and putting it out for people to see. I always like looking at my projects and being 100% confident, and if I’m not, I want to go back [and fix things].”
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I have is to start as soon as you can. I remember two years ago I was contemplating, ‘Should I try this? What would this take for me to do it?’ and I didn’t realize I could have made so many more physical memories, more videos if I started a long time ago.”
Valentino also believes the best thing to do if you’re contemplating starting a channel, is to go ahead and give it a shot.
“In all honesty, just go for it. No matter what, you’re going to make videos that you’re going to hate, and a year from now you’re going to post things you realize aren’t authentic to who you are now. But the major takeaway is that it’s yours… I think that if you want to do it, you should, because the worst thing that can happen is you try it and you don’t like it.”
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