The best is yet to come for Jack Baran. The 19-year-old has amassed a huge social media following since he began his online presence, 1.4 million subscribers on his YouTube channel thatsojack, 1.3 million on Twitter and 1.2 million on Instagram.
Although online he was a star, Jack was just a regular high school student away from the digital screen. Unlike his friends from back home, the 19-year-old decided against going to college in order further his already booming online career.
Although Baran grew to notoriety through YouTube, he's not planning on stopping there. AOL.com had a chance to talk to the teenager about the moment he realized he was a social media star, what keeps him motivated and more!
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more Jack Baran exclusives, click here.
How did you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Six or seven years ago is when I got into filming and fooling around with cameras, but I made my ThatsSoJack YouTube channel in 2010 and I really loved editing and I would make music videos with my friends and we would just choose a really popular song and lip sync and I was so articulate with my editing and it was really fun for me to spend a lot of time with special effects and whatnot. That phase in my YouTube channel definitely took a little break and now I'm kind of incorporating those old passions into some of my new videos, like look books and choose a song and do similar stuff.
Talk us through your videos. How do you come up with your ideas for YouTube videos?
I kind of have an across-the-board channel. It's a big variety of what I think people want to see and what I really want to make and what I'm really happy about making. Some videos, I will do solely because I want to make a certain video, like a look book, which maybe not everyone who subscribes to my channel came to see, but it's something I really enjoy. I feel like those videos are things people would watch and be impressed with. But I will definitely strategize some videos in order to push that and get some more eyes and then I'll make some regular talking vlog, like "Ask Jack" that are very hang-out-type. Really, my videos can change based on any inspiration. Some things will inspire a skit, some things will inspire a rant, some will inspire a story time.
When did you realize you could make a living doing this and it could be a viable full-time career?
I feel like it was my senior year of high school. I started that year with around 200,000 subscribers and by the time I graduated, I had around 700,000 subscribers. So, during that incline, I couldn't see myself going to college and still being able to pursue this as I wanted to so I decided while I was applying to colleges that it wasn't going to be my main focus and my YouTube was big enough and strong enough that I could move out and move to L.A.. My friends had done it before so it was something that I had been anticipating. I knew that I wanted to follow that path of growing my YouTube and continuing to work with it full-time. I'm just very thankful that year happened because it was very big and a really crazy year.
You came out last year on YouTube. What drove you to use YouTube as a vehicle to do this?
I definitely didn't want to make it an emotional and big deal and I am a little serious in it. I kind of wish it was a little more lighthearted, but I was only going to film it once, so I wanted to make sure that if it was going to be there forever, I wasn't going to look back on it and be like, 'Oh, Jack...'
But I did it seriously and confidently because I had been pretty comfortable with that aspect of my life for about two years by then and I was meeting guys and I was scared I wouldn't be able to talk about it. When you're so ambiguous with who you're referring to when you talk about going on a date, then it's like you're not being 100 percent transparent and there is a little bit of a disconnect. How can you tell a story of a personal experience when you can't even say he or she?
What was the response like from your friends and fans?
It wasn't really shocking to them, but they were very supportive. I think other YouTubers may have had a more shocking response but my fans were supportive. Some girls were probably a little upset.
What motivates you?
I'm pretty confident in myself right now and I think that's pretty motivating enough because I just know that I have a lot to offer to the people that listen to me and I know that I can get a lot of eyes that might not be watching me right now but I have stuff that I want to share that I think people would be interested in. I think that just knowing that you still have something to offer is motivating. I know I have so much potential and it's motivating to just keep showing.
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