Comment creators discuss the impact of the pandemic

Leading cultural commentary creators from YouTube and TikTok discussed the changes and challenges they have faced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic at a VidCon panel on Thursday.

YouTubers Jarvis Johnson, Eddy Burback and Jenny Nicholson joined TikToker Michael (HePetty) and former YouTuber Lindsay Ellis in a panel moderated by journalist Mara Schiavocampo. The group discussed evolving audience behavior, content conception, mental health and advice for aspiring creators.

With everyone stuck at home at the start of the pandemic, there was nothing to do but watch content and connect via phone screens. Ellis, who left YouTube last December, said it made social media more lucrative – but made audiences more toxic.

“No one had anything to do and everyone was just trapped in front of their social media,” she said during the panel. “So I think the audience’s reactions got more emotional or more intense.”

Ellis also clarified that she wasn’t “chased away” from social media during this time, alluding to the controversy surrounding her exit from YouTube. Rather, she was tired of standing up to the constant abuse online, which she said “never stops” even after 14 years as a creator, and that she ran out of things to say.

“I felt like there were people doing more interesting things than me, and I kind of had my time in that particular niche in the spotlight,” she said, later saying, “After that [doing] something so long that I kind of felt like I needed to know when to stop.

The active YouTubers on the panel discussed the different approaches to reporting pop culture in their YouTube videos. Nicholson noted a surge in longer-form nostalgic content amid the pandemic, a trend she’s contributed to with her viral 2.5-hour show Vampire Diaries Video. Meanwhile, Burback said he’s started making videos he wanted to make instead of making videos he feels he should be making, pointing to a recently uploaded piece that he just watched disease five days in a row. He said that as the pandemic ends, people seem to be looking for content that feels more authentic to a creator’s personality.

Still, the pandemic made creation difficult, and Burback said it was difficult to conceive videos while the world was witnessing something so horrifying.

“People lose family members and I don’t want to say, ‘Look at this thing on YouTube that’s going on.’ It doesn’t seem to matter that much,” he said.

Johnson said the effects of the pandemic were more internal: “When I reduced exposure to new stimuli, it kind of felt like I was doing the same thing every day. I felt like I was in Groundhog Day and that really hampered my creativity.”

He believes other creators have also felt this pressure during the pandemic, and he said it was “exhausting” to create content when the pandemic started. Now, Johnson encourages aspiring creators to strike a balance. For his part, he said he’s made strides over the past year to make time for friends, sports and other activities to avoid burnout and find a better routine.

“I’m a very hyper-focused guy,” he said. “I’m working on a video and it’s like all my self-care is going out the window and that’s not okay. That is not sustainable.”


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*Initial publication: June 23, 2022 at 9:37 pm CDT

Daysia Tolentino

Daysia Tolentino is Editor of Passionfruit, Daily Dot’s Creator Economy newsletter. Her work has appeared in Vulture, Bustle, InStyle and Study Hall.

Daysia Tolentino

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/commentary-creators-ghosts-of-pop-culture-panel-vidcon/ Comment creators discuss the impact of the pandemic

Jaclyn Diaz

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