After returning to education last September following my gap year, I had become interested in the routines of other students. YouTube provided an enormous variety of study related videos and I was intrigued by the large followings of certain channels.
The idea of productivity was prominent. ‘Wellbeing‘ as the core essence of this blog, I became compelled to explore the potential effects this style of video may have, after discovering titles such as ’10 Hour Study With Me.’ It’s an interesting topic for us to discuss and I aim to look into the background of ‘StudyTube’ and the affects the videos may have on viewers.
DISCLAIMER: This post is not a judgement of the individuals who make this type of content but instead, an analysis of the video style.
What is “StudyTube?”
It refers to the community of YouTubers who upload content relating to exams, revision and university in general. This can also include sharing personal assignment/exam results and study schedules. In my own viewing, they generally appear to be successful at studying efficiently and aim to motivate others in their own studies.
In a nutshell, it’s a category of YouTube.
How did it start?
A few popular British channels that I came across included Ruby Granger, Unjaded Jade and Jack Edwards. Their channels have promoted this type of content for a number of years. Ruby’s channel in particular started sharing study tips from 2015.
In March 2020, “The StudyTube Project” channel was created, claiming the phrase. It’s a shared channel that uploads daily videos from creators who are already popular in the community. It’s a clear example of the topic’s success.
The rise in popularity…
I couldn’t find any specific reason online that could explain why StudyTube has gained such a following, but I have come up with my own theory.
As we know, the popularity of social media is incredible, particularly with the younger generations. And it’s distracting. This feeds into the idea that finding motivation to work is often difficult.
StudyTube provides an answer to this by combining the use of a social platform with a video that should be motivating. This is why I believe these videos have grown: it’s a natural way to find advice and guidance when focus is something you find difficult.
StudyTube covers a wide range of videos, with the common theme of education, and it’s this variety that allows for the possibility of both positive and negative effects to be generated.
Their ultimate purpose, I would assume, is to motivate those watching and I’m confident that in many cases they succeed. Some young people in particular may need encouragement with their studies. The influencers can be role models in taking education seriously and demonstrate a love for learning.
As someone who used to be embarrassed for being a bit of a swot at school, (a topic that would require it’s own post) I must admire the enthusiasm that comes across in these videos. It’s accepting the part of you that enjoys participating in educational studies and that strives to ‘do well.’ Unfortunately though, I believe some of the advice being presented may not be useful to all.
The problem lies with toxic productivity. I use this term as I am in agreement that healthy levels of productivity is important. We as humans need purpose and accomplishment is what makes us feel satisfied at the end of the day. However, it’s difficult to measure and this is where I take issue with some of the subjects.
For the majority of schedule related videos I’ve seen, ‘time’ is the factor that appears to be most valued. They contain very long study days, at around 8-10 hours. For an average student, especially those still at school, that is at the very least a difficult challenge, but more likely, impossible to achieve.
Attention span can differ greatly from person to person and so being unable to keep up with the high standards followed in these videos could be disheartening. When I began University, I had no idea how much time to set aside per day for my work. If I was to try and keep up with what was being shown within StudyTube, I would have been burnt out pretty quickly. This result could stir feelings of incapability and disappointment for some.
Another point I’d like to make is that those who are most popular in this category are high achievers. They aren’t your average student. They have high expectations of themselves and these can be mistaken by the viewer as the only way to achieve. Once again, people learn at their own pace and therefore goals should be personal. Hearing about how someone who inspires you is disappointed in a grade you were once proud of achieving, can’t be helpful.
It’s easy, natural almost, to judge yourself against the people you admire. And this is why I think it’s a difficult subject area to be providing advice in.
As StuyTube can include varying approaches, it’s difficult to have a clear view overall. Sharing study tips and ideas with others and making the idea of education more interesting can be so beneficial. But I have to say, the productivity push does worry me slightly.
In my view, we should encourage one another to build a good work ethic whilst also being reminded that achievements aren’t always measured in time or percentages on a paper.
What’s on your mind?
Do you enjoy the genre of StudyTube? How do you measure productivity? Leave a comment below!