In Brandon Kane’s first vlog for Temple’s YouTube channel, he pans from the “Temple T” atop Morgan Hall to the Center City skyline. Then suddenly, he cuts to his dorm room in 1300 Residence Hall and asks viewers, “What’s up?”
Kane, a freshman film and media arts major, is the university’s first student vlogger — or video blogger — and it all started with a direct message on Twitter.
Kane spent the summer before he came to Temple creating daily vlogs for his personal YouTube channel about his everyday life, so when he started college, he continued to make videos regularly. Eventually, he started getting attention from Temple’s social media accounts, and when the university’s account followed him on Twitter, he took the opportunity to ask for a press pass for a football game.
A month later, he met with Temple’s strategic marketing team and started to vlog for the university. Now, he meets with the team each week to brainstorm ideas for weekly videos about student life as he goes through his first year of college.
“It sort of made [transitioning to college] easier in a way, because I had been vlogging for my other channel over the whole summer, and when I was still in high school, so it was kind of like that stayed the same when I came to Temple,” he said.
“I had gotten used to being the guy with the camera,” he added. “So I was just the guy with the camera in a different place.”
So far, Kane has made seven vlogs for Temple, about everything from finals weeks to Thanksgiving dinner at Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria. Kane’s favorite vlogging experiences so far have been the basketball home opener and the conference championship football game. So far, with more than 1,700 views, his most popular vlog was his “in-game experience” video about the men’s basketball game against La Salle on Nov. 11.
Kane started making daily vlogs to “keep making new things” and to hold himself accountable to make new content every day. Even before he began vlogging for Temple, he consistently made videos about his life in college, often featuring his roommate, Keaton Tauer, a freshman pre-pharmacy student. With both his Temple vlog and his personal channel, he hopes to give his audience an authentic look into college life.
“[As a prospective student], I actually looked up to see if there was anyone that made videos at Temple because I just wanted to see what it was like on campus,” he said. “To go on the website and see what the website shows is one thing, but to see what a student has put on the Internet about their school is a lot less filtered.”
Gina Benigno, the video production manager for the university’s strategic marketing, and a 2012 journalism alumna, is Kane’s supervisor. She said she is constantly experimenting with different ways to use video on Temple’s social media.
“A big critical part of telling the Temple story is through our student body, so we ask ourselves, ‘What are college-age students watching on YouTube?’” she said. “A lot of students in high school and college are vlogging and watching vloggers, so this is a more real way to use video for students to find it more authentic.”
“He goes out, he shoots and he turns it around for us pretty quickly,” she added. “We’re here just to support him. It seems to be working really well and I think the reason why is because it’s giving students a voice and it’s making it that much more relatable. He’s a real student who is just honestly sharing his experiences here, and hopefully he will professionally take something away from this.”
This semester, Kane will continue to create vlogs and hopes to use the “new toy” he got for Christmas — an electric skateboard — to move more quickly around campus and create a tour video for prospective students.
“I’m not sure what else the new semester’s going to bring, but I’ll probably end up in Philly just going to get cheesesteaks and stuff and showing the parts about Temple that students or prospective students would want to see,” he said. “People want to see what they’re getting into.”
“I just want to entertain people,” he added. “I want people to see my videos and want to watch them. This is just another way to get my videos out there for more people to see. I’m glad that I can work with my own school to do that, especially as a freshman.”
Erin Moran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ernmrntweets.