The YouTube Generation

“The YouTube Generation aren’t coming to college, they are already here.”

IMG_0096I spoke these words as I closed a talk I gave at the 2014 ACPA National Convention called, YouTube Behind the Scenes: An Epic Insight into the Platform’s Impact on Students.

I reviled my connection to the platform, both professionally and personally.

I charged by colleagues to think about the platform more than just entertainment and watching videos.

I asked attendees to think about YouTube as a global community connector and best practice in education in how to use social media for engagement.

Please check out my talk here:

This talk was part of an evening of engaging presentations by some of the strongest thought leaders in student affairs.  Using the constructs of PechaKuchaeach talk was 20 slides progressing every 20 seconds.

Even with a decent amount of training, facilitation and teaching experience under my belt, this type of delivery required months of preparation and hours of rehearsal.  I left the conference with a ‘speakers high’ I had not experienced before after leading typical conference sessions.  I gain confidence in providing a keynote to a very large crowd and even blending in my personal life.

YouTube, Google, Maker Studios, and now Disney are words spoken daily in my house.  My ‘Epic Living’ blog contains a number of posts about this interesting life I lead, married to a YouTuber.  Here are a few of those posts:

However, as a researcher and practitioner in higher education, it is impossible not to think about YouTube as it relates to educational research, college student usage and strategy.  I have written about the limited scholarship available on YouTube in a post proposing how the platform is impacting high school and college students (here).  In my ACPA PechKucha I also mentioned YouTube conventions, one being VidCon held every summer.  After attending a number of these YouTube-related conventions I discussed how they provide virtual communities an opportunity to solidify personal connections (here).  Many attendees are teens and college-aged and education needs to pay attention. 

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This year’s VidCon is held June 26-28th at the Anaheim Convention Center, where I will move from attendee and ‘plus 1’ to participant and session moderator.  I am very excited to announce that I will be moderating a panel called “Balancing School & YouTube.”

As the program description explains,

“Succeeding in school is hard, succeeding on YouTube is harder. But a precious few are doing both…at the same time. Making the hard decision to stay in school but keep YouTubing when they could be focusing full-time on their YouTube careers, the panelists will discuss why they’ve made those decisions and how they balance school life with online life.”

I look forward to working with these current students, balancing their roles on YouTube and applying my unique perspective of serving students on college campuses for the last 10 years.

youtube_iconSo I ask, if you are reading this as a higher education professional, do you know if you have any students on your campus who have a YouTube presence or have aims to become a YouTube persona?  How are you serving them, supporting their ambitions?  How can you be a cheerleader of their page and maybe even get your campus some positive promo?

Pursuing YouTube as (at least a start) to a career is becoming more and more common.  Career services, student activities and many other areas of student affairs especially need to become aware of this career path and ensure support is provided to these aspiring YouTubers, just as we would any other profession.

Check out the YouTube Panelists below!


  • Jilian Striffler
  • Jon Cozart
  • Kingsley
  • Lia Marie Johnson
  • Ricky Dillon
  • Allie Marie Evans

One Response to The YouTube Generation

  1. Deborah K. Jorrey June 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Josie, as a 63 year old woman, I have only viewed youtube as purely an entainment, having very little social value, full of silly animal and children’s antics. After listening to you, how should I use youtube? I have not viewed many videos, only when someone suggests I look it up. Any suggestions how to make beter use of youtube. Debbi Jorrey

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