RealJobs: Kevin Allocca

When I was a senior at BC, I had no idea what I was going to do for a job come commencement day.  I certainly didn’t think that 5 year’s later I’d be working at Google as YouTube’s expert on “cultural and trending phenomenon” and leading the community and programming team.  In fact, after graduation, I spent a several months chilling/freaking out at my house in Florida, muttering to myself and driving my mother all sorts of crazy.

My plan had been to move to LA and get work as a comedy writer.  (At BC, I directed Hello…Shovelhead!, wrote The Heights’ humor column, and once wrote a humorous self-help book for a greeting card company.)  All my friends were in New York though, so I moved there and gave myself 6 months of resume-emailing and pavement-pounding.  I ended up landing an internship at a then-yet-unlaunched political humor site called 23/6, which was a co-owned by the Huffington Post and, after I left, it became what’s now that site’s comedy section.  I worked my way up to editorial assistant then became an associate editor and video producer.

I freelanced for a bit after that, but times were tough across all fields of employment, including — shockingly! — barely-experienced young comedy writers.  Luckily, I got a reporting job at Mediabistro as the editor TVNewser, which is the blog from which everyone who works in the television news industry gets their daily gossip.  I met a lot of incredible people on that beat. But then a mysterious job posting appeared on Google’s site and, on a whim, I applied.  It turned out that my unusual background was just right for a new project I would help launch called YouTube Trends and, one morning, I suddenly was working at YouTube (which many people don’t realize is a part of Google).

A lot of people say I have one of the cooler jobs at the company.  I try to spend a good amount of time keeping track of what’s getting lots of “buzz” on YouTube each day.  This can include everything from random viral videos to unique pop-culture fads to citizen footage from a major disaster on one side of the world or a powerful political protest on the other.  I still work in NYC at our Manhattan offices, but spend roughly one week per month at headquarters near San Francisco.  I’m actually in the Bay Area this week for a series of meetings and to connect with my team, most of whom are based out here.  In general, my days can vary wildly from a quiet 9 hours of research and managerial tasks to doing crazy things like interviewing Taylor Swift on stage.

Things move very fast in this industry and I’ve never had a job that even existed more than 5 years before I took it.  I think I’ve given up for good on planning out career decisions too far in advance and, at least when it comes to working in web media, this seems to be a viable strategy.

Thanks for reading.  More updates to come, if you’re interested.

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