Dossier: COVID-19

Aditotoro: “There’s plenty to laugh about during the pandemic.”

With no parties, gyms shut and widespread uncertainty about the future, young people are being hit particularly hard by the pandemic. They are increasingly turning to online platforms for entertainment. YouTuber Aditotoro is laughing his way through the crisis − and has noticed how important this is.

Text:Katharina Rilling; photos: Aditotoro

Is there a positive side to the pandemic?

Young people always worry that they’re missing out. Particularly when it comes to parties. That’s one less thing to worry about now. They’re realising that there is life without partying. And you can save a lot of money. It may sound silly, but I haven’t found the pandemic too bad so far. I’m lucky that nobody close to me has been sick, I’m not a fan of crazy partying, I like to be alone, and I always work from home anyway. In fact, as far as work is concerned, the pandemic came at just the right time for me.

How’s that?

The coronavirus started just as I was getting my business off the ground. Everyone was online during lockdown. User figures on social media platforms sky-rocketed. Although companies withdrew their advertising contracts, I used this time as an investment in the future. I uploaded videos every day and attracted more followers. Plus, TikTok started to make it big in Europe, and I really took advantage of this. And my new version of the Mani Matter song “Zündhölzli” raised my profile among older people. This song is about something tiny that gets bigger and bigger. And that’s exactly the story of the cornonavirus pandemic. So it fitted perfectly.

Despite the online platforms, many young people find the situation stressful. They feel isolated, miss the structure and have no hope for the future.

Yes, it’s worrying for many people. They’re spending a lot of time alone when they would rather be with friends. This isn’t easy, particularly during the standard school routine. Previously, young people learned together during the week and got together at the weekends. Sport was important, too. But it’s empowering if you can enjoy having time to yourself. There’s also something to be learned from this.

Aditotoro’s real name is Adrian Vogt (21). About 68,000 users have subscribed to his YouTube channel and he has 444,000 followers on TikTok. He is also presenter of the SRF online youth programme “Youngbulanz” and advises companies on Generation Z issues as part of the ZEAM start-up.

Now the situation has relaxed a little, do you have any tips on how to get through such crises?

I often hear that people are meeting up in small, tight-knit groups. This way, you only see your best friends, but you get out regularly. That’s a good solution. And now you have the time to learn something new. Some people may find that uncool. But it’s true: when else will you be at home at weekends? Use this time wisely! You can be unproductive again later. I’ve started to play darts. No idea why, but it’s great. Or start something on YouTube! