Annie Long: Start it if it’s really a passion and a hobby, and you won’t really care if you blow up


Credit: Joyce Wu

Pictured above is Long’s channel. WMS eighth grader Annie Long is a lifestyle / commentary YouTuber and has amassed over 93,000 subscribers. “Every single day, I figure out a new thing about business, or how to edit,” Long said. “[Since I started so] young, I feel like my knowledge [about] YouTube is so much larger [now], and it just keeps on growing.”

Joyce Wu

Setting up her tripod in her room, eighth grader Annie Long checks to make sure the camera is in focus, the audio is working and the legs are stable. Taking a deep breath, she hits record. “Hey guys,” she muses to the camera. “Welcome back to my channel!”

Since the third grade, eighth grader Annie Long has been creating content for her YouTube channel. Her videos have developed from skits, gymnastic videos and Lego Friends videos to lifestyle, commentary and educational content. Creating YouTube videos for Long serves not only as a creative outlet but also a method of escape from life’s stressors.

“I think that YouTube is really special because it gets my mind off of school,” Long said. “When drama is getting to me, it’s something else to look forward to. [YouTube] makes it so that it doesn’t feel like my life is just school and friends – it’s nice to have a distraction at times.”

Long creates a variety of content, with each video having their own creative process. Some videos she films require well-thought out drafts, while others have a more improvisational tone, such as the vlogs and “get ready with me” videos.

“I don’t always draft it,” Long said. “If it’s an educational video, I’ll put out my points because if I ramble on, it’s kind of confusing. But when it comes to a ‘rant’ video, it’s easier to just get the camera rolling and start talking. Usually, I’ll just take the idea, and in my head, I kind of already know what I have to do to make it come alive.”

Long currently has at around 93,000 subscribers. Through her audience, she has had the opportunity to connect with other YouTubers in the community as well as gain sponsorships. Although she currently has an audience of thousands, it didn’t start that way.

“I’m working with Curology [and other sponsors, but] I think the biggest opportunity for me is the chance to engage with other YouTubers,” Long said. “There are people I would watch when I was at like 40 subscribers, [and] it was really hard to reach out to them because [I was] in their DM requests – it’s really interesting to see how I’ve made friends with [them].”

One of her most viewed videos, “where is the DIVERSITY on YouTube?” has garnered around 724,000 views, and was an important catalyst to grow her channel to the size it is today.

“I think for a long time, I was trying really hard to be a lifestyle YouTuber and really pushing for that niche,” Long said. “But I think I saw a video about Dote, and it hit me hard. I wanted to make a video about it, and at first I thought ‘Oh, this probably won’t get many views, but why not?’”

The video strayed away from her usual content, but Long soon realized that commentary videos might just be her forte.

“Then that video started doing really well, and I started realizing that people weren’t wanting to visit my channel just for the latest fashion, or just for looks,” Long said. “I started realizing that [commentary] could be my niche because I’d never really gone out of lifestyle. It bothered me that lifestyle videos didn’t get as many views as commentary, but now I kind of see it as a gift.”

Long’s videos have not only reached the wider YouTube community, but they have also impacted members of the community of Wayland. According to her, many of Wayland’s students knew about her channel even when it was still relatively new.

“I feel like my friends, at least, my closer friends, we don’t really talk about it that much,” Long said. “It’s really weird to me that a lot of the parents will talk to my mom about it – like they’ll say, ‘Oh, my child told me about it.’ It’s weird to me because I can’t really imagine kids from my grade talking to their parents about it, which is kind of funny.”

Next year, Long plans on entering her freshman year at WHS. Although she feels the academic workload and extracurricular time commitment will make her video posting schedule more strenuous, she doesn’t plan on giving up anytime soon.

“I really want to hit 100k [subscribers],” Long said. “I want to go to VidCon, but at the same time I’m not really sure if it’ll be the best environment for me because it’s just a different experience. But my goal is definitely just to meet more YouTubers because that’s one of the best parts of being able to have a platform is to reach other people’s platforms, too.”

For Long, maintaining her channel and brand is a learning process. Every video, she strives to learn something new, whether it be about business, editing, filming, networking or other techniques.

“Every single day, I figure out a new thing about business or how to edit,” Long said. “[Since I started when I was] young, I feel like my knowledge [about] YouTube is so much larger [now], and it just keeps on growing.”

Long offers this piece of advice for new YouTubers: embrace individuality and persevere.

“I think [my advice is] really just to keep on going,” Long said. “It sounds cliché, but if I had quit in sixth grade at just 100 views [per video], I wouldn’t still be doing it now. I would just encourage [people] only to start it if it’s really a passion and a hobby – you won’t really care if you blow up. You’ll just keep on going, and that’s really important.”