My team has an ongoing joke that no matter how hard we try we can never explain our jobs. Family members, friends, people we meet at a bars — when the inevitable question is popped, we either divert attention by running away or give a vague answer like “professionally consume all of Google’s free food.”
Seriously, the other day I almost proposed to a coworker because they told me my job — my actual real job which they understood — was cool.
So, on paper I’m a Curation Coordinator for YouTube. Spark Notes version: A video curator.
(I counter the fancy title by “borrowing” a lot of pens from the office and positioning my desk under a portrait of a cat riding a unicorn.)
For me, I see my job as one-part trend forecaster, one-part YouTube culture detective, and one-part anthropologist. With a team of engineers, I help curate and contextualize the platform’s biggest trends and general YouTube culture for the #PopularonYouTube page and now, YouTube’s new trending tab!
The trending tab and I have been together for about a year now. It wasn’t love at first site, but over the months I’ve grown to appreciate and admire its ever changing nature. The tab is a place where people can find today’s 100 top trending videos. My job is to feed the list and write titles/descriptions to explain why this video is important. Is it the start of a trend? What does it say about the people watching? Why are people watching? Coupled with writing, organizing playlists, meetings, outside projects, and Rewind — this is my typical YouTube day.
(A Rewind fangirl getting to actually work on Rewind, it was too much!)
In this job, I’ve watched digital media change the way we view mental illness, women in STEM, racial representation in media, romantic relationships, coming out, social movements, and the next generations’ definition of “celebrity.” YouTube has changed the way we connect, are educated, establish mentors, and see outside of our own bubble. In many monumental ways, it has changed the world for the better.
YouTube has given me a depth to curation that I previously believed I wasn’t smart enough to understand. Tools for coding, interpreting data — learning new ways to incorporate science and tech into my creative process has only given more weight to my projects and often, arguments.
Last Wednesday was the launch day for both Rewind and the trending tab. The tab was the original project to get me this job and seeing it actually launch was emotional. Below the excitement and nervousness on how it was going to be perceived, I spent the day overwhelmed with pride and humbled that I had played even the tiniest part in launching a product with Google.
It took me a long time to have the confidence enough to stop questioning why I’d gotten this job. Everyday I’m surrounded by some of the smartest people in tech; people who have gone to ivy leagues, been hired right out of college, and followed a career path I’d label as “the golden path to success.” So as someone who never had a perfect GPA, who struggled juggling jobs they hated to pursue their unorthodox passion for writing, this launch felt like even more of a win. For me, it was both a celebration of a product and taking my own path.
New York isn’t always easy. I miss my family and friends, the stability, and comfort in having a community. But even in my stormiest NYC moments when the train is 45 minutes late or an ice tea costs $4, I feel so grateful that someone (*cough* Kevin Allocca) took a chance on me, gave me a job, and in the process made my 12 year dream of living in NYC come true.