The Glorification of Life & Success Online panel took place on Saturday in Panel Room A. It was moderated by Taha Khan, and attended by Lucy Moon, Nathan Zed, Christine Sydelko, dodie, and Elle Mills.
Taha started the conversation by talking to Elle about her video Burnt Out at 19, which was a turning point in how her audience viewed her. In the video, Elle said that being a YouTuber was always her dream but her mental health was impacted when the dream came true. Taha asked her what her audience’s reaction to the video was like, with Elle replying that the video’s growth was quick and, at one point, it snowballed out of her control. Having that public cry for help helped her to take some time off. “It’s annoying when people say I’m too young to be burnt out,” she said, but concluded her audience was very understanding.
The moderator then chatted to Nathan about his video Succeed by 25…OR FAIL FOREVER, which tackled the pressure that young adults now feel to succeed earlier in life. “I want to be pacing myself,” Nathan said, while he explained that he was not ready to hit 1 million subscribers. He also talked about the importance of acknowledging your journey, and said that it is easy to forget how much you wanted to be where you already are. Taha then asked Lucy about the over-familiar comments she gets in her videos. Lucy said that when she opened up, it brought on a lot more criticism. She advised anyone in her position to ignore it as much as they can.
The panellists proceeded to speak about what they had learned about “going viral” that they would tell their younger selves. Elle said that there is no one defining moment, and the most important thing is to keep going. “Pick how much you share wisely,” said Lucy. Nathan talked about how he does not share his personal life anymore. “Don’t live for what people say about you,” he said, as he advised to keep in perspective both the positives and the negatives. Christine said that “no matter what you do, there’ll be people who don’t like you.” She talked about how, when she was younger, she had a second account from which she used to send hate, so she can understand the place of jealousy where hate comes from.
dodie joined the panellists at this point. She said that when people started telling her that she was glorifying mental illness, she decided to hide it more. Taha asked her about her song Burned Out and whether her audience understood the meaning behind it. “No,” replied dodie clearly, as she went on to talk about how she feels bad that she got everything that she wanted and she is still not happy. “It’s difficult to come to the realisation that creators are human,” she summarised.
“I wish I could just put my work out there and then leave. Like Beyoncé,” said Nathan, eliciting a laugh from the audience. Lucy nodded in agreement but explained that that is impossible when “the product is you”.
One audience member asked for tips for the young people who realise that they are not special when they meet a YouTuber. dodie advised that, despite it being a strange experience for both parties, it does not have to be sad. Nathan explained that there were YouTubers that made the experience special for him when he was a fan, so he tries to do the same when he meets his viewers.
Photos by Dave Bird.
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