Prajakta Koli, the owner of YouTube Channel MostlySane, spoke with the same fervour to DU Beat like she does in her videos.
Khyati: There is a certain blurring of lines between a fan and a friend to create a loyal community in the type of career you’ve chosen. They might feel entitled to some kind of personal information about your life. How do you feel about that?
Prajakta: Fair question. It depends on where you draw that line and your communication with your followers. If from the very beginning, you go like, “we are friends, family, best friends” and then later you go like, “but this is my personal life” then it’s wrong. But if you have it clear that “listen, I am here for you and you’re there for me,” then you can draw a line. I feel like you have to work on it from the very beginning and make
A lot of young people are on the internet and they spend so much time there that they don’t have actual relationships. They have people they go to places with but at the end of the day, they would rather come home and write an email to their favourite YouTuber.They message us saying they had a really bad day, or a breakup. That tells us that the trust and loyal the factor is too hyped. I try to reply to most of them but there are so many emails and its so heartbreaking! I don’t think they reach out to me for a solution, but they only want someone to share it with. Sometimes, they are so lonely because of the amount of time they spend away from people, staring into their phone screens that this becomes their comfort zone.
K: What is your opinion about people blatantly saying that you “copy” a few other YouTubers?
P: Luckily for us, it has come down in the past two years. In the beginning, I completely believed them. I didn’t even realise that I was copying her, but I was. If you watch Superwoman’s (Lilly Singh) videos, they are so infectious! I have spent a whole summer, watching her videos, it had to rub off on me! It took me time to find what my audience liked to watch, and what sort of content I liked creating. Finally, I think I know this is my area, and I can experiment here.
K: Does one always have to club YouTube with other jobs to earn enough to be able to sustain oneself?
P: I don’t think you can do a full-time job and have YouTube on the side. It requires your undivided attention. Full time job karke jaan hi nahi bachegi (You don’t have enough strength left if you’re in a full time job), especially in metro cities.
Weekends pe hum pade rehete hain ki hila nahi ja raha bhaiya bilkul bhi. (On the weekends we just lie around, like, dude I can’t even move!)
It is like a start-up. It takes some time to get the ball rolling. I have been pursuing my YouTube career for almost four years now and I have started making substantial money only this year. I am fortunate that I come from a family where my parents gave me the support to try out YouTube. Otherwise, you fund yourself. You’re your own boss, it’s
a beautiful job. It’s difficult in the beginning. I won’t say it’s not for everybody, but it’s not easy.
K: Do you think the influencer business is credible, considering a seven-year-old is the highest earning YouTube influencer of this year?
P: That is a creator to creator decision. I began with one video a week. Moved to two videos in the second year. For the past year and a half, I have been making three videos. It happened in the reverse order for me. If you know your
quality is getting compromised, you are losing out on momentum. I believe nothing works other than content, yaar! You could have the money to pump in videos and attract more people but if your content isn’t good, it won’t help
you. Before investing in camera, mic, and stuff like that, make your content better. Be consistent. You’ll lose out on the momentum if you go missing after posting a good video. Listen to your audience, they are very honest on YouTube. Give it some time. You don’t become famous with one viral video.
K: What is your opinion about the recent crackdown on fake subscribers that occurred on 13th and 14th December?
P: YouTube did a clean-up. Kaafi logo ko kaafi heart attack aaye. (So many people got heart attacks!) YouTube does this clean up regularly. The dead and inactive accounts are removed. It’s chill for you if you haven’t bought any
numbers. It’s great, it’s healthy for YouTube. Most of us have organic numbers. Inactive accounts are removed so there is always a slight drop that happens, but everyone knows this is going to happen. They weren’t giving you views or engagement anyway. This year, our drop was only 2000-3000 followers, which is hardly anything!
K: Do you think that the influencers must be answerable for the brand they endorse since it is a powerful recommendation for the viewers?
P: That is something we follow. Every brand deal we do, we make sure it comes very organically to the channel. I can’t make any forced integration especially since I am a comedian, I can’t afford to look like a sell-out. I can’t let people think I am talking a certain way since I am being paid to do so. We try to make sure that it fits in with the content. I have a certain kind of responsibility towards a brand. We know that since we have a loyal audience, they
will trust us blindly. It also threatens our credibility, we lose trust so it’s like a two-way street.
K: How was your experience at United Nations (UN) and why do you feel so strongly about cyberbullying? Do you think YouTubers have it worse?
P: UN was amazing. When I got the news, I was like “STOP! Don’t joke!” But it happened! We entered the
headquarters and I had thought that entering the building will be super dramatic, but the most chilling experience was at the hallway, which has the flags of all the countries of the UN. Going there and touching the Indian flag for the first time in my life was something I’ll never forget! I had not touched the flag in 25 years of my existence. Just
being on that podium and speaking and having your name flash on that screen, still gives me goosebumps. I
am so grateful!
I think we have reached a point where everyone has experienced cyber-bullying. YouTubers are more highlighted and thus, more prone to it. Nobody has it any worse. It depends on how you deal with it. Some believe in showing them their place. I personally chose not to react to hate and trolls, because then you end up giving them the
validation that they don’t deserve in the first place. Self-censoring is very important.
Let’s all use the internet wisely for a positive purpose. It’s like the yin and the yang. There is so much darkness, but it is also a platform where people get to speak and be themselves. Let’s use it more for that and be responsible consumers!
Feature Image Credits: Mid-Day