‘We are our own worst enemies’: Bhuvan Bam on building a legacy on social media
YouTube sensation and actor Bhuvan Bam says it takes perseverance, more than talent, to succeed in the chaotic world of social media.
A dialogue from Bhuvan Bam’s upcoming web series, Taaza Khabar, goes something like this: The difference between magic and miracle is that magic is the result of deceit, while a miracle is the outcome of belief.
BB Ki Vines Co-founder and actor Bhuvan Bam’s journey from a middle-class boy to one of India’ leading YouTubers is one such miracle story. The driving force behind his meteoric rise is less about using tricks to increase social media followers and more about working tirelessly to pursue passion.
In a conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, at 13th edition of YourStory’s flagship event TechSparks, Bhuvan and Rohit Raj, business partner at BB Ki Vines, reveal the mantra behind his success.
Hunger to share ideas
Contrary to popular perception, Bhuvan’s journey didn’t begin with YouTube, but rather with Facebook where he had created a BB Ki Vines page.
Bhuvan said that he wanted to tell jokes he had in his mind, and that he didn’t have any expectations of his videos doing well. When he realised that he could reach so many people via his channel, he decided to make the most of the opportunity.
“I was really hungry to put out the piece of my mind to people,” he said. That hunger to share his ideas appears to be the driving force behind his content even today.
How does the YouTube star keep himself focussed at a time when the social media site’s algorithm complicates content creation? According to Bhuvan, he keeps himself anchored by focussing on the many ideas he still has to work on.
While his ambitions are big, he realises that it’s important to focus on one project at a time and do it well, rather than get carried away by his brand and get into everything.
Those who try, succeed
Bhuvan spoke about his journey from the BB Ki Vines web series Dhindora to Disney Hotstar web series Taaza Khabar. While the former had Bhuvan acting as nine different characters created by him, the latter was about getting into the skin of one character entirely.
Bhuvan said he was nervous on the first day of Taaza Khabar’s shoot as he wondered how he would pull through given the popularity baggage that came with Dhindora.
He shared this experience in a response to Shradha’s question on whether he was not giving enough credit to his own talent.
Bhuvan said he felt that success lies in continuously reorienting oneself when past experience or existing talent doesn’t help, just like in the case of the two web-series. He laid emphasis on the importance of trying.
“We are our own worst enemies,'' he said, talking about how we allow self-doubt to limit us. He added that people other around us often compound those feelings of inadequacy preventing us from taking a leap of faith.
The mere act of trying, Bhuvan said, are the make-or-break moments of our lives.
Not worrying about remaining relevant
Bhuvan spoke about the increasing unpredictability of social media.
“I strongly feel, it’s not a creator-based universe anymore, it’s an algorithm-based universe,” he said, adding that it is very difficult to predict what kind of content will work today.
Worrying too much about staying relevant is likely to incapacitate creators with constant fear, the YouTube star said.
He compared social media to a potato, given that nearly everyone has access to social media platforms and can become creators.
According to Bhuvan, there is an audience for every type of content and it’s just a matter of time that the audience finds the creator, as long as one stays in the game.
So how would one compete in this chaotic environment?
“You have to keep a sane mind and have patience,” Bhuvan added. The relatability of content, especially for Indian viewers, in Bhuvan’s opinion, is the most critical factor in content creation.
Staying true to oneself
Rohit shared that while Bhuvan has had many opportunities to monetise his influence, he has chosen to remain exclusive and focus only on projects that create an impact.
“People like his content because he stayed true to the content,” he said. However, staying true to oneself requires fortitude. While Bhuvan has said no to projects, he has had to deal with rejections despite his brand value. Rohit attributed this to the conventional mindset of FMCG companies which is now beginning to change. “Do what you want, at your own pace. Don’t try to copy someone,” he advised the audience.
According to Bhuvan, he wants to leave behind a legacy instead of merely winning the current numbers’ game.
“I don’t want to do any project half-heartedly. When I am not here, I want people to think, yes, he did well. I want to leave that legacy behind,” he signed off.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti