Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

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. 

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 2.43.24 PM

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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmw71r6H-Byv-N9UHwqQbFA
  • Jon Cozart https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAVns3lt0t7w8lmUZQFlvrA
  • Kingsley https://www.youtube.com/user/ItsKingsleyBitch
  • Lia Marie Johnson https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Ape6X3wiKxdH4TdSDcrZA
  • Ricky Dillon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBxs6sUSOJ3UUATAi4rp30w
  • Allie Marie Evans https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-8NUqLoQcPmpYUv3zftE7w

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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