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An Exclusive with Tenzin Choden-“Chundhala”

Meet Tenzin Choden, popularly known by her vlogger name โ€œChundhala,โ€ who has made a significant mark in the digital realm as a vlogger. Her online presence revolves around creating captivating and diverse content that engages her viewers. By sharing her unique perspectives, experiences, and creative insights, Chundhala has effectively carved out a niche for herself in the vlogging community.

Chundhala has garnered a devoted following of 7.43k subscribers through her commitment to delivering unique and engaging content on a daily basis. Her diverse range of topics, combined with her authentic and relatable style, showcases her creativity and growing influence within the vlogging community.

Q. Can you share with us how you began your journey into the world of vlogging?
A. Since my childhood, I have harbored a keen fascination for social media, and my aspirations to become a journalist played a significant role in shaping my vlogging career.

Q. What motivated you to start your vlogging journey, and what led you to choose English as the language for your content streaming?
A. What really motivated me to dive into creating my own content was the realization that much of what we see on social media portrays the highlight reel of peopleโ€™s lives- their successes and luxuries. This often leads to comparisons that trigger anxiety and insecurities within us. With my vlogging, I aimed to unveil the authentic day-to-day existence of an average individual- a life that isnโ€™t always glamorous like the brief moments we see on social media. I wanted to showcase the behind-the-scenes, the mundane chores, and the daily struggles that everyone faces. In a way, this endeavor was also driven by the desire to advocate for improved mental well-being.

Q. Can you share some of the obstacles you encountered while pursuing vlogging?
A. Certainly, looking back at some of the challenges, I would say that YouTube is still a relatively new platform in Bhutan. On occasion, when I have gone to stores to vlog, I have encountered resistance from some individuals who believe that filming might lead to product theft or that their merchandise might be copied. Nonetheless, I believe itโ€™s crucial for people to broaden their perspective and realize that vlogging serves as a form of advertising. With its extensive viewer base and wide-reaching audience, vlogging can effectively attract numerous customers and contribute to business promotion. So, overcoming this hurdle of misconception was something I dealt with intermittently.

Q. How did you overcome those challenges?
A. Over time, I have adopted certain strategies. In certain places, I have made it a point to seek consent before vlogging, and itโ€™s been heartening to see that some people are quite receptive, understanding the concept of digital marketing. Another approach I have taken is an internal one. If you harbor any self-doubt or concerns about public perceptions while filming in a crowd, itโ€™s essential to first normalize the act in your own mind. Only when you have achieved that personal comfort can you contribute to normalizing it for a broader audience.

Q. In a landscape where many young individuals are venturing into vlogging, how do you manage to uphold the authenticity and distinctiveness of your content?
A. Thatโ€™s a great question. My approach centers around prioritizing authenticity and embracing the unfiltered aspects of life. The feedback I receive from my subscribers underscores their appreciation for content that resonates with them on a relatable level. Itโ€™s important to remember that when starting a channel, itโ€™s not necessary to always showcase opulent experiences or curate visually pleasing content. Instead, the focus should be on infusing your vlogging with genuine emotions, allowing your raw and authentic self to shine through. This kind of content establishes a deeper connection with viewers. In todayโ€™s fast-paced world, people are drawn to rawness and originality, and thatโ€™s precisely what I strive to deliver.

Q. As a vlogger, what methods do you employ to maintain audience engagement and establish a strong line of communication with them?
A. Ensuring active engagement with my audience is a priority for me. Occasionally, I go live on my Instagram, providing an opportunity for direct interaction. Given the nature of creating day-to-day content, which can sometimes become repetitive, I address this by initiating Q&A sessions on my Instagram and YouTube community page. This way, I encourage people to share their opinions, questions, and suggestions. Their valuable input becomes a foundation for shaping my upcoming video content, infusing variety and addressing their specific interests. This approach allows for a dynamic blend of topics and ensures a more engaging experience for my viewers.

Q. How do you balance your work life and vlogging time?
A. There are 24 hours in a day, so how you choose to divide that time is in your hand. If you are at the office from 9 am to 5 pm, you will always have time after 5 pm until 10 – 11 pm till you go to bed, so you can either stay in the bed and watch TV or Netflix which is also good sometimes as self-indulgence is important. However, I choose to be as productive as possible especially during weekdays, so instead of engaging 3 to 4 hours watching TV or lazing around, I try to make it as productive as possible and get into editing my videos or creating content.

