‘StudyTube’ has its faults as well as its benefits
StudyTube is the colloquial umbrella used to describe content creators on social media, whose main mode of outreach is through YouTube videos, where students discuss their top tips and revision methods in a clear, concise and comprehensible way. Many StudyTubers are just like you and me; simply primed with themselves, a camera and some basic editing software.
British StudyTubers appear to be taking the platform by storm – creators like Jack Edwards, UnJaded Jade and Vee Kativhu have attracted hundreds of thousands of subscribers, amassing a consistent viewership, accompanied by an income of over £1.5k per month, on average. One StudyTuber, Eve Cornwell of Bristol University, has even gone on to secure a legal training contract with a top law firm, all whilst continuing to record content to keep her audience entertained.
The premise behind this vastly developing culture on youtube is to instil motivation amongst viewers – the concept of watching someone else study right in front of you is meant to spark inspiration, enhancing overall study retention and ability. Many students have taken to this niche sub-category of YouTube, with some viewers actually excelling in their exams as a result. Speaking personally, I persisted through my A-levels as a result of watching StudyTube, and my growth in academic confidence later encouraged me to apply to Warwick University.
There is an element of relatability that students alike will share – something that teachers and adults, who completed education decades ago, certainly cannot reflect.
There is an element of relatability that students will recognise – something that teachers and adults, who completed education decades ago, certainly cannot achieve. StudyTubers divulge on various different revision tips they have found useful over the years, or explore different methods so ‘you don’t have to’. Other international StudyTubers, like ElloitsAngela and TheStrive Studies, regularly produce videos which last for up to two hours; these videos are simply comprised of the creator, their revision materials and a great deal of mental stamina.
Despite their seemingly useful ability to conjure motivation amongst viewers, there may appear to be detrimental effects, both on the content creator and viewers at home. As with any other genre with a presence on social media, whether it be beauty, gaming or fitness, comes great pressures upon the creator to maintain appearances. The nature of the videos and posts ultimately produces symbolic and inspirational psychological connections amongst audiences, where student viewers may look up to StudyTubers for many aspects of their own education. Not only is this an unhealthy coping mechanism for students to rely upon, but it also creates undeniable and unrelenting pressures for these young creators to tolerate.
One must remember that StudyTubers often have to be a jack of all trades – they must script, produce, film and edit videos, all whilst remaining on top of their physical, mental and academic wellbeing. Being in the spotlight on social media can obviously be detrimental, but some StudyTubers use it to their advantage by drawing upon their own academic struggles. For example, Ruby Granger was able to shed light on her own emotional battles with university applications; Jade Bowler (Unjaded Jade) actively filmed herself in despair after remembering key points she had omitted from the exam paper, and so on. This transparency is what makes StudyTubers so enjoyable and relatable.
As with much of the online world, many representations are artificial and should not be relied upon, especially when concerning something as personal as studying and revision.
Whilst viewers do often muster up some motivation after watching content like this, it is fair to say that this wisp of energy does not take long to diminish. As with much of the online world, many representations are artificial and should not be relied upon, especially when concerning something as personal as studying and revision. One could argue that engaging with StudyTube is simply a passive form of procrastination – after all, I speak from experience – although I acknowledge this will not apply to everyone.
Ultimately, the benefits of StudyTube are clear to see, as content like this has received exceptional feedback all over the world. It is certainly shedding light on the importance of education, whilst also making strong grades look attainable as long as you put in the work. On the contrary, one must ask whether these videos are representative of the laboriously dedicated efforts behind the scenes, or whether they are an idealised perception of what the perfect StudyTuber ought to be.