KD, nan and pops, and YouTube

Corner Brook content creator “MattColbo” makes a living for himself on social media despite the odds.

The scenic Corner Brook view is the background in many of Matthew Colbourne’s videos. Millions of people have seen Newfoundland through his YouTube videos without knowing where it is. Nicholas Conway/Kicker

Nicholas Conway

If you were to ask a room full of children what they want to be when they’re older, one of the most popular answers would be a YouTuber. The online video-sharing website is at the forefront of new media and according to Pewresearch.org, 95 per cent of 18–29-year-olds in the United States use the site.

Matthew Colbourne is a content creator from Corner Brook with almost 250,000 subscribers on YouTube and 24 million views. Colbourne’s YouTube channel “MattColbo” has been on rise since its creation in 2018. His online career started like many others, as an avid viewer. The majority of his videos are one-man sketch comedy pieces.

“I fell in love with YouTube when I started watching Achievement Hunter and the guys at Rooster Teeth,” said the 24-year-old. “I just remember coming home from school every day and watching them non-stop. I realized that they were doing it for a job and that’s when it clicked for me that I wanted to start editing videos and seeing where I could take it.”

According to Businessinsider.com, there are 36.3 million channels to watch on YouTube. Standing out can be tough and many content creators struggle to keep up with trends that attract viewers. This is something Colbourne knows well.

“I’ve found it tough, especially recently, to find the balance between what I want to make and what people want to see or what you think YouTube wants people to see,” Colbourne said. “It’s a guessing game with YouTube. I could spend 50 hours making a video but if I only spend an hour on the title or thumbnail for the video, then it won’t perform. If the video doesn’t perform, then no one clicks on it and if no one clicks on it, I don’t get paid.”

Colbourne spends his time outside of YouTube playing baseball and following in the footsteps of his provincial hockey hall-off-famer father, Darren. And when he’s not at the rink or on the diamond, he makes a daily visit to nan and pop’s for Kraft Dinner and a tuna sandwich.

Alex Curtis is a baseball player in St. John’s who has shared the field with Colbourne.

“I got to know Matt a few years back playing baseball against and with him on a couple different teams,” Curtis said. “I found out about his comedy channel and YouTube career and ever since he’s been a pretty good friend of mine (and a) nice dude.”

Before finding his feet as a YouTuber, Colbourne majored in psychology at Memorial University. Upon completion, Colbourne says he knew it was something he couldn’t see himself doing.

“I found it cool, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t like writing in the scope of academia,” said Colbourne. “I think that even if this YouTube thing does not work out, I would pursue something similar that is on camera- presenting of some kind.”

Millions of people around the world aspire to create content for a living, just like Colbourne does. The truth about YouTube is that not everyone can “make it.” Without going into specifics on earnings, Colbourne puts it into context by saying he was given two years to live rent free in his parents’ house as he tries to grow his audience.

“A lot of things have to go right for it to work.” Colbourne said. “I got so lucky.”


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