Q. How do you view the challenge of monetization for vloggers, and what strategies have you employed to monetize your content?
A. Monetization is indeed a significant aspect for vloggers. Increasing the number of YouTubers benefits the entire community, as it leads to a larger audience base, which can also be acknowledged by YouTube itself, including the option for specific countries like Bhutan. Personally, I addressed the location aspect by setting India as my country, which aided in the monetization process.
To achieve monetization, you typically need to attain a minimum of 1000 subscribers and have 4000 hours of watch time within the last 12 months. Upon meeting these criteria, you become eligible for the monetization process. YouTube provides a step-by-step guide that you need to follow, including the requirement to link a bank account. Once everything is in place, on the 21st day of each month, the earnings are directly deposited into your account. Itโ€™s a systematic process that rewards creators for their efforts and content.

Q. Given your proficiency in vlogging, have you considered pursuing it as a full-time profession?
A: I indeed foresee and aspire to make my YouTube journey a full-time occupation. Globally, we can observe numerous individuals who work as full-time YouTubers from the comfort of their homes. This avenue offers not only the autonomy to craft your work schedule but also the freedom to pursue your passions. At present, I am actively contemplating this career path.

Q. Among the videos you have produced, do you have a personal favorite?
A: When it comes to the content I upload, I tend to not feature my fiancรฉ prominently, yet thereโ€™s a strong demand from my audience to see more of him. Interestingly, whenever I share videos featuring him, they seem to garner more attention. I often encourage him to collaborate on videos, but he is quite reserved and camera-shy, while I am more comfortable in front of the camera. This dynamic has created a noticeable contrast between us.

Q. What are some of the lessons that you have learned through your journey as a vlogger?
A. I have a particular moment that I wouldnโ€™t necessarily label as a lesson, but it deeply touched my heart. Recently, I attended a mega festival with my friends, and there was this 5-year-old child who came running up to me. It was around 7 or 8 pm, and she asked, โ€œAre you Ashim Chundhala?โ€ I replied, โ€œYes,โ€ and she excitedly revealed herself as one of my subscribers. This encounter was incredibly endearing and, simultaneously, it led me to reflect on my content.
It struck me that I should make my videos more child-friendly, considering that kids are genuinely engaging with my content. This realization was reinforced when I met a mother who requested a photo with me for her daughter. It dawned on me that I need to be mindful of my contentโ€™s impact. My videos arenโ€™t only aimed at my specific age group; they reach a diverse range of viewers, including both older individuals and importantly, youngsters who represent the future of our nation. This experience has prompted me to be more conscious of my content choices. While not a conventional lesson, itโ€™s certainly a recent discovery thatโ€™s been resonating with me.

Q. Have you seen any positive changes or shift in the perspective of your viewers due to your vlogging content?
A. To illustrate an example, thereโ€™s an American woman who watched my YouTube videos all the way from the US. When she came to Bhutan, she had a โ€œChundhala listโ€ featuring all the places I had visited. We met over coffee, and she shared how sheโ€™d have her โ€œChundhala listโ€ in hand while exploring Thimphu. This experience made me realize that YouTube isnโ€™t just supporting my passion and career growth but is also playing a role in putting Bhutan on the global map. Itโ€™s educating people about things to do in Bhutan and contributing to tourism in the long run. The proverb โ€œevery drop makes an oceanโ€ resonates here; I feel like my small efforts are contributing to our nation-building in my own humble way. Itโ€™s been truly inspiring for me.

All I want to say is, if youโ€™re putting your content out there and genuinely want to start a career in vlogging, donโ€™t wait for the perfect video. Thatโ€™s what I did for almost a year, always waiting for a perfect video to upload. But the truth is, there will never be a perfect video, no matter how hard you try. When you become a daily vlogger, itโ€™s impossible to make everything perfect all the time, so itโ€™s okay to keep it natural and raw.

Another thing to consider is if youโ€™re looking at YouTube in terms of monetization. I believe that should be a secondary goal. The first should always be driven by your passion because, after a while, you can easily get burnt out trying to constantly showcase and entertain your viewers. Itโ€™s like watching a daily series or Game of Thrones. If you miss certain episodes, you might not want to watch after a few days. Thatโ€™s why consistency is key. Be consistent with your content and stay original.

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