Researcher-content creator Enayet Chowdhury goes candid with DC

There has been a dark era in the context of Bangladesh when infotainment (information+entertainment) content hubs like YouTube or Facebook were full of cringe and forced-humour-based videos. The arrival and rising popularity of platforms like TikTok made the situation even more chaotic and turned away many audiences who preferred other types of entertainment than getting cheap thrills out of those cringy content. The scenario has been getting a paradigm shift in recent times; and Enayet Chowdhury, a researcher-educator from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), emerged as one of the changemakers during the pandemic-driven 2020, as the maiden content creator in Bangladesh in the explainer video genre through creating specific informative videos in Bengali - just like the other globally renowned and popular content makers in this particular genre.

"Every Wednesday at 5 pm, I'll intellectually enrich you" - this is the tagline written on Enayet Chowdhury's YouTube channel banner. "My channel is all about intellectual entertainment - I upload and stream video content and live sessions respectively, which can add value to the lives of our audiences, intellectually enrich them and create a perspective. I try to post at least one piece of content every week, and this has been going on for almost three years now," according to Enayet Chowdhury, a BUET lecturer at the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM). At present, his YouTube channel has over half a million (508 thousand to be exact) subscribers, along with 648 thousand followers on Facebook, making him one of the most successful and fastest-growing content creators in the country.

After completing his BSc in Civil Engineering from BUET where his major was in Geotechnical Engineering and minor in Structural Engineering, Enayet Chowdhury started his career as a part-time lecturer at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), before joining BUET as a lecturer in October 2019. Recently, Enayet Chowdhury was invited by the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) where he conducted an exclusive three-day training session on explainer video content making, facilitated by DW Akademie at the Cosmos Center, Malibagh in the capital. In a sit-down interview with Dhaka Courier, Enayet Chowdhury shared his content creation journey, saying that the audiences are the principal catalysts in today's world and he also evaluates his audiences as the prime stakeholders for his platforms as well.

"I started my content-creation adventure on YouTube and Facebook on May 27, 2020," Enayet told Dhaka Courier. "On July 27, 2021, I reached the milestone of acquiring 100,000 followers on my YouTube channel. When I first started making videos in 2020, Bangladesh's YouTube didn't have a large Edutainment (education+entertainment) channel. I brought this genre in Bangladesh, and I hope that it will continue to expand over time."

When Dhaka Courier asked about the selection process of his interesting explanatory video topics, Enayet Chowdhury explained: "To identify the audience demand is the most important aspect in today's content creation industry, and I prioritise what my audience actually wants from me. Often I make separate posts on Facebook or YouTube's community tab, asking which topics they would like to get featured on. Also, in the comment section of my existing videos, viewers often explain their suggestions regarding future topics. For example, the majority of the viewers might want explainer videos on trending topics such as Starlink or want to know about the personalities like Nikola Tesla; so I identify and make videos accordingly - and this is how the topic selection process works for me."

Enayet Chowdhury's YouTube channel features various playlists and series, such as the 'Simple Explanation Series' and 'Think Anticlockwise'. These videos aim to explain complex topics in a simple and understandable manner. Enayet emphasized the value of having playlists and series, saying, "On my channel, I also review books and create videos like field reports; I also made videos on the Language Movement and the Liberation War. I think keeping a playlist is really important, and the series with titles help me to remember them and look back whenever I need the videos."

These are mostly serious topics, so Enayet Chowdhury adds humour to his videos in a subtle way that keeps his content entertaining. Sometimes by his desktop wallpapers with interesting messages in a yellow backdrop; sometimes with Reddit meme reviews - and almost all the time with his unique vocal style as the 'explainer next door' approach. "Ever since I started using a desktop computer, I've had my favourite quotes, pictures, or some weirdly funny elements as my wallpaper. These are actually the representations of my own weird thoughts or mindset, like everyone else's - because I usually have a lot of different things going on in my head at times.

I also sometimes put such quotes on the monitor to give the audience a bit of comic relief during the video." The growth of his channel and his brand image certainly proved that his strategies worked well for him, entertaining his viewers thoroughly.

His other identity is connected to one of Bangladesh's top and most prominent institutions, and when Dhaka Courier asked how he managed the inevitable comparison between the two, Enayet responded, "When I began teaching, I never dreamed that I would ever become a content creator." I started teaching in 2019, and in 2020, I started making videos. I first thought that, like many YouTubers and TikTokers, people would think less of me; but the fact is that now everyone appreciates and enjoys the quality of my work, and my peers and colleagues are now proud of me, which makes me happy."

Sharing his opinion on the current content creation industry in Bangladesh, Enayet Chowdhury said: "The current image of content creation on YouTube or other media in Bangladesh is now in a much better position than in the last five years. The reason behind that is - the content creators are now much more cooperative with each other, which may have been a bit counterproductive at one time. Back then, people gave more priority to roasting each other or spreading negativity; now, our content creators are giving more importance to positive content. The popularity of my content among people is surprising to me even at this stage, but five years ago, it was unimaginable that this kind of educational content would be seen and liked by so many people. Coming from that dark era, I and some of our contemporary content creators like Khalid Farhan - with whom I share a Podcast channel named 'The Trinomial Podcast' along with Sadman Sadik - and other tremendous content makers such as Labid Rahat, and Nafees Salim brothers - all of them are making educational content that people are watching, which is definitely a big achievement for us. I must say that compared to the last five years, there has been a very progressive change in terms of content creation on YouTube and other mediums in Bangladesh."

"As for the future, I would say that the content industry will not be limited to long-format YouTube and Facebook videos," Enayet Chowdhury told Dhaka Courier. "Nowadays, with the popularity of Tiktok, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts, we need to focus as quickly as possible on one-minute long videos or one-minute short videos cut from long videos. We need to adapt to this short video genre because I see that young content creators around the world are becoming more interested in creating short-format content. If we delay or fail to reach this medium, a vacuum space will be created that the cringe content may fill. So my request to all content creators is to focus on creating quality short content along with your traditional long format videos."

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