Getting Free With Natalie: A Challenge of Digital Vulnerability and Voice.

“Get Free With Natalie” started off as a single platform project, and evolved into two connected platforms as I realized that the message I wanted to get across was not translating in fully the way I wanted on TikTok. TikTok for me was a challenge, as a creator who tends to like to spend a lot of time on singular projects, playing and adjusting with them and getting a lot of feedback for as long as I can before the publishing date. TikTok definitely is not designed for this type of more deep thinking and is meant for more of a short form approach. In this aspect, I was extremely grateful for my opportunity to deeply challenge myself and push myself to create videos that would have originally been 5–10 minutes long in my mind, and instead center them around 30 seconds to a minute long pieces of quick content. It caused me to cut down my ideas, language and overall concepts to the very simple, core aim of each tiny TikTok. Time was a major challenge for me in this aspect, so I did not get to push out as many TikToks as originally planned.

However, as I started to realize that my messages were not able to completely get interpreted on TikTok, I started to play with the idea that I should expand upon my idea and open it up to a longer form platform. I was beginning to interview Gen-Zers on their experiences of spiritual awakening and mental health during the pandemic, and aimed to put tiny clips of their interviews on TikTok. In an interesting twist, I realized that I was sort of creating a podcast like episode when I was doing these longer interviews. Interview meant for a 30-second TikTok turned into one or two hour long interviews, which prompted me to question how I would put this content out. I loved my interviews, and thought they could stand on their own. Thus, “MINDF*CK” was born, an existential dissection of the Gen-Z mind, with a dash of a cosmic perspective. With this platform, I was able to do the intense and more vulnerable deep dive into young people’s minds, because with TikTok, I felt I was not able to fully capture people’s full stories.

The podcast did not garner nearly as many views as my TikToks, which was expected since they were much longer and took more energy and time to consume. My best performing post was the first TikTok I posted, which was an explanation of a couple of short messages I had learned from my personal meditation experiences. It was a pretty personal TikTok, which the algorithm tends to like, and my face appeared in the first 5–10 seconds, which also tends to help TikToks since it adds an extra personal edge. This is something I learned intensely on the TikTok platform. The more tea spilled about one’s life and personal stories, the more views garnered.

Additionally, another challenge with my podcast was it being repeatedly deleted randomly from various platforms like Spotify and Apple, because of explicit material used in the content. I am currently in the process of making sure that it is still being pushed out, as the second episode keeps getting deleted off of various platforms without warning. This definitely affected the amount of people who were exposed to it, since the original views get cancelled when it is deleted by the platform.

I will most definitely be continuing this project. I have never been one to share my voice online, always scared to figure it out the kind of person I would present to the world. Now that I have found my voice and I am comfortable with it because it is related to something I feel genuinely excited and joyful about sharing, I am so excited for the future. This class was a challenge for someone who usually remains more silent online, but now that I have pushed myself, I can’t wait to create more in the future.