Browsing around YouTube and Instagram can provide all types of content for viewers. Some will find content explicitly designed to provide a few laughs, while others are covering very serious topics in a lecture type of way. No matter what a person is looking for, there are videos out there that cover specific topics.
Some content creators have developed a very strong following due to the content they provide. Most focus on one specific type of content, but others have blurred lines. Michael Holston aka The Real Tarzann fits that mold, as he is viewed as an educator and an entertainer. Working with animals from all over the world, this new type of education can make a huge impact on the younger generation. Is it the future of education on many different topics?
Holston knew that he was into animals at an early age. When he was old enough to begin working, he landed a small job handling lizards early on in his life. He started getting opportunities to work in other places around South Florida through different connections, but it had not developed into much more than a job to help pay the bills. The passion was there, but opportunities were fairly limited.
He decided to start posting photos and creating videos when he interacted with new animals. Since he was handling some rare species, it caught the attention of viewers pretty quickly. His personality also helped, creating buzz around his social media channels after just a few short months.
All of a sudden, Holston realized there was a real opportunity to make this into something more. He began to actively seek new experiences around the United States and the world, which only drew more intrigued viewers. Everything snowballed to the point that he was getting millions of views in some instances.
Whenever someone starts to gain a following online, there are bound to be critics, and Holston wanted to stay ahead of them as much as possible. Instead of potentially being labeled as someone with a lot of flashy content but no substance, he started sharing more educational information with his posts.
Everything online happens quickly. People want information instantly, and a lot of younger people do not have time even to read a short article. That can be problematic when it comes to education, which is why many in the industry are looking for new ways to increase engagement.
Holston believes that a lot of what he provides can do exactly that. His Instagram posts mostly have short captions, and videos that accompany those posts might be shorter than one minute long. In that one minute, everything is edited and put together to provide as much content as possible in a short amount of time. Instead of having a long, drawn-out post, Holston provides key information right then and there.
The YouTube videos might be a little longer, but he relies on entertainment to keep people engaged enough to pick up on the educational value. Currently, his YouTube is designed more for those who are truly into animals and want more than what is provided on Instagram. Even if people do not initially pick up on educational tidbits, they passively learn while also seeing his exciting interactions.
This method of learning is certainly different than anything in the past, but it is evolving much like everything else. By going off of how people consume information online, it comes as no surprise that from these types of videos.
Holston is not afraid to admit that he has evolved as a content creator in just a short amount of time. In the beginning, the focus was mostly on gaining followers and creating fascinating content that people wanted to share. Most are craving that opportunity to grow their platform as quickly as possible, and it is easy to fall into that trap and have tunnel vision.
As followers started pouring in, Holston understood that there is a level of responsibility when handling animals in the wild. Having viewers see him do anything reckless could damage his reputation and make viewers question if he was doing more harm than good. That meant an increase in education on his end, as well as sharing some of the information with viewers.
A lot of people who end up watching Holston’s videos are very passionate about animals themselves. They might not have the same opportunities to explore like him, but learning along the way is not distracting from the entertainment value. Holston finds a way to incorporate everything very well, and it comes off as very natural due to his passion. Nothing feels forced in his videos when providing education information, and he provides a good balance that satisfies everyone.
Before any new photoshoot or video, Holston is meeting with local experts on location. He is too big of a name these days to run the risk of cutting corners and not doing everything possible to keep everyone safe. The last thing he wants is a disastrous encounter with an animal. More often than not, he is the one invading into the space of an animal, and he wants to be as respectful as possible while making a positive impact.
Holston is so passionate about education that he has focused efforts on creating more formal opportunities to learn as well. He is part of the industry without the traditional formal education involving animals, but he has spent a lot of hours doing his own research to stay informed. For the next generation, he is hoping to build educational opportunities and schools to help with the need.
A decade from now, no one is quite sure how many changes will take place. It seems like learning from a video is not fading away anytime soon, and it could be even more excepted a decade from now. A lot of learning with animals is a very hands-on experience, and a traditional educational format might be a bit outdated as time goes on.
Other content creators follow similar formulas, providing entertaining and educational value at the same time. The key is finding the right amount of balance and sticking with that balance as much as possible.
There always is a need for detailed, structured information and education to understand specific topics truly. The reality is that a lot of people online are not needing that level of knowledge. Instead, they want a balance of entertainment as well as feeling like they are learning something new. That is where Holston can do enough to engage viewers and inspire them to learn more possibly.
Education is going through reform, just like everything else. There are now more resources than ever at a person’s fingertips, but there is something about engaging video that can inspire people to tune in. It seems like Holston has a good grasp of the formula, and he will continue to bring in viewers if that is the case. Expect more educational value from his videos in the future, as he feels responsible to be more than just an entertainer getting to experience unique animal interactions all the time.