YouA, a project created and led by students, combines UA students’ videos, blogs and writing. It was formerly hosted via YouTube, but it recently moved to its own website, www.youaonline.com.
Kathleen Davis, a junior majoring in advertising, and Sarah Chovnick, a junior majoring in broadcast media, created YouA in the spring.
“[YouTube] wasn’t the greatest,” Davis said. “We realized pretty fast that it was going to be hard to get people to stay interested because it was such a general website. I think people felt like, ‘Well if I’m going do a blog, I’m going do my own thing.’”
Although the project initially struggled to maintain student interest, Davis said she and Chovnick were dedicated to its success.
“We decided that we didn’t want to let the idea go,” Davis said. “We wanted to work at correcting the idea and executing the plan in a way that people would stay interested. It would be new and fun and fresh.”
The new site, which advertises itself as “your very own production site,” includes video pages for music, local dining, greek life, politics, fashion and more. A total of nine channels are listed on the site.
Davis said students will be able to earn money by selling advertising space on the site to anyone interested. Students may create their own video blog, about any topic, submit the video and have it approved, then sell ads on their video’s page.
With the move from YouTube to a permanent home, Davis said, YouA’s accepted content would broaden to include poetry, creative writing and more.
“If you write poetry every day of your life and you want to send me some every day, I’m going to post it,” Davis said. “It’s just another resource for people to get themselves out there.”
The site is currently running and accepting submissions for review, and a “grand opening” is planned for the fall semester, Davis said.
Meredith Craft, a junior majoring in advertising and the advertising manager for YouA, said planning for advertising was a large part of YouA’s long-term plan for success.
“When I met with Kathleen earlier this summer, we brainstormed ways advertisers could use our product,” Craft said. “You can’t immediately go out and start selling ads. I’m finalizing different packages we will offer to area businesses and ways they can interact with the users of our site.”
While advertising is needed for YouA to continue running, Craft said, the site is primarily focused on the students.
“We want to be able to stand out to the local businesses as a unique way to reach the UA audience,” Craft said. “This is a site for students, made by students.”
Davis said the YouA team plans to run awareness activities for the fall beginning in August, including at Get On Board Day, as a way to include freshmen in the project and the UA community.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “Not necessarily being the richest person in the world, but enjoying what I do.”
Davis said she plans to continue managing YouA as her own business after she graduates, and she wants to continue to provide students with an outlet for creativity.
“I want this to be a student’s company,” she said.