NBN Magazine Winter 2022

Page 15

NU tubers How content creators are sharing the Northwestern experience.



n August 2020, Weinberg first-year Madeline Friedman had chosen a roommate, purchased dorm decor and was days away from starting her freshman year at Northwestern. Then, in-person classes were abruptly canceled, so she made the decision to take a gap year after days of deliberation with her family. During her unexpected time off, she struggled to feel connected to Northwestern, and when she visited campus, it was mostly empty. One thing helped her feel like part of the community, even from afar: Northwestern YouTubers. “I really like watching people’s day-in-the-life [videos],” Friedman says. “Even if I don’t know them, it’s more fun to see that they are on this campus. It’s different to watch a YouTube video and know you have some kind of connection to this person than it is to watch a YouTube video of some random influencer.” Getting a sense of a college’s culture before committing to attend is difficult enough in an average year. With the added layer of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting campus tours in 2020 and 2021, the process proved to be even more confusing. As a result, many prospective Wildcats and rising first-years turned to YouTube videos made by Northwestern students to learn about campus life. The videos give potential applicants and incoming first-years another perspective on Northwestern’s culture outside of the content produced by the admissions office. Creators have become key resources for topics like dorm living, academic programs and social life, with many Northwestern YouTube videos garnering view counts in the tens of thousands. Weinberg third-year Kate Tadesse started her YouTube channel during her college application process to document her admissions reactions. She kept making videos after she started college, and her Northwestern-focused content continues to be popular: Her vlog documenting her move-in

and dorm tour currently has over 25,000 views. Tadesse says she enjoys making videos that can help prospective students who may have similar experiences to her. “I love it when people come into my DMs and ask me questions, because I didn’t have that myself,” Tadesse says. “I didn’t have someone to ask questions. So I love being able to be that person that I was missing.” Medill first-year Anita Li had never visited Northwestern before moving into her dorm this past September. Li had watched virtual tours of campus but says that without being able to see inside buildings or talk to students, she was left wanting to know more about what Northwestern was really like. “I want to know day-to-day life,” Li says. “What are those small things that Northwestern has the just makes your day better? I know even the [YouTube] videos are still a highlight reel. But at least you get to see it better than just a PR tape, which is even more filtered and edited.” Creators also value adding perspective beyond the videos put out by Northwestern itself. Communication fourth-year and YouTuber Jay Towns says that YouTube videos allow creators to talk about both positives and negatives of the school, providing a more accurate picture of the student experience. “I think that the immediate pull of my videos was that I’m somebody who’s not necessarily being commissioned by the University to make these videos but was giving my honest opinion about what I thought about it being a student,” Towns says. Weinberg first-year Daphne Zuckerman says the honesty in student YouTubers’ content can help prospective students make informed decisions. The videos Zuckerman watched prior to applying Early Decision helped prepare her for the reality of



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.