Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Natalie Tran on Finding, Not Followers, But a Community

By Lucy Butler

The online generation is obsessed with becoming the next viral sensation, whether it’s with a cat meme, a fail video or creating the latest trend. However, what they fail to achieve is the satisfaction of connecting in an ongoing way with an online audience, something that successful YouTube vlogger, Natalie Tran, explained at the MWF session: Community Channel: Finding Followers.

After a brief introduction by host, Dina Kluska, Natalie talked about how she started her YouTube channel, Communitychannel in 2006 while she was studying at university. Equipped with only her webcam and her quirky sense of humour, she filmed her videos after her parents went to bed and then posted them online to an, at that time, limited audience. These consisted of monologues and sketches about awkward moments in everyday life, e.g. being forced to sing, “happy birthday”, the gap that curtains leave in changing rooms etc. She showed a number of clips from her videos and the audience was able to see how much her work has evolved from those early days to the present and an audience of 1.6 million YouTube subscribers.

Even though the session was called, “Finding Followers”, Natalie talked about how most people who try to make it big on YouTube make the mistake of only wanting to become famous instead of enjoying the craft. She advised potential vloggers that they should make something that they would want to watch, and to not focus so much on obtaining followers, but rather a community that enjoys what they create.

Throughout the session, Natalie presented herself in the exact way that she does in her videos: engaging, humorous and relatable. It is easy to see why so many people adore her -  she manages to remain down to earth while working in a medium populated by attention grabbers.

Natalie doesn’t let the online attention she receives go to her head, and it was obvious that while many celebrities online don’t really care about their fan, she surely does. When participants asked her questions about how to come up with ideas, how long it takes to create a video and how Australian audiences and creators differ from international demographics, Natalie answered each of them with enthusiasm, wisdom, and of course, humour.

Natalie Tran is not only one of Australia’s most successful vloggers, but she is also one of YouTube’s most genuine and engaging content creators. Natalie doesn’t know where she will be in the next ten years and the future direction of YouTube, but if there is one thing for certain, it is that she will be engaging with her audience, and they will be engaging with her.

Edited by Rupa Ramanathan

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