“Aloha! It’s Katie and today…”
That is how Katie Go ’22 begins each of her YouTube videos on her popular channel “Katie Tracy” — which currently has 8.1 million views over 243 videos and over 127,000 subscribers. She started out making DIY videos for costumes, gifts and school supplies but eventually moved into lifestyle content, and once she was accepted to Cornell, videos about what life is like in Ithaca.
Go created her channel in eighth grade, as she was “always into social media,” spending time on popular apps such as Instagram and Tumblr.
“I kept it a secret at first, because I didn’t think my parents would approve. They might have made me take it down,” Go told The Sun in an interview. “After I kept making videos and eventually growing a following, I realized it was something I wanted to continue.”
When Go was accepted to Cornell, she was worried how attending an Ivy League college would interfere with her ability to run her channel. As a student pursuing a major in either computer science or information science, she was concerned about the time commitment.
“At the start, before coming to college, that was definitely one of my concerns. Nowadays it’s easier because I’ve been able to set up a team of editors that can help me,” Go said. Her two editors, Go said, are students themselves at other colleges.
Though Go works to balance her two lives, one sometimes one bleeds into another. According to Go, she often gets recognized on campus as “that YouTube girl” or “Katie Tracy.”
“I kind of have a ‘fangirl moment’ when someone walks up and recognizes me,” Go said.
However, she said that the fame is not all positive. Go said that, like many female YouTubers, there are plenty of negative comments on her videos, ranging from general hate comments to inappropriate sexual comments. She also mentioned that she has also had to handle issues of possible stalking in the past.
“Putting yourself out there online opens up a whole Pandora’s box of weird things. I’m still trying to figure it all out,” Go said.
Despite the negativity, Go is committed to continuing her channel. She plans to keep posting regularly on her channel at least until she graduates from Cornell, and then will decide what she wants to do with the channel in the future.
Go mentioned she has thought about turning the channel into a full-time job, but had some reservations.
“It’s a big life crisis I’m having right now. It would be amazing if [my channel] scaled to the size where it could be a career path. I don’t know if I would pursue it because I worry that if it becomes a job it might take out the joy from it.”