Why Ellena Whitfield Became YouTube's 'EllenaWhat'

Why Ellena Whitfield Became YouTube's 'EllenaWhat'

A conversation with Ellena Whitfield on the future of YouTube, journalism, and social media.

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Ellena Whitfield, popularly known as "EllenaWhat" has taken advantage of the social media revolution with the success of her YouTube channel, which has a following of 65,000 subscribers.

YouTube has become the gateway to success for many young internet influencers as the site became second-most popular in the world as of August 2018.

Whitfield has applied her success online to her schooling at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. With an aspiration to become a Rolling Stone or Alternative Press journalist, Whitfield creates weekly music reviews to her channel.

"I think YouTube is relevant because of the culture our generation expresses. We grew up with the boom of social media and it's our modern-day entertainment on a more personal level. Our parents experienced the same thing through the boom of television. This is why we've started to idolize influencers like they are movie stars," Whitfield said.

HONEST REACTION TO "A BRIEF INQUIRY INTO ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS" YouTube

Whitfield has met many other young and successful influencers during her time at ASU and the making of her channel. Her cousin, Kendall Rae, a YouTuber with 1 million subscribers inspired her to create her channel.

Whitfield expressed that she would love to become a full-time YouTuber, but there is always the fear that the platform will crash.

"One of the biggest YouTube influencers, Jeffree Star, was making money off of Myspace and then all of a sudden the platform, which seemed revolutionary at the time, crashed and he was forced to live on his friend's couches for a while," Whitfield said.

Even with the fear of YouTube ending, Whitfield said her YouTube channel has given her a platform and the experience she needs to succeed as a journalist. Whitfield said that YouTube not only helped her gain a social relevance, but it gave her experience on how to make relevant and timely content.

Ellena Whitfield Showing Me How She Films Her VideosLauren Hernandez

Human communication professor, Steven Corman emphasizes Whitfield's point on the importance of present-day journalists adopting the social revolution.

"Mainstream media and social media are part of a shared ecosystem. Mainstream media uses social media as a source of information, and social media plays an important role in distributing stories from mainstream media. Journalists need to embrace both if they want to be successful in creating stories and reaching larger audiences with those stories," Corman said.

The most unique aspect of journalism is that it is forever expanding. There are many new platforms and ways of sharing news such as YouTube that allows journalists to spread news faster than ever.

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Lexi Varrato, the social media director of ASU's AWSM club strives to evolve with journalism, especially when it comes to the club she helps run as it is one of the most important aspects of journalism to stay relevant.

"Having a social platform as a journalist is crucial because it helps you build your brand and create a presence in an era that is so technologically focused. Not only will you create your image, but it allows you to make connections that will help you further your career," Varrato said.

The rise of young influencers is very inspiring to Whitfield as she says it is realistic to make a career as an influencer. She said that YouTube can lead creators to many different careers such as creating a fashion line or becoming a journalist as she aspires.

Whitfield plans to keep her channel as long as YouTube exists because she loves every aspect of documenting her life and sharing it with her audience. Whitfield expressed that she cannot wait to see where YouTube is in a couple years and believes many college students should give YouTube a try.

"People that have millions of subscribers all started with zero. If you don't start now you're never going to know what could happen," Whitfield said.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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An Egg Broke Kylie Jenner's Record For Most-Liked Post On Instagram, Finally Proving Likes Mean Nothing

Kylie, you've been "beat."

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Recently, the account @world_record_egg posted a picture of a brown egg with a caption asking to set the world record for most likes on Instagram. Kylie Jenner held this record with 18 million likes on a picture of her and her daughter, Stormi.

A week after the picture of an egg was posted, the record had been broken. The picture currently has a little more than 46 million likes.

Not only was the record broken, but Instagram has now verified the account with a blue check. The person running the account has made merch including sweatshirts and t-shirts that say "Egg Gang" on them. Since the photo went viral so quickly, there have been multiple people trying to claim that they are the owner of the account.

After the record had been broken, Kylie responded on her Instagram by posting a meme of herself. In the video, she is cracking an egg on hot asphalt. She then captioned the picture "Take that little egg." While it is pretty concerning that an egg managed to almost double the number of likes she received last year, she is not taking the situation too seriously.

This whole situation just goes to show how Instagram's algorithm can spread a photo primarily based off who engages with it. It also demonstrates how unimportant likes are.

A stock image egg received this many likes, so should we really be basing our self worth on them? The answer is no, it is so easy to double-tap a picture and go on with your day and that's exactly how this photo blew up.

Finally, it represents what we can do when we come together: make an egg "break" the internet.

2019 is looking like it is going to be a year to remember.

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