• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

The Resurrection of The Student Blogger

ByAnna Claire Shuman

Mar 2, 2023
illustration of a person scrolling on social media on their phone

Since the beginning of YouTube, there have been student vloggers whose content centres around their schoolwork— who among us didn’t watch a campus tour or dorm decorating video whilst trying to make our university decision? Their popularity is understandable. Official uni-made videos often feel outdated and stale, leaving lots to be desired. Watching someone your own age make a minimally edited tour of their dorm room whilst revealing their struggles with Freshers Week loneliness provides a more realistic expectation of what uni looks like for the average student. 

Since the rise of TikTok and the fall of all our attention spans, YouTube has entered what some might call its ‘flop era’. YouTubers that would receive 3-4 million views on videos in 2018 now struggle to reach 700,000. This YouTube lull has pushed most aspiring influencers to TikTok, and the study vloggers are no exception. With the shift from long-form content to 30-second montages of the city comes an inevitable loss of depth. 

“Get ready with me’s” have swapped chatty intros for Zara codes, and the new carousel feature on TikTok has ushered in a wave of wordless photo-dump “day in my life” content. The study-fluencer has also been affected by these changes, and you are more likely to see a 20-second montage of clips from the library, gym, cafe, and lecture than a 20-minute video detailing the midterm struggle. This is not a criticism of the new medium; I love to swipe through image carousels set to music and have been known to jump to the comment section in order to find exactly where those jeans are from. 

The University of Edinburgh has its fair share of TikTok clout— helped in large part by the masses of (mostly) young women who flock to the Old College quad and Divinity School during golden hour to show off the most photogenic corners of campus. Edinburgh’s crown jewel of influencing, Nayna Florence, may have graduated last year, but her legacy has inspired the next generation of internet micro-celebrities. 

I sent a cautious DM to some of the most viewed Edinburgh #Studytok users, asking them their thoughts on their internet clout amongst other things. My main question, as someone without a platform, is, how? How do you balance uni work, social life, and an online presence while making it all look aesthetically pleasing for your thousands of followers? 

Luna Van Lent (@lunavanlent on TikTok), a law student with 43,000 followers, says that “I do think sometimes I feel the pressure […] but it’s a combination of a little pressure and the fun and pleasure I find in it.” She also notes that she only films when she wants to, making the work-life-influencing balance one that is more sustainable. 

Lily Vancans (@lilthespill on TikTok), who has 1.6 million total likes on the platform, believes that documenting her daily life has made her appreciate the little things more, noting that “since starting to work with brands, I’m more conscious of my footprint, but I wouldn’t say I try particularly hard to be ‘aesthetic.’” 

Salo Beyer-Vélez (@salobeyer on Instagram), says that she tries to acknowledge her privilege and only show the most relatable parts of her life to her 12,000 Instagram followers. She also notes that she started to gain an audience once she made a conscious decision to be her most authentic self. 

The uni-influencer as we knew it might be gone, but the new queens of the algorithms present something just as, if not more, exciting. TikTok tends to feel completely oversaturated with micro-influencers, and finding someone who occupies the same space as you feels extra personal. Nobody needs video editing skills or an expensive camera to make TikToks or Instagram stories. Steering away from YouTube has lost some of the perks long-form content affords but brings an exciting new accessibility that the newer study-tok sweethearts have capitalised on in a major way. Happy influencing!

Image Credit: Illustration ‘Social Media’ by Kate Granholm