24-Year-Old Mikaela Long Is Making Social Media Funny
Remember Vine? The video sharing platform no longer exists, but for creators like Mikaela Long, Vine was a way to becoming a social media influencer. From tripping on sandcastles to dancing around in a donkey mask, Long built an audience of comedy fans one six-second video at a time.
Now 24, Long has moved from being a Viner to a YouTube content creator. In addition to her legion of fans, she has racked up some awards for her comedy. She won Vine Comedian of the Year at the Shorty Awards in 2016 and now is up for this year’s YouTube Comedian of the Year Award. She recently got her first sponsorship on YouTube.
Long started making Vines because her friends were doing it. “I remember Vine had made its debut and all my friends were using it to update everyone about their day, like showing their feet by the pool or what they were having for dinner. Then there was me.” She explains, “I always wanted to do something funny that would make my friends laugh.” She put out about five Vines before her friends stopped using the app and she also dropped off. When she logged back on a year later, the app had taken off. “I saw all of these new features like loops, likes, and re-vines attached to popular Viners, and thought to myself, ‘I can do this. I better catch up!’
When Vine was shut down in October of 2016, Long lost over 1.3 million followers. While it felt like a major setback at the time, a couple of months later, Long made the jump to YouTube and started creating videos. She currently has over 763,000 followers on the platform, with her videos getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views.
Long truly believes in the power of online content. “I treasure the creators I watch and listen to online because they can make a boring task enjoyable, transform my mood, inspire me, and sometimes even make existing easier,” she continues, “I strive to be that person for other people.”
Long’s videos often feature her doing her makeup or drinking and then trying to perform a task, but for the most part, her videos are entertaining because of her sense of humor. Her videos are often wackier and sillier than your standard blogger. Long might not call herself a comedian, but on top of her several comedy award nominations, she acknowledges, “I do always try to say and do things that will generate a smile or make people laugh.”
While some YouTube creators focus on a single type of content or pattern, Long seems to enjoy changing up her videos. “It’s rare that I know what my next video will be which makes the whole managing my stress thing difficult.” She explains, “I chalk up a lot of my ideas to what sparks my joy in everyday life, something I would normally do, but with a twist. Those are my favorite videos to make.” Already popular online before she graduated, she finished her degree Summa Cum Laude majoring in Visual and Performing Arts with a focus in Arts and Technology with a minor in French. Her education has contributed positively to her career as a content creator; she says, “I proudly use my major every single day as a creator.”
While starting over as a YouTuber has been a successful venture for Long, she has been hit by new challenges, especially with respect to YouTube’s copyright claims. “Basically, if I use one second of copyrighted audio in a 20-minute video I put my heart and soul into, I can get claimed without warning,” she explains, “and all future earnings go to the music company that claimed it.”