With the second wave of Coronavirus hitting the country, the pandemic has inspired many content creators to showcase their talent on social networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Amongst many such influencers, a budding one from Karnataka is Poorav. His Instagram handle ‘pooodup’ presently has over 66.3K followers. The 18-year-old boy from Mysuru has become the talk of the town with his Instagram reels reaching over 30,000 views. He’s not only recognised by the Bigg Boss Season 8 famed Raghavendra Gowda (@raghu_vinestore-official), but has also been approached by the popular Kannada comedy club Tharlebox, and video creating company MetroSaga.
2020: The beginning
Poorav, famously referred to as ‘Anko’ boy, started his journey as a content creator on Instagram from July 2020. In an exclusive interview with News Karnataka, Poorav expressed about the beginning of his journey. A commerce student from Mysore Institute Independent PU college (MICA), he informed that he had a page before, where he initiated his content creation. Last year during lockdown, the Mysuru boy made a video. It was a simple one receiving a great response. But there were a lot of problems. “Instagram algorithms and other issues tagged along. I dealt with self-doubts. As a content creator, I realised that people won’t support you until it’s cool to support you. So it was all blues initially. It started off with small dopamine doses, but then it went on to become something that would bring my whole morale down,” said Poorav.
In one of his videos, he addressed an important topic. It went viral on his previous account with about 175,000 views. Since this video, he began vocalising on serious issues. However, he wondered about possibilities of something going south. Soon, he began to conceptualise on light-hearted topics and ideas.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the famous motivational speaker has played a major role in this journey, the boy assures. “He gave me the idea to stop whatever I am doing on my old account and start a new account (pooodup). Letting go off my old account was one of the hardest things I had to do, as I was extremely attached to it. After I made the new account, I started experimenting, pondering upon what to do and what exactly is my niche. I took 9 months to realise what I do best,” he contended. Poorav then went on to make videos which would particularly be for Bengalureans. The first video he made in this trend was about the usage of the word ‘macha,’ which clicked. “From this video on, my content creation took a completely different turn and it was all uphill. It took time for me to adapt to these changes, because now people don’t recognise me as some person who makes videos, they look at me as a content creator. So everyday has become a new challenge, to push myself and try different things,” the 18- year-old confessed.
Social issues and content creation
There are a lot of people on social media that speak on many social issues such as colorism, gender inequality and other current affairs through their videos. Poorav, nonetheless, has a different take on this. He said, “I salute to such creators as it takes a lot of courage and thick skin to face the consequences of doing so. People compliment on your vocalisation against so many things that are happening in the society. But there is equal hate that will be on their way and that, at one point, drains their energy. I’ve faced it too. There are many out there who throw hate at me for expressing my views. People can get offended by anything. So I believe that people who speak about social issues are too brave.” Poorav’s aim of his hilarious reels is to influence the crowd to forget their chaos and have a good laugh. Since his content is inspired from daily events that take place in a typical middle class household, it’s very relatable. “I rant about topics like people burping and snoring because these things are very light-hearted,” he says. Such reels get ‘Instagrammars’ hooked onto his content since they spin on the humour factor than seriousness factor.
Poorav blends current affairs with humor. For instance, his character duo – Padma and Savitri, indulge in discussing relevant concerns. “I have also realized that people love these two characters, giving me a freeway to use them in different situations. I could put Padma or Savitri in a reel talking about a current issue in a comical way. I addressed the violence against doctors’ issue in a similar manner. I didn’t want to talk about it in a hard-hitting way, because some viewers get angry even if I’m practically correct. I tried putting across my views through a character – a rowdy who talks about it,” Poorav asserted. Through this interesting approach, Poorav tries to create the change he wants to see.
Teaching through delighting
From reaching Kannadigas to other demographics, Poorav believes he still has a long way to go with an objective of bringing awareness about Kannada language. In one reel he uses Hindi, English and Kannada. There are a lot of languages in our country; South Indian languages are recognised too. “But I have inferred that Kannada as a language is not very well spoken about. Utilising Hindi, English and Kannada in the same reel would reach different people who understand and speak the former two, and they would also recognise Kannada. I receive many responses where people ask me not to stop adding subtitles, since they’ve started to understand Kannada and learn the language. I’m really happy about this,” Poorav proudly adds.
From Instagram to YouTube
More often than not people start off from YouTube and branch to Instagram which usually doesn’t work. Poorav suggests fellow content creators to begin from Instagram, and then bring about a YouTube channel. On YouTube, it’s easier to feel demotivated since one would hardly get 10 views for a video which took hours of editing. “I have started making YouTube videos with my friend Yogesh; we have a YouTube channel now called Anko Gang. I realized that 70% audience for my YouTube videos come from my Instagram followers through swipe-up stories. You need more consistency on YouTube to gain a loyal audience. YouTube is not as easy as Instagram,” he explains.
Content creation: Modes, reach and competition
Along with reels, Poorav also makes a bunch of IGTV (Instagram Television) videos. He makes sure that he posts at least one IGTV video per week. This apart, the PU student keeps a regular check on his account insights. He mentioned that his projected estimates about his reach have a direct impact on his anxiety. “My reach started falling to 100K per day, and it frustrated me. It pushed me to hyper-function. I started putting up 5-6 videos in two days and my reach shot back right up which gave me the happiest feeling ever,” Poorav maintained. “The Instagram algorithm works differently for everyone. I push myself to post more number of reels more often, I see it work for me. People like watching more of me more frequently than I assumed and that works pretty well for me,” Poorav added.
Dealing with hate comments
For Poorav, Gary B plays a major role in dealing with hate comments. “I feel that Gary is the subconscious voice of my head. In one video, he says that someone has the time and energy to come to your post and throw hate at you. You’re supposed to feel sad for them, because they probably have nothing else to do, which makes so much sense,” he disclosed. “I take hate comments gracefully, since it is simple vanity. There’s a thin line between criticising and trolling. I take the latter positively, he asserted.
The journey has just begun
Amongst many Kannada content creators, Poorav surely seems to be the youngest to arise. There are many young content creators from whom Poorav seeks to learn. The boy said, “I take immense inspiration from Agasthya Shah. He creates reels, YouTube videos, and has also worked for shows already. He drives me to do better tomorrow than I did today.”
Being a content creator is a career trajectory that Poorav has chosen. “I always thought I was good at cracking jokes onstage. I have tried stand-up comedy, but now that I know both, I’m able to decide which of the two gives me more space. I think I’m way better behind the camera, since there are no set limits in this field. I used to see content creation as a hobby but not anymore. I’m going to pursue a degree nevertheless, incase this doesn’t work out,” he said.
There are going to be testing times, with the pandemic that seems to last longer than predicted. For a content creator such as Poorav himself, the challenging times often become points of self-discovery and growth.