This article is part of WSN’s “On the Job” series. Click here to read more installments.
Perhaps YouTube’s most singular characteristic is its diversity in content — it’s where performers, innovators and entrepreneurs of all niches unite. Audiences show their support through subscribing, sharing and liking behind screens. The platform transcends barriers of nationality, language and ideology. With such variety, it should be no surprise that NYU students have found themselves in front of and behind YouTube’s cameras.
Stern junior Josh Katz takes an inter-categorical approach — his channel lies on an intersection of creativity and social entrepreneurship. With over 300,000 subscribers and nearly 60 million views, Katz’s channel is equally inspiring as it is entertaining.
“Photography, skateboarding and travel videos are my main content these days,” Katz said. “My goal is to make videos and take photos that push people to go outside and do cool stuff.”
If Katz’s content doesn’t already run the gamut, then CAS junior Emma Theisen and Tisch junior Jake Deyton’s videos extend the spectrum. Their channel boasts over 16,000 subscribers and has acquired over two million views. The pair met their freshman year while living nextdoor in Brittany Residence Hall. It was then that Theisen and Deyton began their Youtube career.
“We made fun of YouTubers all the time and impersonated them with each other and with our friends,” Deyton said. “And then we were like ‘oh it would be funny if we made a video actually making fun of that.’ And then we kind of fell down a rabbit hole.”
Although fame and sellout status is often associated with the platform, it is quite a different story when told from a YouTuber’s perspective.
“It’s true that all the big brands are working with YouTubers now — and if you have a large audience and have branded yourself correctly, you can do very well for yourself,” Katz said. “But for every YouTube creator who makes a good living off their videos, there are thousands struggling to get by.”
Theisen and Deyton noted that the money that comes with the job does not come easily — it comes with work.
“I think the way you use [the money] is what counts morally,” Theisen said. “We — for I would say the first six months — hustled our asses off to get our videos in Facebook groups,” Deyton said. “We joined all these Facebook groups about Finland and whatever our new video was about, and we would post it there, and it worked really, really well.”
YouTube has been a vital component of Theisen and Deyton’s friendship.
“Emma and I are best, best friends, so it’s been nice to have this you know to make our friendship even richer and to have this entire online community that knows both of us,” Deyton said.
As for Katz, YouTube has taken him on adventures that would have otherwise been untapped.
“YouTube’s taken me all over,” Katz said. “A viewer from Slovenia reached out and offered to take me camping and hiking in the Dolomites, a mountain range in the Italian Alps. After we facetimed a bunch to make sure that neither of us were murderers, I bought train tickets and we made it happen. [That] turned out to be one of my favorite adventures while abroad.”
Email Alice Li at [email protected]