Written by Zinnia Bridgman
Dan Webz is an online content creator from Sheffield who makes content about skatebaording. The 26 year-old spoke to me about his channels and his opinions on the best platforms to use when interacting with his audience.
How long have you been an online content creator?
I’ve been making videos for about 8 years, but I’ve been making skating content since February 2020, so just over 2 years.
What inspired you to start making content online?
I did YouTube 8 years ago for about 6 months and always thought that this was what I wanted to do for a living, but at college I started partying and so my time was taken up by other things. But I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I want to do something like video creation. When lockdown hit the first time, I was like ‘screw it’. I’d just quit my job as a bar manager so as soon as lockdown hit I decided to start making content. The first few months were dead slow, which was expected, but after that it steadily grew.
What’s your opinion on the 10-minute TikTok feature?
I can’t see anyone going on TikTok for a 10-minute video. Most content like that you search on, YouTube for example, but it’s a big ask for someone to scroll through TikTok and find a 10-minute video that they’ll love.
Do you prefer making longform or short form content?
I prefer making my shorter videos for Instagram Reels and the long videos. I film and post on YouTube because I don’t feel they’d fit well on these big social media apps. When you’re on YouTube, you’re watching it on a desktop or a TV and so you’re settling in to watch long videos. On Instagram and TikTok, that’s the only place short videos really work, YouTube shorts is alright but between TikTok and Instagram, Instagram is for more rewarding for when work is put into your content. So TikTok really seems to prefer things that are raw, and low effort content that gets millions of views. TikTok really skews to randomness whereas IG dials it in a bit better.
So, you prefer making more produced content?
If you’re making content everyday it’s hard to make raw and random content like that. Whereas content that is more produced with a nice voice over means a bit more and is enjoyed more.
“I’m a big kid myself and so I like to make funny videos and videos that can teach people something”
What is your relationship with your audience like?
Really great, I have kids messaging saying how helpful the skateboarding videos are and we have a discord with about 600ish people who all have similar interests whether that’s gaming or skateboarding. There’s a section for people to just chat or to get skateboard advice. I’m just trying to help younger people to get stuck in to skateboarding and so I feel that is where I really connect to the audience the most and I think there’s a really good relationship there.
A lot of creators are getting discord servers now so did you start your server because you saw it as the best way to interact with your audience?
I’d never used before about a year ago, because originally, I had an Instagram group chat, but we outgrew that quite quickly. I made server and I tried to make it a place for people to get advice and I’ve taken a few people I know who are really good skaters and made them the ‘Skater Support Team’, so people can get advice and figure out where they can get their boards from.
What are the interactions like when you see people in person?
It’s great! In the last year, pretty much anytime we go to a skatepark we’re recognised, and everyone is nice and friendly.
Much of your audience is younger, so does that mean you have interactions with parents as well?
I do. A few parents check to see if the server and the Instagram are safe for their kids. And it’s always overwhelmingly positive and the parents are saying how their kids can’t stop watching my videos and they’re skating more.
Did you intend to make your content for younger kids?
It’s something that happened but it comes quite naturally to me. I’m a big kid myself and so I like to make funny videos and videos that can teach people something, so when you can combine those two things together I feel like that’s the way you can get kids to learn something. Kids can get bad reactions from people they’re trying to learn form and it can put them off skating and so I’m trying to make as many kids to stick with skating as possible.
Do you have policy for who you work with for sponsored content?
If I’m posting a sponsored post on my channels it really must be relevant to what I do, otherwise I don’t see the point.
Is there a brand you want to work with?
Stance. They’re this really luxury sock company and they create these really comfy socks with the support of skaters in mind and we support the brand regardless. So, it would be nice to have a relationship there.
Where do you see your content taking you in the future?
I intend to branch off into different things because if I get injured I need something else I can do in between recovery and being able to skate again. But now I don’t want to shift it around too much. I love gaming and reviewing games and different consoles, I’m really into that side of it and so that’s something I intend to branch out too in the next few years
Do you think your content has changed since starting?
Definitely. It’s upped in quality because at the beginning it was a miss-match of different things that I was trying out just to see what hits. If you look back on the first 100/200 TikToks I made, they’re utter trash. They’re so random, too many colours, everything’s mismatched but now I have new mics and different equipment to make better quality content
Do you think your brand has evolved with your content?
Yeah, nowadays I try to make my content as informative and too the point as possible, no BS.
“…the rebellious nature of skateboarding of that time isn’t necessarily what people want their kids to get involved with nowadays and it’s not something I believe that as a community we should be promoting.”
Do you think that much of your following has been with you since the beginning?
Yes, especially on Instagram and they made themselves known to me when I hit 30K. TikTok is much more come and go, not many people stick around on TikTok compared to Instagram
Do you prefer how Instagram works over how TikTok works when it comes to audience interaction?
100%. On TikTok, all the commenters are random every time, and a lot of the time when you follow someone you can see their content once and then never again whereas on Instagram you follow someone, and it comes up in your feed constantly and so the relationship in the fanbase is much stronger.
What did you think of the skateboarding at the Olympics?
It’s fine, but the editors don’t know what people want to see and so many of the tricks shown were missed and so how they showed it didn’t really resonate with the skateboarding community and lots of people were complaining.
What is your favourite trick to do?
A tray flip or it’s called a 360 flip. It’s an intermediate trick but a lot of skaters do it because it looks super cool and once you can do it. It’s not hard to master but it takes a while to learn.
Do you feel like you fit into the “traditional” skate culture that was established in the late 80s and 90s?
I love the same things they love, but the rebellious nature of skateboarding of that time isn’t necessarily what people want their kids to get involved with nowadays and it’s not something I believe that as a community we should be promoting. So, I don’t promote that part of skating and I’m sure there are many others like me.
Do you keep up with the aesthetic and fashion of skateboarding?
I keep an eye out to some things as it’s naturally what I want to wear but I don’t go for the big brands.
Who do you follow online who inspires you to create your content?
Andy Anderson; my favourite skater and a freestyle skater
Brail skateboarding; They are one of the biggest skate companies in the world, but they started out just like me. Now they have a team of 20 skaters who make content every day and they’re completely focused on online content and were the first people to do what they do online
John hill; a skateboard vlogger, films himself skating around and talks about skateboarding
They make content all the time and inspire me to keep up that consistency as well
What do you say to someone who wants to get into skateboarding?
Just go for it. if you sit and think about it over and over again you’ll just end up pushing yourself further away from actually doing it. find yourself a decent board and get used to riding the board and go to your skate park and learn the etiquette of the park and if you’re having a good time just keep going from there. I think it teaches perseverance to kids because to be good you have to fail a thousand times and not to afraid of failure.