Emma Romano, a second-year student at Florida State University, is a living example of following a childhood dream. From a young age, she has had a passion for YouTube and has since grown her YouTube channel into a place where 40,000 subscribers can come and enjoy her content. Now, as a college student during a pandemic, her career as a YouTuber has shifted. I sat down with Emma to learn about her experiences as a college YouTuber and the ups and downs that come with this job.
Her Campus (HC): When did you start your YouTube channel?
Emma Romano (ER): I started my channel in 2012 when I was 11 years old!
HC: What made you want to start YouTube in the first place?
ER: I had grown up on the YouTube scene, watching all of my favorite YouTubers, and seeing how they interacted with the camera. Bethany Mota was the main person who inspired the creation of my channel. When I was in 5th grade, I decided to finally go for it and make an account. It was super nerve-wracking because everyone talks at that age and makes fun of you for the smallest things.
HC: What intentions do you have for your YouTube channel? (Is YouTube a gateway into a desired career path? Or is it simply for fun?)
ER: I plan on continuing to grow my YouTube channel throughout my college career and even in my future jobs after that. For now, it’s my full-time job, and I’m really thankful for that. When I graduate, there are more things I want to do other than only YouTube, so I will just use it as a side hustle.
HC: Do you think you will continue YouTube long-term, or perhaps turn it into a full-time job? Why or why not?
ER: As much as I love YouTube, there are a million other things I hope to accomplish. It definitely is possible to make it a full-time job, and something that would be amazing to live off of for the rest of my life. But at this point, I have so many other dreams outside of the YouTube world!
HC: How much goes into creating a single YouTube video? What is the process like?
ER: The process for creating a single YouTube video starts with planning, which takes as much time as you need, but most of my ideas come from seeing what other videos are trending. Then, of course, filming, which is kind of an all-day thing for me. Since I daily vlog my college experience, I’m always holding the camera and thinking about what I should or shouldn’t be filming. Editing and uploading typically takes me anywhere from three to six hours.
HC: What is it like being a YouTuber in college? How do you manage your channel and classes at the same time?
ER: It definitely has its ups and downs. I love being a college YouTuber because it allows me to document every aspect of my life. I will always have these videos to look back on and see what I was up to as a college student. It can be hard to balance YouTube, school, my internship and a social life, but I keep myself extremely organized and have been able to separate each category of my crazy life.
HC: Do you have a schedule for posting, or do you just post whenever inspiration strikes?
ER: I try to post every Saturday and Tuesday! Of course, that doesn’t always happen because sometimes life gets in the way. But that is typically the schedule I aim for.
HC: How has managing your YouTube channel changed since the start of COVID-19? Has it made creating content more difficult or have you found it to be easier?
ER: Content-wise, yes and no. A lot of my videos come from college and traveling. These are two things that are a little iffy right now. Not being able to travel has made my travel content non-existent. And not being able to go to in-person classes has made it harder to vlog my college life. I feel really guilty saying this since so many people have lost their jobs and have struggled so much during the pandemic, but YouTube is the job to have right now. I am still getting a lot of views since all people did during the lockdown was watch YouTube and Netflix.
HC: Are your friends and family supportive? Do they help you film or create content?
ER: I think at first my family was confused because, in 2012, nobody really knew what YouTube was. But now they are totally supportive and help me film whenever I need to. My friends are awesome about it too. They’re always in my videos and are the first people to leave comments!
HC: Has being in a sorority helped you with your YouTube channel, content-wise? Are your sisters helpful in the process of making a video?
ER: Being in a Sorority has definitely helped with my content! A lot of my videos have been about Greek life and what it’s like, and they have gained a lot of views. I also made a lot of videos about advice for the Recruitment experience, which helped my channel a lot over the summer. My sisters are awesome about being in vlogs. I definitely haven’t warmed up to vlogging in front of a lot of them, but for the handful that I’m comfortable vlogging in front of, it’s awesome and they make my videos 10x funnier!
HC: I know you have gained a fairly large following not only on YouTube but on other social media platforms as well. Do you enjoy having a large following? Why or why not?
ER: It’s awesome, and totally right up my alley. While it is a dream come true, it’s hard because I’m often walking on eggshells. I don’t want to accidentally say something that can be taken the wrong way and blown out of proportion. It’s also hard because everything stays on the internet forever, so I don’t want to do or say something now that will haunt me years down the road. But overall, it’s amazing and I feel so lucky to have a platform.
HC: Is your YouTube channel targeted to a specific audience? What are you looking for viewers to get out of watching your videos?
ER: I think a lot of people that watch my channel are people around the same age as me, maybe a little younger. I gained a lot of my audience after uploading college advice videos, so I know a lot of my viewers are in high school and then of course a lot of FSU students watch too! I hope viewers get a sense of joy and a kind of relief when watching my videos. Watching my favorite YouTubers has always provided me with an escape from reality, and I hope I can be that person for someone.