SHALANA WILLIAMS has much to say about issues going on in the country. So much so that she’s started vlogging on Facebook and YouTube to discuss the many social issues as she aims to become a top social media influencer in TT.
“When I started doing videos, I did not expect them to go viral. I got views and shares. So I started taking my vlogging to a different level. I vlog about anything from friendship, politics, employment, unemployment, and any issues that arise in TT.”
Stop telling your friends your business and stop sleeping with men for money are among a number of vlogs she has discussed in her Facebook videos. Williams told Newsday she started doing vlogs off of “kicks” and “just out of boredom.”
Her first video that went viral was stop sleeping with men for money. She said it was a joke, but a popular Facebook page, Trinidad is Not a Real Place shared her video and it started to gain traction online. So far, that video has 648 shares with over 47,000 views.
“That made me ramp up my vlogging. I went from it being just for fun to taking it seriously,” she said.
What were her motives behind the stop sleeping with men for money video? She said she has a seven-year-old niece who looks up to her as an inspiration.
“I don’t think it would be fair to her when I go up on social media and be boastful about taking men’s money, and stealing men’s money, and just doing things young people would not be looking up to.”
Looking at it through a more social lens, she says prostitution is illegal in Trinidad, but many women brag about taking men’s money but do not like to be called prostitutes.
“Prostitution in many places is legal, but what upsets me the most is when people go on social media and they brag and are very boastful about taking men’s money. That is something personally I would not do and I find a lot of young women today engaging in that behaviour.”
In April, she made a video about unemployment in the country and the difficulties people have to get a job or even to apply for a job. She said the cost alone to even print the hard copy applications is too much for someone with low funds to afford. Her unemployment video has over 57,000 views with 680 shares. It was so popular she was invited onto CNC3’s The Morning Brew to talk about the video.
Williams, 25, from San Fernando works as a clerk at the Board of Inland Revenue.
She started vlogging two years ago, but did not take it too seriously. She may have posted two videos a year, but thanks to her friends Sasha Lewis and Teann Edwards, who encouraged her to keep up vlogging she began to take it seriously this January.
She has posted more than 20 videos since. One of her videos is called stop telling people your business which got over 150,000 views and over 2,8000 shares.
“I had an argument with a friend of mine and they started to share my business with people. If you have an argument, or become enemies, they may share your business,” she said.
Her videos typically get between 20,000-50,000 views with her most viral getting over 100,000 views. Her instagram account is @ShalanaWilliams. She wants to use her platform to inform people and to do good things.
“I hope I can open a foundation for underprivileged people, and I can teach people about confidence because I was not a confident person and I tell people all the time that I am a very shy person and they don’t believe me.
“I used to be bullied a lot. I was always bullied. As I’ve grown, I learnt to become more brave and I hope one day to teach people to become brave. I hope I can have my own foundation where I can help other people and generally be that person to be influential to people.”
That bullying in fact helped empower her to develop an outspoken voice. She said her mother would tell her to ignore those people who are bullies and ignore those who are not her friends.
“People don’t believe me when I say I am a shy person. I was bullied so much I was encouraged by my mother would say forget them, you have to have your own voice and speak up against those who bully you.”