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Founder of the legendary STHLM PANDA channel on YouTube and part of the influencer couple Emma & Konrad, it's safe to say that Konrad Ydhage has been in the game for a long while, and had a big impact on the modern Swedish social media scene. Starting off at the beginning, when platforms such as YouTube and, later on TikTok, emerged as the media choice of the youth, Konrad's been monitoring all the ups and downs of the scene. Although humble and always eager to learn in the ever-changing landscape of social media, he knows what he's talking about. We had a sit-down with Konrad and talked about YouTube, TikTok, vlogs, the future of social media and a lot more. Here's what he said 👇
What it is about vlogs that make them so popular?
"Originally, the quintessence of a vlog was that you really came close to a person. It's like having a relationship with the person you're watching and getting a glimpse into their life, so it's almost like getting a virtual buddy. Nowadays however, I wouldn't say that there is a thing called vlog anymore, it's become more of the new normal, a standard expression of recorded videos - at least on YouTube. But I would say that what makes them so popular, is that you'll get such a strong connection with the person you're watching. For example, when I meet other creators, I feel that I know them without even having met them in person before. It's a funny thing. I've almost completely stopped watching TV, I just watch my favorite creators.
It will always be some people out there who digs you and like what you do, and some who don't.
How do you think the vlogs of the future will look like - both on YouTube and TikTok?
Oh, that's a hard question. I think that TikTok, if we're just talking about the platform, will go towards a longer format. At the beginning everyone just posted videos of max 12 seconds, now it's 25 seconds, they have just made it available to record for 3 minutes, and they will push it to 20 minutes. So, I think, generally, that vlogs will be much longer. However, it will be a percentage who'll shorten the vlogs, just to stand out. The longer format will also meet various platforms desire to increase the "watch time". Longer watch time means that you'll stay on the platform for a longer time. However, longer videos make it more important to be a better editor, since you want the viewers to watch the entire video and not loose interest. This will result in a harder push from the creators to be accomplished editors.
Is there a certain personality that is more likely to succeed when making videos?
I don't think it matters how you are like a person. It will always be some people out there who digs you and like what you do, and some who don't. But you can always improve, or evolve, your personality. When I started, I had social phobia. So, in the beginning, we were afraid to talk to other people. We started with candid camera and had to challenge each other [STHLM PANDA] - eventually, it became much easier for us to connect with people we didn't know. It's all about personal growth, you just have to challenge yourself. Initially, I went on Hornsgatan and asked people about the time, to work up my courage. That was vital for me in order to do what I do now.
Our society is so fast and everyone needs to be satisfied in like a second. But obviously, it doesn't need to be like that.
What are the most important thing in a video?
I think that the most important thing is to do something unique. Something people haven't seen before. Otherwise, people will lose interest immediately. It can be, for example, a great edit or a really good story - it doesn't matter. My girlfriend, the other day, showed me a creator that vlogs without talking, she just shows off these really beautiful cinematic clips with texts about how she felt and thought at that precise moment. At first, I didn't even know what I was watching, but after a while I was starting to enjoy it. Our society is so fast and everyone needs to be satisfied in like a second. But obviously, it doesn't need to be like that. So, I really think that there's a place for calmer, more meditative videos, something that can make us city-dwellers relax.
How's the Swedish scene compared to other countries'?
I would say that the Swedish scene, especially YouTube, lies one to two years behind the American and English ones. But, based on other European countries, I think that we really are in the front. Norway, for example, is way back, like 5-6 years back. Something I, personally as a creator, is missing is that I want to make Sweden's best content, but the budgets aren't there yet. I really hope that creators get bigger budgets that will make it possible for larger projects.
But above all, it's about having fun. If you're not having fun, your subscribers won't either.
What makes you stand out among the rest?
There are many things. But going back to the beginning, basically I've started from zero, twice. It's about the constant drive to be better. To improve yourself and be innovative. With STHLM PANDA, me and Olle [the other founder] constantly pushed each other, striving for better content and more views. We were constantly searching for new opportunities and new markets. Also, I think that I've been doing unique stuff, finding my own way. I decided to part with STHLM PANDA and begin with Emma & Konrad. Initially I thought that vlogging was going to be easy and believed the channel would grow fast. I quickly realized, however, that the competition is fierce. There are so many vloggers out there. So, we came up with the idea of starting a Creator's House, which became a success. So, to sum it up, try to be unique, or at least create your own twist on an idea. If you're like everybody else, you won't stand out, and people will lose interest. But above all, it's about having fun. If you're not having fun, your subscribers won't either."
Five Fast Ones
- Favorite game? FIFA.
- The game you long for the most? A new Skyrim would've been amazing.
- Favorite console of all time? Oh man, I have to say Xbox. I've had them all.
- Hardest boss in a game? Dark Souls, easily. It totally broke my confidence. I couldn't even get past the trash mobs in the beginning of the game.
- Next-gen or Old School? Next-gen! I'm especially psyched about the VR possibilities.