DCU has been host to many of Ireland’s best known faces, from Ardal O’ Hanlon and Neil Delamere to Charlene McKenna and Laura Whitmore. It seems that in more recent years with the help of social media that a new wave of DCU faces are achieving similar success.
A perfect example of this is former education and training student, Melanie Murphy. Melanie’s YouTube channel currently has just under two hundred thousand subscribers with one of her videos gaining 8.7 million views within the last year. I sat down with Melanie to talk about how life has changed since her “wasted” shy years in DCU.
Although the vlogger now describes herself as confident she says it took her a long time to achieve. “I’m light years ahead of who I used to be, It was only when I got involved in Class Rep Council meetings as secretary that I gained confidence, just by talking to new people. ” Melanie was still hesitant about doing YouTube for about 3 years however, “I said I’d never do it, but then when I saw Irish channels I really wanted to do it, my boyfriend bought me a camera and I made a video that got 100 subscribers so that was amazing.”
Melanie has suffered from an orthorexia as well as depression and anxiety and has spoken openly about her journey through the medium of YouTube, however this was not her initial idea, “My aim was lifestyle videos and I just wanted to it be personality based, I would get bored with one topic.”
When Melanie did begin to make videos about her mental health she received an influx of messages from viewers, all of whom consider her a role model. “I don’t think you can ever call yourself a role model but when other people do its very nice. I think because of the things I’ve overcome I’m now happy with people calling me that.”
Being considered a role model means that she now receives a minimum of twenty emails a day as well as questions and comments across all social media platforms. “I try to delegate four hours a day to replying to people, but I’m always careful because I’m not a professional so I give them links to where they can talk to experts, and it’s always really nice when people follow up with me weeks later. It’s so gratifying. ”
While so many positive comments come her way, she has also been subject to some negativity, but doesn’t let bad comments affect her saying “I know it’s a reflection of them and not me.”
YouTube has opened up a world of opportunities for Melanie such as winning blogger of the year and getting to know people she once idolized on the video site “Meeting Michelle Phan was amazing because in all her success she is still so humble.”
Melanie has overcome an eating disorder and depression and now uses her experience to encourage others to do the same. Without YouTube she would not be who she is today, proving that taking a chance can be incredibly rewarding for even the shyest of people.
By Megan Roantree