The client of this project was the Communications Department at Swarthmore College. They commissioned me to create a series of “Day In The Life” vlogs that were not only authentic to my experience as a student at the college, but that would give prospective students an accurate depiction of what it looked like to be a part of their community.
At the time of my hiring, the college was experiencing very low social media engagement, and they were hopeful that I could assist in bringing more viewers to their YouTube page.
My Creative Process:
My biggest motivation with creating content has always been to be as authentic as possible. Therefore, with this project, I decided I would hold nothing back. I shared not only the highlights of my day, but was also honest about some of the common stressors students like me experience at such a highly rigorous academic institution.
Thus, I believe that a combination of keeping authenticity at the forefront of my mind–along with the utilization of engaging post-production editing techniques–is what made this content stand out to their audience.
Total Accumulated Views: 48,258
This was a large improvement from the college’s average channel views at the time, which was 1,000 views per video.
I was thirteen years old when I first learned about the vegan diet. At the time, it appealed to me for its ethical principles and its apparent health benefits. As someone who cared deeply about animal welfare and looking after my overall well-being, I quickly became enthralled with the movement and hopped on the band wagon as fast as I could.
As time went on, however, I started to notice something that wasn’t as prioritized in the vegan community: accessibility. By the time I got to college, word had begun to spread amongst my friends and family that I enjoyed this particular lifestyle. Many people–close friends and acquaintances, alike–started to reach out to ask me exactly how I fit this lifestyle into my day-to-day life (especially as a college student!). They were so intrigued by the movement, but because of the lack of accessible information, they didn’t know where to start.
Making YouTube Videos
I soon figured out that the easiest way to share this information with everyone who was curious was to film what I ate and upload it to the small YouTube channel I was uploading content to at the time. This was my way of making my lifestyle accessible to my community.
Little did I know–the growing interest for adopting a vegan lifestyle spanned far beyond my own circle of friends and family. Because of this, the video I had made–and my channel, in general–began to really take off. Within six months, the initial video (linked below) had accrued over 1 million views and the impact it made on its viewers was greater than I ever could have imagined.
Since I had so genuinely enjoyed the process of getting creative in the kitchen, filming my culinary creations, and sharing it with the world, I decided to make it a more regular occurrence! More recently, my diet has shifted to a more loosely plant-based diet (rather than strictly vegan), and I have documented that journey on my channel, as well.
You can view my first ever viral video–as well as some other plant-based content highlights–in the playlist below.
Sharing Recipes Through Via Instagram
Once my YouTube channel started receiving such a widespread positive response, the demand for cross-platform content increased along with it! This is what inspired me to start sharing some of my detailed recipes on my personal Instagram page. The recipes I posted did particularly well because of their ‘shareability’ and the degree to which people would ‘save’ the posts to refer back to later on.
Click on any of the images below to explore some of my recipes!
Bringing TikTok Into the Mix
A bit later into my time posting plant-based content on social media, TikTok came onto the scene as an extremely viable tool for cross-platform engagement and growth. Linked below is an example of when I successfully used a growing TikTok trend to direct new viewership to both my YouTube channel and my Instagram page.
An unfortunately large component of being a young woman in today’s society is facing the high degree to which we are pressured to look a certain way. Being that this topic was one that I had struggled with growing up yet ultimately overcame, I felt it could be helpful to share some of my thoughts surrounding it YouTube channel. Given that my demographics include a 95% female viewership–80% of which are between the ages of 18-24–, this content performed relatively well.
However, what I felt was the most impactful element of this new content sphere was the fact that it inspired meaningful conversation among my viewership base. One of the biggest reasons why I am grateful to have a platform is due to its potential for a deep, positive impact on anyone who comes across my videos. It’s even more exciting to me that my content had the potential to create meaningful discourse around topics like how we speak to ourselves, how we can resist comparing ourselves to others, and how we can learn to appreciate our bodies for their function over anything else.
Feel free to watch some videos I’ve made on this topic below.
Bringing These Thoughts to my Instagram Page
While uploading edited videos on the topic of body-image and body confidence was extremely rewarding, I eventually ended up craving a more casual place to share some less filtered/more intimate thoughts that would come to mind on a daily basis. So, I turned again to my Instagram page. In some ways, these posts became a place to share my personal journal entries. Sharing images with lengthy (yet meaningful!) captions soon became a great way to let my followers in even further and allowed them to connect with me in a way I had never previously thought possible.
Click on any of the images below to read the full-length captions associated with them!
In this very fast-paced world, something I’ve always felt strongly about implementing into my daily life is making the conscious decision to SLOW DOWN.
Before the pandemic, there were plenty of people already dealing with their fair share of mental health challenges, and when 2020 came along, it wasn’t long before we realized it would be a year that brought a whole new host of trials and tribulations along with it.
Throughout all the new tests that everyone was going through, I started to feel a strange sense of solidarity and, dare I say, strength. It was during this very difficult time that I started to share a bit online about the kinds of things that I was doing to make the day-to-day a little more bearable.
I wanted to remind people that–amongst all the noise–it’s still possible to pause and take a deep breath. Of course, that’s never going to be the answer to it all, but it can definitely be the beginning of–or bring the potential for–something great.
View the videos I’ve made on some more serious topics in the playlist linked below.
Social Media vs. Reality
A related topic that I also like to touch on across my social media platforms is the fact that social media is not reality. That is–regardless of what someone chooses to share publicly, one never knows what is going on behind the scenes. It’s for this reason that I urge my audience to never feel inadequate at the sight of someone else’s–likely curated–content.
For example–I have been dealing with a chronic health condition for the past two years that I only just recently started sharing online. This is for a number of reasons, the biggest of which being that I just couldn’t take on that extra emotional load any earlier on. However, now that I’m in a slightly better place (and have finally received a diagnosis), I am able to share a bit more with my followers about my journey.
I open up about this topic–among others–in the posts below. Click on a photo to be redirected to original Instagram post and caption.
The third major type of content that I’ve chosen to explore on my socials has been a documentation of my travels around the world. I am someone who greatly values gathering life experience from experiencing a variety different cultures. As a result, it only felt right to share this part of myself on my multiple platforms (see below).
Creating Travel Vlogs for YouTube
Below are some Instagram highlights from my time studying abroad in Vienna, Austria.