Although I knew that it had been a while since I posted on my political commentary channel, I only realised that it had been almost five months when I logged back into the account to upload my new video. A lot of time had passed not because I had no ideas for videos or because I did not want to make these videos, but rather because I had been a little scared of posting content on that channel.
Let me explain: When you are a content creator online (or, as it is often called, an "influencer"), one of the first things people tell you is to stay away from anything controversial - whether it is politics or religion or something else. When I thought about making my political commentary channel, a lot of my friends told me that it was a bad idea. I ended up doing it anyway and the reactions have been positive overall. Not everyone in the comment sections of my videos agrees with me, but people have been respectful and I actually enjoy hearing other persons' point of view on the topics.
So why was I afraid of posting new content on there? It was not because of my political views - I believe that if you hold political views that you are ashamed of voicing in an environment where free speech is protected, that is a good indicator that you should probably not hold these beliefs. It was more about whether I really wanted to publicly involve myself in political discussions. People on the internet are not always kind and when it comes to topics that they feel strongly about, comments can get rude. Take the example of how I mentioned in a recent video that I was an atheist (that was literally all I said about it in response to an assumption that I was not religious) and woke up to five emails telling me why this is wrong. Some of the emails were respectful though certainly patronising, but others were less kind and basically told me I'm on the wrong side of some moral standard.
I am not scared of comments like this, but they can be exhausting over time. Having a political commentary channel means that I constantly put myself out there for comments where people may make things personal. I was not sure whether I wanted that. I was scared of this mental drain that can occur. But then I also wondered if that is not the excuse many use for avoiding discussing important things.
I want people to enjoy my videos and for the videos to motivate them and make them laugh. But I also want to encourage my audience to educate themselves and to have difficult discussions. To not be afraid of getting involved in political discussions. Like when your parents tell you not to engage in political discourse when that family member with problematic views about immigration comes over - I want people to feel that they are allowed to call that family member out.
Although making videos still feels the same way it did when I started doing it with zero subscribers, I have also come to realise how much of a responsibility I have. There are now over 70,000 people subscribed to my main channel. I get weekly messages and emails from people who tell me that they look up to me. And although I am by no means a perfect role model, I try to do a good job in living up to the responsibility that my audience's trust creates.
How can we normalise having discussions about political topics when it is something we often shy away from - both online and offline? I do not want the people watching my videos to agree with my views, but I want them to feel like discussing big topics is normal. And I want them to know that they can do it too - whether online or in real life and no matter whether they are young or have lots of life experience. I have often been told 'well, I would think that too at your age' and I have always hated that argument - it implies that you must be wrong because of your age, but it does not address the argument raised. But it also discourages young people from voicing their opinion again.
My audience is predominantly aged 18-24 and I want them to form their opinions on political topics - whether they conclude that they agree with me or not. I want them to care about these issues so that they will go out and vote. And that is why I went back to my political commentary channel.
Lots of Love,
P.S.: A massive thank you to my cousin Assunta for letting me use this picture. You can find her on Instagram here.
...And if you would like to see the new video on my political commentary channel, here it is: