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Channeling inner talents

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As YouTube has exploded in popularity over recent years, many students have chosen to use it to express their socio-political views or simply share their talents or interests with viewers. According to its website, YouTube “provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe.” Central students have heeded that and have begun leaving a mark through their own channels.

Dania Noghnogh, sophomore, recently made and uploaded a video called “Syria, You Are Not Alone.” Although this video has only been up for four weeks, it has already achieved more than 31,000 views. Noghnogh says she posted this video because she believes in the cause of Syrian freedom from the regime. “I made this video just to give people hope and raise awareness for a cause that is close to my heart. I wanted to people in Syria to know that they aren’t in this fight for freedom alone and that their voices are being heard,” Noghnogh said.

Although Noghnogh’s direct inspiration came from a similar video she saw from Toronto, Canada called “You Are Not Alone,” she said that her inspiration “keeps coming from seeing people fighting human rights abuse, whether its people in Syria or people in Uganda or even people here in the US. Seeing people striving to put an end to oppression makes me want to do the same and be a voice for those who don’t have one.”

Under his channel “Japanzor,” Luke Chen, senior, also posts videos for a specific, informative purpose: origami education. He has been posting origami tutorials for three years now. “I just decided one day to upload it a long time ago, and the old videos didn’t really get that many views,” he said. “But after a while, more people started watching them, and so I started making more and just went from there.” Now Chen has almost 2 million video views and more than 1,000 subscribers.

Chen posts these videos to provide people out there with clear video instructions for origami, as “it seems like there aren’t a lot of clear origami videos” online, according to him. However, that is not his only motive. “I also am a Youtube partner so I make a relatively good profit by making videos. I get some ad revenue per video view or ad click,” Chen said.

In making his tutorials, Chen must make sure that his audience will actually benefit from watching. “[I] stay simple because those are the videos that are most popular with people,” he said. Chen posts videos once or twice a month. On average, about two hours worth of work goes into producing a tutorial video, which includes filming the various steps and adding captions. Since three years ago, he has made a variety of tutorials, including those on origami roses, alligators, lotus flowers, and penguins, amongst others.

Jing Gao, sophomore, frequently watches Chen’s videos. “They help me with my own style of folding and pattern ideas. His videos are very informative and helpful, and he does a good job with them,” Gao said.

Sara Klepacki, senior, posts videos to two YouTube accounts, “therealworldcentral,” which is school-related, and “klepackers,” which is her personal channel. According to Klepacki, therealworldcentral “is still up and coming” and is still in its trial stages.

“Therealworldcentral” channel, according to Klepacki, is “really open to anything that’s high school related.” Currently, they are working on a segment called Real Talk, which will be structured like a talk show. “Our segment just provides an outlet for people to talk about whatever topics are kind of close to their heart,” Klepacki said.

While the videos posted to this channel will include elements similar to those discussed in Breaking Down the Walls, with which Klepacki is very involved, the hope is to branch out beyond those ideas and examine other items relevant to high school students, such as drugs and alcohol, in addition to bullying.

Klepacki’s personal channel, klepackers, is “very different” from therealworldcentral site. She said, “That’s all of my family, personal videos, friends videos, just fun ones. There’s no rhyme or reason for why I make a certain video. [It’s] just kind of whatever I’m feeling, so that’s kind of the personal side of it.”

For students like Klepacki, YouTube has proved successful in more realms than one. It has helped further causes they believe in, and it has allowed them to share their talents and interests with others, regardless of the success of their channels.

“I think YouTube is honestly the future,” Klepacki said. “It’s our new way of communicating with one another. Like that Kony video for example, the fact that it was able to raise that much awareness, and the power of media is so much bigger than it ever was. I think it’s a main way to reach people because they’re hearing different songs and seeing visual pictures and hearing people’s story. It brings things to life that could never be presented just on paper.”

Like many students, up until sometime in his sophomore year, senior Benjamin Eng posted musical videos to his YouTube channel “asianplaya141.” “Content usually was music, songs that I wrote and covers of songs that I listened to,” he said. Eng began putting up videos around the start of his freshman year, hoping to garner many hits.

“Young Asian American teenagers were creating these YouTube channels, such as Kevjumba and all these other people, and I wanted to get in on it, so I started making videos, seeing if I could get any hits,” he said. “But I got a few dozen people, so I’m pretty content with that.”

While Eng’s priorities changed as school work became more demanding and he stopped posting videos, his endeavor resembles that of many individuals who hope to gain fame on YouTube. “There is some factor within every one of us that wants to be a star, and I think YouTube is just one of the many ways you can get that achieved,” he said. YouTube allowed Eng to share with others his own musical endeavors, as it has for a number of other Central students.

Like Eng once did, Audrey Gozali, sophomore, posts covers of songs under the username thelittlepanda23. She considers YouTube her place to sing, “I am not in the choir at school because I would say that I don’t have the ability to sing in public, so I sing on YouTube,” Gozali said. “I do it for fun. I like making music and I like to sing. And I saw a lot of people doing it, and I felt like I would be able to do it, too.”

Sophia Brand, junior, also posts musical videos to her channel “nanaluver95.” “It’s mostly covers of songs, and recently I’ve partnered up the channel with my friend Becca Pavesich,” she said. “We both put together the song and then share for people to give us feedback.” To date, they have put up covers of songs including “I Need a Doctor” and “Down.” Brand said, “We love to take requests from people, especially if the song ends up really suiting our voices. I don’t put all of my self-written songs up for fear of copyright, but I wrote some words in place of rap verses for the song ‘I Need a Doctor’ and that went pretty well!”

Brand began uploading videos her freshman year, but according to her, it is often challenging to consistently put up new content. “We get rather busy and stressed out during the school year, so over the summer is when we really concentrate on our channel,” she said. “I feel like once we get through this year, we’ll be able to handle our channel more consistently.”

Like Eng when he posted videos, other YouTubers, like Brand, hope to acquire more fame in the YouTube community.

“We’d like to get noticed,” she said. “We realized that most of the people we know are more involved with Facebook, so we made a page and started uploading videos on there too. I do hope that the videos on Youtube will reach people outside of our local radius, though!”

Haley Planson, freshman, also posts music videos as well as short comedies under her channel, “Malmooo21.” Planson began making videos years ago, but she got a YouTube account after her friends convinced her nearly three years ago. Although she has 270 subscribers and more than 70,000 views, Planson says she does not care for subscribers. “ I don’t want to make videos to gain subscribers, but rather to inspire others and make people see the true me,” Planson said.

The reason Planson puts videos up is to get a head-start on her future career. “I want to be a director when I am older, so I felt as if making an account was a good thing to do to help start my career. My videos have opened up many opportunities for me, so I feel like I have accomplished something through them,” Planson said. She also uses YouTube to meet people like her. “The greatest advantage [to YouTube] would be probably meeting many great people who share my hobby,” Planson said. “I hope that people are inspired to create their own videos or maybe share my films with others.”

Carolyn Zhou, junior, posts guitar covers of songs, Pokemon walkthroughs, and other tutorials on YouTube under the name “kzenias.” She uses YouTube in a different way than most.

“I [use it] to document my life in a way which is not really showing me in the video. [It is] moments of my mind, so to say. I post whatever I’m interested in at the time,” Zhou said. She started posting videos one year ago and then she just kept doing it, she said. And unlike most, Zhou doesn’t care much for getting people to follow her. “Random people will follow me, which is great, but I don’t really care about that.”

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Channeling inner talents