21-year-old Austin Chui began making videos as a way to hold himself accountable in his pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. “When hundreds of thousands of people are watching, you cannot be lazy,” he says. Chui’s videos — often of just him preparing to go the gym — are part of a uniquely soothing trend (you can find many under the #dailyvlog hashtag on TikTok) where creators invite you to savor even the mundane details of everyday life.
Nabela Noor, one of the most prominent faces of the trend, started her collection of videos known as Pockets Of Peace during the early days of quarantine. “I wanted to put out content that felt like a breath of fresh air amidst the noise and chaos,” Noor says. “A sort of virtual gratitude journal to cope. It was so healing for me personally, but what was so incredible and life-changing was discovering how much it helped others and inspired them to find their own “pockets of peace.”
The 30-year-old author, serial entrepreneur, and influencer isn’t alone in seeing the potential for inspiration in the everyday. @Lovethetillerys, an Atlanta-based family of four, aim to inspire other Black couples through their Instagram and TikTok pages where they post videos shopping for groceries, playing with their children, or attending to chores around the house together. The goal is to ensure that young Black couples are able to see their lives reflected in theirs.
Chui’s content often sees him making breakfast, preparing to go to the gym, and doing other activities that contribute to his lifestyle. And while some creators might walk viewers through their daily activities, other creators, like Youtuber and beauty influencer Jackie Aina, choose to zero in on the specific details of their life. Her posts walk viewers through her lavishly decorated house with the goal of being able to revel in the everyday luxury her life affords her. “For a long time, I sort of struggled with owning that part of me because I oftentimes feel like I have to be humble and modest,” Aina says. “That’s such a huge thing in the Black community, especially for women, who are not allowed to ask for more or ask for better. That was what kind of inspired me to enjoy things both privately and publicly.”
Psychotherapist Aanu Jide-Ojo believes that the sweet spot of this trend is in the comfort it gives viewers who engage with it. Ojo describes the feeling as “rewatching your favorite tv show, you know all the plot twists but you’ve engaged anyway, it’s a nice way to undo your day and in some studies rewatching shows helps with emotional regulation, and it creates a sense of control. I imagine that same effect is created with these daily vlogs.”
There have been some concerns as to its potential to idealize everyday activities and create a false idea of what daily routines should look like. “I do think there is a certain group of people who do quite a bit of embellishing in these daily vlogs,” Aina says. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take it and try to live up to that standard.”
“It can be another take on productivity hype,” Ojo says. “If one is struggling with getting through functioning daily, it may be difficult to watch someone wake up, hop out of bed and do the things they struggle to get through, like doing your chores or a 10-step skincare routine.”
But the trend also points to a shift towards more humility on social media. “I like that nowadays it’s getting more real. We’re seeing a lot more authenticity than we ever have before but I think it’s getting more and more realistic,” Aina adds. “I think now more than ever, people are pushing to be themselves more and it is inspiring to see.”