Hey Xem! I’m sure you won’t see this for a while but I saw your status message on Facebook and I am really excited that you will be posting stuff everyday for us. Im a new fan because my boyfriend made me watch the video of you interviewing that really cute couple about their relationship. I learned a lot from it and me and my boyfriend are also going on two years together. After we watched we both started following you on Facebook and watching all of your other videos too. You seem so smart and informative about a lot of things that I have been thinking about. All of my friends say that I have a great personality and they always come to me with their problems so that I can give them advice. When I was watching your videos I thought about making some of my own by having my friends ask me questions in front of the camera and me giving them advice the same way I normally would. Do you think people would actually watch that? I also have a tumblr where I post my favorite pictures of Rihanna, J Cole, my friends, me getting dressed to go out and a lot of stuff from youtube of my favorite celebrities. I know that people like you and so many other people have real blogs and youtube pages with a lot of viewers. Do you think it would be stupid for me to try and start up my own blogging since it seems that everybody does that now? Sorry for rambling and everything but how did you get so many people to look at your videos and come to your blog? Im in school, but I have a lot of time between my classes to post things if its something I decide to focus on. I hope you respond but if you don’t, I still love you and will be waiting for tomorrow.
So, not only am I reading your message at this moment, but Ive also decided to reply to you as my very first, ‘Dear Xemmy’ post. I will copy and paste this message in your inbox. However, the response will be live at XemSays.com by the time you log in again. *SMILES*
First, thank you so much for watching my recent youtube video. Tell your boyfriend that I appreciate him sharing my work with you. Interviewing Chris and David was such a refreshing experience for me. I was truly impressed by their candid moments on-screen. I think the on-screen conversation gave hope to a lot of us who may have given up on love or who face issues in our present, romantic relationships. Meanwhile, I most certainly encourage you to share your own relationship stories or personal interests online. The internet has become the perfect outlet for individuals like myself to express thoughts, opinions, ideas, creativity and visual artistry. When I first began blogging in September, 2007, my audience solely consisted of my real life friends, my brother and sister, parents and associates in the Baltimore, DC, Virginia area. I didn’t have a huge following, at all. My only social media network was MySpace, and I would often share my links with the 500 friends or so I had at the time. I would make posts about everything I loved, much like you said you already do. I talked about red carpet events, awards shows, events going on in Baltimore, and a slew of other topics. My friends were often annoyed by me flooding their email accounts with my blogs, but it was therapeutic for me at the time. Little did I know, the next 11 months were preparing me for national exposure. I recorded and posted my first Youtube video in August of 2008 while residing in Los Angeles, California. I shared the video on MySpace on a Saturday night, and woke up to the video posted via MediaTakeOut.com that Monday morning. I had not personally sent my video to the site, for I knew nothing about submitting content to blog owners. I knew nothing about being a ‘Youtube Star’ or even blogging to create an income. I started sharing myself online as a hobby. God then revealed that my purpose on earth was to use my personal experiences to reach the lives of those who otherwise felt silenced.
You HAVE TO REALIZE that everyone uses social media because these networks define our generation. Many people record videos for Youtube, Vine, Vimeo and other digital sharing platforms. Lots of individuals also use tumblr and personal dot coms to post about celebrities, relationships, technology, finance and a slew of other topics. The ‘trick’ is that you bring your own personal style to these social media platforms. I think it’s a unique idea to have your friends sit beside you on camera and speak about their problems as if you two were alone, behind closed doors. Let the ‘world’ see the special bond you share with your friends. Most people can already identify with ‘friendship’. Then, your new viewers will also listen to you give sound advice.
Keep in mind that most people are solely on youtube to achieve overnight ‘fame’. Their hope is that a silly, comical video will go viral and somehow land them on a makeshift television series. A lot of individuals strictly talk about reality shows, celebrity headlines and other hollywood driven topics. While it works for their platform and the audience they aim to target, you are more so looking to share yourself with people who want to feel as if they’re sitting with their BFF. Honestly, most people tell me that when they watch me online, they feel like they’re sitting with their big brother, best friend, son, preacher, father, etc. LOL! I embrace that.
You ARE able to stand out from the crowd, for as long as you aren’t trying to copy someone else’s style and presentation. Don’t mimic the platform that someone else has already built for themselves. Use your youtube channel or your blog to share stories in a way that isn’t common across all online websites.
And to answer your question about how I built my following..initially, it truly was a lot of work. I created Yahoo quick lists to email my video links and blogger links to 100 people at a time. In 2008, Yahoo would allow email users to create ‘quick lists’ that held 100 email addresses. Each week, I would spend my nights gathering as many email addresses as I could find on Facebook, in forwarded messages, in the ‘Contact’ sections of different websites, and anywhere else that would allow me to intrude. There was a time when I had a total of 25 quick lists; each holding 100 email contacts. Every weekend, I would then email links to my most recent video, as well as all of the posts I had made during the week, to those individual quick lists. After six months had gone by, word of mouth really helped my online presence expand. People were posting my videos in different online forums. My blogger webpage was also linked at the end of each weekly video. As a result, the viewers would then visit my website daily to read my articles while they waited for me to post a new video.
Honestly, once you have people interested in who you are, they will support the content you place in front of them. It’s not always the quality of the written or recorded material that establishes your audience. It’s often times, your personality, demeanor, vulnerability and ‘human factor’.
YOU CAN NOT BE AFRAID TO BE TRANSPARENT.
You can not approach blogging or recording videos as your opportunity to be ‘fabulous’ and ‘pseudo famous’ online. Share an authentic side of your character, and your blog posts or videos will certainly stand amongst the sea of individuals who are pretending to live a life that doesn’t truly exist. I encourage you to do it all!