Ninh Cong Hoang, 22, a recent graduate from Hanoi’s Foreign Trade University, is a digital content creator with 1.3 million followers on TikTok and 215,000 subscribers on YouTube.
He once enjoyed sketching for comics in his spare time before starting to use his creative ideas to make TikTok videos.
After six months, he decided to become a content creator for good because it was more “interesting” than the previous jobs he had done.
Thanh Lam, 23, of the northern Thai Nguyen Province landed a job in the finance industry after graduating, but is tired of having to get up early every morning and commuting seven kilometers to work daily.
Besides, the corporate environment has a rigid schedule and too much pressure.
She offered to help with content development for promotion when a close friend launched a women’s clothing store because she knew how to edit and make short videos.
After her friend’s Facebook and TikTok sales channels swiftly became effective, she chose to quit her job, start her own channel and pursue a career as a social media content creator.
The allure of becoming a content producer, according to Hoang and Lam and many others in the 16–24-year Gen Z demographic, is related to the independence and freedom that comes with being their own bosses, not to mention the fact they are the first digital natives since they were born into a world of vast technological advances and innovations.
Ninh Cong Hoang records himself for a video. Photo courtesy of Hoang
Software company Adobe’s October report titled “Monetization in the Creator Economy,” which surveyed around 9,000 online non-professional creators in the U.S., the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil, found 48% saying content revenues represent over half their monthly income.
Gen Z is “betting big on the Creator Economy” and “their entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring the pursuit of non-traditional jobs, including content creation,” it said.
It found 49% of content creators aged 16-18 would rather start a creative business than attend college, and 54% of Gen Z monetizers expect to earn more in the next two years than they did in the past two.
According to Tran Thi Thu Phuong, senior recruitment manager at 40HRS, an American recruitment firm in Vietnam, generating content for social networks has become a career trend and “potential playground for creative enthusiasts” in recent years.
Young people now have more earning alternatives thanks to social networks like Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
But the high incomes notwithstanding, digital content makers face the challenge of constantly coming up with new and unique concepts to attract viewers.
Phuong says: “The secret to success is creativity. Another issue that young people face is developing engaging material in a short period of time to keep up with the latest trends. Budgeting is challenging as well.”
However, many young people are creating admittedly controversial and polarizing content to gain viewership and increase audience interaction.
According to a person in the advertising industry, the number of views, followers, and comments are significant indicators to consider when analyzing a channel’s influence and revenues.
In Vietnam, for example, a TikTok account with over 500,000 followers can earn over VND6 million ($242.38) per video.
Le Quang Tu Do, director of the Department of Radio, Television, and Electronic Information, says there is a fine line between “offensive” content and “violating the law.”
“To attract more views and comments, many people are willing to produce content that is dangerous, not educational, offensive, or violates the law, customs, and traditions.”
According to TikTok’s Q1 2022 transparency report, Vietnam was among the 30 markets with the most deleted videos, with some 2.43 million removed for violating community policies.
They were removed for violating guidelines related to nudity, sexual acts involving minors or inciting violence but also for scary content, harassment, bullying, suicides, and others.
Vietnam is also consistently ranked in the top 10 markets for deleted videos on YouTube, with their numbers ranging from 70,000 to more than 200,000 every quarter.
Child safety, fake news and violent visuals are common reasons for videos to be taken down.