What the Tech? Why Thousands Are Posting Videos of Studying
A study trend that grew during the pandemic in 2020 is still going strong on YouTube and a few other apps.
“Gongbang”, a Korean name that roughly translated to English as “Study Broadcast”. Thousands of videos and live streams on YouTube are of a student sitting at a desk while they study. That’s it. No music. No talking. Only background noise from the room, a ceiling fan or rain outside.
Students set up their cameras before sitting down to study and broadcast their sessions live on YouTube. Weird, I know but it apparently is helping students to study longer, be more motivated and cut out other distractions.
Searching YouTube live videos for “Gongbang”, I found hundreds of students regularly posting their study sessions online. While I couldn’t reach any of them to ask about their experience personally, many of the videos with thousands of views also have advertisements, earning the student money from Google.
One student with over a dozen videos shows her sitting in front of a window, another video shows her cat walking across her desk and sitting down near her computer. Another video of a young woman studying in the New York Public Library has garnered over 1.1 million views.
After thinking about these odd study videos it does seem to make some sense. After spending all of 2020 going to school from home and unable to visit a library, students discovered that study buddies can make it seem like you’re not all alone.
Another option is a website called FocusMate. This site pairs students with others who need a study buddy. You are connected to another student online face-to-face. You can introduce yourself briefly at the start but users are asked not to talk during the 50 minutes or fewer study sessions.
When I tried it I was paired with a Graduate Student from Chicago. After our quick hellos, she said she’d used FocusMate a few times recently and that she felt it helped her focus while working on her thesis project.
After about 50 minutes of her studying while I wrote a blog post, we said our goodbyes and were disconnected.
I definitely changed my mind and found value in knowing someone else is holding me accountable. She was working hard, the last thing I wanted to do was get up from my desk or go down a Reddit rabbit hole.
Focus Mate is free for up to three 50-minute sessions a week. If you’d like more the cost is $5 per month.