03/ 02/ 2016
A LOT of things happened last year. Mostly for good.
Let me rewind a bit and start from the “beginning.” I have been self-publishing on various platforms since the Xanga/LiveJournal days, which other old school folks may also remember fondly. Those were great times–many of my friends caught the writing bug, and we spent hours every day reading and commenting on each others’ posts. I got to know some Internet strangers (back when that sort of thing was still an exciting/weird idea). It was all very interactive because Facebook, MySpace, Snapchat, etc. did not exist yet.
But while I enjoyed the writing and the discussion, I never had a clear idea for what my purpose was in the so-called “blogosphere.” I moved from writing on to photos and video, and I touched on anything and everything that caught my interest from fashion to rants on social issues. I was too busy getting started with my career and living my young adulthood to worry about what was, essentially, a hobby.
Well…2015 was the year everything changed. I realized that life was about more than my day job, especially if I wanted to make a difference. And I needed to turn my extracurricular self-publishing into a serious learning experience that would eventually be something I could be proud of.
Believe me when I say it was SUCH a struggle to do this, mostly because my interests were so wide-ranging that I didn’t know which to focus on. Video had become my favorite medium of expression though, and since some of my favorite Youtubers were style bloggers, I thought that might be my passion. I tried it out, and the truth is I didn’t feel motivated. I didn’t lay awake at night thinking of what my next great fashion video would be. Instead, I recorded rants about relationships, which I thought were way more fun. And I still had no idea where I was going with it all.
Then a whole bunch of things happened around the same time. My personal life got turned upside down (more on that here), and I had to move from Brazil back to New York. I decided to start a new, general topic channel, vlogged (almost) every day in April to document the entire move, and grew more determined than ever to stay with creating videos. But even as I settled in to a new home and a new position, I still wasn’t sure what I was all about as a multimedia creator, and it wasn’t until I took a day off of work and bought a ticket to StreamCon last fall that it became clear to me that I needed to figure it out.
By some measures StreamCon, the first creator conference I’ve ever attended, was a total bust. I showed up, attended a few seminars, shyly chatted with some other creators and publicists, and mostly just hid in the corner watching people clamor for the attention of famous Youtubers (whom I mostly recognized) and famous teenaged Viners (whom I did not recognize at all). I exchanged business cards with some cool people, and realized that it was really hard to carry a conversation on with a new person when A) I could’t tell them about my day job, a.k.a. where I spent the vast majority of my time, and B) I couldn’t really sum up what my identity was as a creator because I didn’t really have one. By that time, I’d made a few dozen videos, but only a handful I was proud of. It was precisely the humbling, forced self-analysis that I needed to get my ass in gear.
That is my very long way to tell the story of how I ended up spending the last few months digging deep within myself and ultimately deciding on a multimedia strategy, and on a brand. I am retiring the Hoops & High Heels style and fashion channel and focusing my other channel, itsme Lori, on what I feel I’m best at: provoking discussion around topics that matter to people. Since New Year, my videos have covered everything from travel to the Powerball and relationships. It’s only February, but I’m averaging more than one video a week so far. Not bad!
The beautiful thing about having purpose is that the content becomes more about the content, and less about things like how many people are watching. What I’ve always loved about the itsme Lori channel is interacting with subscribers (and new friends!), whereas Hoops & High Heels mostly attracted one-time viewers who’d stop by and compliment me on my appearance or my stuff. I still have fewer subscribers and fewer views on itsme Lori videos, but the ones I do get are more meaningful to me–people are watching longer and giving me more feedback.
As part of the whole effort I also launched The itsme Podcast, a monthly series in which I interview an inspiring person with a great story that would be useful to all of us who are about that hustle. The interviews, which will be posted as videos with highlights and in full audio on Soundcloud, will feature people like athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, activists and more. My first guest was ultrarunner Sky Canaves, who told the story of how she went from not running at all to completing some of the most hard core races, and competing for Team USA. Check her out even if you’re not into running. She is awe-inspiring and, as she explains in the segment, making it through a 24-hour race is more about mental strength than anything else (like most things in life)!
I am glad to say that now that I AM losing sleep over my channel. I lay awake at night brainstorming ideas, and I wake up brimming with more. This is all, obviously, very exhausting, but it’s a good exhaustion because I am inspired, motivated, and excited! And if you’re out there reading this, I really hope you are too, and will come check it out. 🙂