The term influencer has five more years to go before it dies out because it is a very “elitist” term, outspoken video blogger Nuseir Yassin tells The Drum as we caught up with him on the sidelines of the first Vidcon summit in Asia Pacific.
“It is very elitist, because what do you actually influence? Most people do not actually influence shit. Getting me to click 'like' on something does not mean you are changing my life,” says the Palestinian-Israeli, who is well known for his one-minute videos under the pseudonym, Nas Daily.
“There are very few real influencers out there and everybody's now calling themselves an influencer because it's a cool new thing, but it'll take a while and then it will change. Then you will become a TikTok-er and you will become an Instagrammer. Then you'll become a whatever, but the word itself will change.”
Yassin, who worked for Venmo after dropping out of Harvard University, started posting as Nas Daily on Facebook in 2016 as part of his goal to create a video every day for 1000 days. He reached 10 million followers in just over two years.
His videos, which are all designed to be one minute long to capture viewers’ attention, are based on suggestions provided by his Facebook followers globally. He is also not shy to address sensitive topics like the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, where he discussed religious and racial tensions between Jews and Arabs.
That is why instead of being called an influencer, Yassin sees himself as a content creator because he reaches many people by providing content to the world. He says all he cares is about reaching as many people as possible.
“My biggest challenge is how to keep it exciting and how to not repeat the same idea twice. Imagine if like Steven Spielberg, I made about 50 movies or something,” he says.
“That means you can be creative 50 times, but can you be creative a thousand times? For me, every video is like a movie, and so I don't want to repeat the same lines, the same ideas, the same shit. So it gets really, really hard as you're doing it more and more.”
He continues: “I try not to watch other influencers. I think I don't want to be subconsciously copying people, so I try just to cover myself in a blanket and just create whatever I want to do.”
Yassin, who speaks as fast as he does in his videos, moved to Singapore in early 2019 as part of his plans to visit Australia, China, India and Vietnam. He also formed a video production house called Nas Daily Corporation to create Facebook videos for clients and increased the headcount of his startup to cope.
Describing his work process, he says it is important that brands do not dictate the way he speaks and he pushes back with brands that try.
He also explains that it takes six hours to formulate a video just to ensure his audience understands what he is saying. He says this process has allowed him to become more concise.
“The way I look at it, is this a video I'm going to make for free? Would I have made this video for free? If the answer is yes and someone's giving me money for it, then let's just do it,” explains Yassin.
“It is as simple as that. Like someone says, "Hey, we're going to pay you to go make a video about Bangkok", and I'm like, "Wait a minute. I made a video about every city in the world for free".
“It's the same content. Let's just do it. No problem. So when the goals align, it's perfect.”
So what keeps Yassin motivated to keep producing new content after so many years?" “Death is interesting,” he says.
“I think a lot of things are created because of death and the pressure of death. The Internet was created from war and nuclear weapons from war too. A lot of innovations were created because of war, which is death.”
“When you are about to die, you become a lot more innovative. There's no fucking time to chill by a beach and this is why this is what motivates. It's like, let us do something insane in the chance that we have on earth.”
He explains why that is important and that he "regrets moving to Singapore" as he has become too spoiled as things are too easy including locations for meetups that takes 15 minutes to get to and the Internet is fast.
"I have everything and the roads are clean. Bam, that's your new standard of living. We all want to have a higher standard of living everywhere around the world. You cannot live in a clean place and all of a sudden be okay with living in a dirty place. You want dirty to become clean, everything to become clean. So living in Singapore has kind of spoiled me cause now I can't live anywhere else," he says.
At Vidcon, The Drum also spoke to Singtel about why gaming, eSports and 5G are the keys to its international goals.