A lot of creators seem to chase the reproduction of success. I am doing the opposite right now. I just share my hikes and save my memories on YouTube. And I like it. My most popular videos however are all about »extreme minimalism«, and used to employ this phrase or some other minimalism buzzword in the title all the time. Hiking is not what my audience craves. You guys want me to show you my empty apartment.
The YouTube videos I only post for myself
At about 1.7k followers now, I am pretty okay with how the channel grows. It is small, but small is nice. And my niche would probably best be described as »simple, minimalist, mindful lifestyle crap«. Yeah, said it… Because minimalism is just annoyingly basic to me. And I’m simply not too fond of my own content sometimes.—On the contrary, I believe that pretty much every dumb_ss out there (no matter how dumb or how much of an _ss) can do minimalism content, most likely better than me. I’m not proud of it at all.
I never even re-watch any of my minimalism videos. But the hiking stories—I even watch them with my kid! And it’s so much fun. I don’t want to have a hiking channel (I simply don’t hike enough), but it is a topic I am passionate about. And, even if I didn’t make it sound like it in the introduction, so is minimalism. I just perceive it as way more primitive and less technical. It doesn’t challenge me at all to talk about it. And that makes me look down on this content, even though I like making it, because at the same time it feels rewarding and easy. (F_cked up, right?)
Minimalism is not a philosophy, it’s a lifestyle
Minimalism—as it is pursued as a niche by most YouTubers—is not at all an intellectual topic. And the more I see video creators and bloggers (especially designers with no intellectual background that actually gives their message a plot, and not just a pretty format) make pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-philosophical and housewife-psychology content about it, the more I don’t want anything to do with this.
I see so many creators make content around minimalism, just because it clicks well. And then make minimalism into this cult-like philosophy. Into this genre of its own. But it is not that. It is just a lifestyle. And there is nothing wrong with that. Style de vie or livstil or Lebensstil are not bad words in other languages. After all they all contain »style«. Not something to be looked down on per se. But just because a topic is nice and interesting, it does not make it complex and deep.
Minimalism is a lifestyle and a lifestyle is not a philosophy. A philosophy is a fundamental theory. Minimalism is at best a mindful practice. It can be part of something bigger. But to me, it is a very small part. It is an outlet, a form of clearing your head. But I don’ve ever want to stylize it into this almost religious high standard. It itches me to see people do that. And to make nothing but content around it. Yuk.
This really got me thinking. Why do I actually think that minimalism is almost a little bit stupid? Don’t I stand by what I preach? Do I preach though? I hope not…
I almost despise all these totally zen but pseudo-intellectual minimalism vloggers. On the other side of the spectrum then the lifestyle girls with their 110 capsule wardrobe show-offs in an off-white clothes on orange skin tones Instagram aesthetic… Oh boy. All of this is just triggering massive »I don’t want to become that« monologues inside my head, I gotta say.
I don’t like it if people over-complicate basic problems
Minimalism is basic. It is the most basic practice: Reduce your belongings, be happy, you’re good. The most minimalist thing would be to shut up actually. And if you can’t do that: Not make every piece of content about minimalism at least.
There are vloggers out there that make videos called »What I eat as a minimalist«, »Vegan Minimalist Skin Care« or »Minimalist morning routine«. I’m guilty of doing the last one. I’ve been too lazy to film a WIEIAD and I’m not vegan (kill me now).
But this stuff clicks. That is the reason why minimalism YouTubers put »minimalism« in every single lifestyle video if theirs, no matter how unrelated to the matter. No, I don’t buy for a second that this girl’s morning routine is so fundamentally different from any other person’s—just because of minimalism—that it deserves to be part of the title. It’s just clickbait.
Not for one second, no.
I also want to make pretty clear that I think neither does it deserve to be there in all of my videos. But do you know what hiking video people clicked most? The one with »minimalism« in the title. No sh_t, I snuck it in there and boom. I don’t know what’s dumber: my title or human nosiness. I guess we’ll never know…
Anyway, I honestly think that, if you want to make it on YouTube, there is only one way: A minimum of dishonesty. E.g.
- be cutie sweetie girly friendly if you’re angry, sad or annoyed (doesn’t matter if you’re female)
- don’t share any of your mental struggles unless you look really hot
- clickbait as much as you can, because nobody clicks your mysterious film noir title
Anyway… Will I do that? Hm… Let’s put it this way: I don’t claim full authenticity. I’d say I’m pretty authentic. But if you look at my older videos, you can clearly see that I tried to fake being a nice girl. And I’m just not. I don’t like nice girls and I don’t want to be one. I’ve always been Christina Yang, and I like and adore Christina. And if I can’t be Christina, I’m miserable.
Does that mean, I have to sh_t all over minimalism 100% of the time? Nope. It pays the bills, I like the topic, I am after all a minimalist and I like talking about it because it is so easy.
I also think that for a lot of people it could be helpful, even though it is so basic and seems so trivial and silly to me. Why, you may ask? Well, they say so. They comment on my videos and thank me for them. So I guess there are people out there who like it. And they are who my videos are for.
Will I share my struggles? Probably not. I am working with companies and people work in those companies and they are all pretty old-fashioned and I don’t want people in my private life to hear about some anxiety late night panic crap. Just no.
More though, I want to be appreciated for my strengths rather than for my struggles and weaknesses. I know that this is not the current mainstream, because it seems pretty en vogue to share every mondane little problem on this platform right now. But it’s just not my thing. To me, it is pretty much understood (because it is the most primitive common sense insight) that nobody is perfect, everybody has flaws and we all have pretty much the same fundamental struggles (am I lovable, what’s the purpose in life and how can I make the most of it without f_cking myself and others up?). I don’t have to reiterate that to be the one-million-and-twentyfifths YouTuber who has »opened up« publicly. It’s okay if some private things stay private.
Lastly, am I going to use clickbait for clicks? Hell yeah. There is simply no other way. Along with it, I am going to annoyingly repeat my content and just squeeze it into different forms. Why? (1) There are always new people coming to the channel who don’t see the old videos. (2) Sometimes I find a new perspective on something I’ve already made a video about. (3) I will never do exactly the same, even if I talk about the same set of problems. (4) Also, that kind of content is the least work for me. I don’t have to think about it. It makes my life easier and it even delivers to those who »aren’t there yet«. »There« meaning at the point where I am: Not consuming any kind of minimalism content.
I never watch capsule wardrobe videos, not even for some sick kind of »oppo research«. I honestly don’t need and don’t want inspiration. No time for that, but also I don’t want that bias. I just share what I do and that’s fine. Could it be better if I steal or »get inspired«? I don’t know. And don’t care.
So, this is all I have to say about the topic. For now, I am not done with minimalism. It is a big part of my life, it makes it more practical, and it is an easy and nice topic to talk about, although—or maybe because—I think it is too basic to even do so. But that’s okay. That just means I know a lot about it, right? So I try to see all of this in a positive way (although I am all but a positive person). And I also want to give you guys what you like, because it honestly makes me happy to read the comments and participate in interesting conversations with total strangers from all over the world. Thanks for being there!