By Claudia Cheung (@claudiacheung3)
YouTube is an online video platform that has informed and entertained millions of people over the years. Being a YouTuber involves creating content that is innovative and attention grabbing in a very competitive market. Since COVID-19, YouTubers are affected in many ways.
Candice Hutchings, the founder of The Edgy Veg, a vegan-cooking channel, told VIBE 105 her team could not visit her due to quarantine. She had to prepare her videos on her own, affecting her video uploading schedules. To make her channel pandemic friendly, Hutchings included more comfort food recipes and fun content so her audiences can escape from reality.
©Youtube | Edgy Veg
During the quarantine, Hutchings took care of her mental health by regularly visiting her therapist and doing a lot of self-care. When she experiences creativity burn out, she would take an extended break and do some creative exercises.
“I do a lot of self-care. I will reorganize my space and to move the energy around. It tends to help with the creativity burn out,” Hutchings says. “Taking breaks from social media and creating healthy boundaries with it would help maintain mental health.”
“This is an unprecedented time. You have to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. If there’s a day where you cannot get your work done, that’s okay. Be kind to yourself.”
— Candice Hutchings, YouTuber: The Edgy Veg
Sheldon Ho, one third of the popular Asian-Canadian YouTube channel CantoMando, talks about what is motivating them to upload their video on schedule.
“YouTube is our full-time job now,” Ho explains. “Having a consistent schedule would keep us on track. When you are self-employed, it’s easy to lose motivation. Creating a schedule would keep us focused.”
CantoMando says that they used to draw inspiration for their video from the outside world. However, with the restrictions of quarantine, they had to push themselves to be more creative. Whenever they experience creativity burn out, the team would take a moment off and play some basketball and video games.
“To be honest, a lot of good ideas come when you’re not thinking too hard on it.”
— Sheldon Ho, YouTuber: CantoMando
© Youtube | CantoMando
Because of COVID-19, Asians are discriminated against by prejudice. CantoMando released a video at the beginning of the pandemic to address the racist comments towards Asians. CantoMando wanted their audience to know that they are here as a support group and intend to create a safe space for Asians affected by racial discrimination.
Beauty and lifestyle YouTuber, Aysha Harun, had a series called The Ramadan Daily, where she would vlog every day during Ramadan. Because of the quarantine, Harun was unsure what kind of content would help engage with her audience daily. Harun stepped out of her comfort zone and realized that tapping into vulnerability is what she and her viewers needed. By being vulnerable, people with the same struggle would have someone to empathize with together.
With the pandemic restrictions, it would be understandable to predict that a channel like Harun’s would be impacted in a negative way. However, she was able to make adjustments to the current times by tailoring her content to be more quarantine friendly. She released tutorial videos on how to get ready for Zoom meetings or how to look good in five minutes without makeup, etc.
© Youtube | Aysha Harun
“I have a strong work ethic, and I love throwing myself into work regardless of what I’m going through. But chilling on my couch and doing nothing is a little step that I need to take to regain my creativity,” Harun says on how she deals with creativity burn out. She explained in order to maintain YouTuber lifestyle, it would be helpful to take breaks from the internet to reset her mind.
According to Dr. Irene Berkowitz, an instructor at RTA School of Media, YouTube daily traffic was up by 15.3%. There was a 590% increase in videos that includes “at home” in the title and a 600% increase in viewing with #withme. There was an increase of viewership for videos like self-care, news and DIY, etc. Dr. Berkowitz hypothesized that categories like travelling might have a lower number of viewers because of travel restrictions.
“As always, creators need to understand their audiences and
meet their needs to grow revenue,”
says Dr. Berkowitz – Instructor, RTA School of Media
Even though there are more views on YouTube, YouTubers are not getting many advertisements, and their CPM was lower post-COVID-19. Dr. Berkowitz explains that YouTube, like legacy linear TV, is an advertising model. YouTube revenues are split 55% to creators and 45% to the platform. Advertising is down, presenting challenges to many YouTubers. Many YouTubers have had difficulty applying for CERB because their work is so entrepreneurial. On the other hand, YouTube is also a potential financial opportunity for people who have lost their jobs.
Behind every entertaining YouTube video is a hard-working YouTuber who is struggling as much as we do behind the scenes. In times like these, let us show more appreciation for the work they do.
After all, we are all in this together.