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Women of YouTube: Abby Stubenbort makes an eclectic collection of popular videos

Popular YouTube personality Abby Stubenbort says she is just an everyday college student living in Pittsburgh.

Popular YouTube personality Abby Stubenbort says she is just an everyday college student living in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Abby Stubenbort
Popular YouTube personality Abby Stubenbort says she is just an everyday college student living in Pittsburgh
Photo courtesy of Abby Stubenbort

But Stubenbort’s YouTube videos like Pittsburghese have earned over 94,000 views.

She likes to think of her followers as friends more than fans.

“I hate the word fan, because I'm just a girl talking about stupid stuff to a camera,” said Stubenbort. “These viewers have turned YouTubers in idols and celebrity personalities. YouTube has now reached the celebrity status. And it's a little bothersome.”

Stubenbort would rather think of YouTube as a community of people who are searching for other people like them.

“YouTube has always been a community-based website,” said Stubenbort.

But she doesn’t think all the attention is bad. Those that are really good at what they do deserve to be rewarded.

“I remember when people scoffed at YouTubers like Michelle Phan, someone who excels at her trade,” said Stubenbort. “Successful users like Grace Helbig and TheFineBros who have ventured outside of YouTube into success, that's a positive YouTube story.”

For Stubenbort, it has been a long process of deciding what works for her and what doesn’t.

“The first video I actually uploaded, was my Catch Me cover,” said Stubenbort. “Even though the upload date says May 12, 2012, I actually uploaded it December 14, 2010. I have these things called YouTube Existential Crisis where I don't know where I want to take the direction of my channel so I end up mass-purging videos and delete or private them.”

Stubenbort had started watching YouTube with a different channel title when she was only in junior high. The now digital media major in college has been involved in a few different projects.

She won a contract with Simon Cowell’s international company Base79 and made it to the top five applicants for a contest run by Nabisco for One Direction’s North American Tour.

“After Skype interviews and a long waiting process, I didn't get it,” said Stubenbort of the contest. “But, I was the youngest in the top five, and three of them were professional journalists. Here I was a freshman in college who makes weird videos in her bedroom.”

She took that as validation, her first vlog still fresh in her mind.

“The first actual vlog I made was called Juvenile Journals from Abby's Past, and it's horrible,” said Stubenbort. “(It was) shot on my crappy webcam and edited with the even crappier Windows Live Movie Maker, the video is laden with awkward pauses, vain glamor looks at myself in the recording screen and really, really crappy jokes. I threw myself off my chair really awkwardly at the end.”

Then, there are the hurdles all successful YouTube personalities have to cross.

Stubenbort says that she just ignores negative comments on her videos now.

“I know that there are going to be people that don't like me,” said Stubenbort. “I did a cover of One Direction's Rock Me, but since it was so different sounding, I got a lot of dislikes and negative comments. So much that I had to take it down. But that's been the only time I've been seriously bothered by negativity. For the most part, my viewers are really positive and great conversation starters.”

She recommends that anyone thinking about starting their own channel should be happy with who they are.

“Everyone's opinion is valid,” said Stubenbort. “I made a video called On Being Happy where I touched on a lot of this.”
Stuberbort has made many friends on YouTube. One of her best friends is ActuallyAlexa who also has an appreciation for One Direction.

The college student says that, based on what she is studying in school, YouTube can only help her get a job once she’s out.

“It's very good to have an active media presence, especially in the field I'm going into,” said Stubenbort. “Would I like more subscribers? Of course! But I'm not going to sell myself out by gearing towards one audience in particular or something like that. I try to make videos that I would want to watch.”

So what is coming next? It’s anyone’s guess. Stubenbort is always growing and changing, and of course getting better.

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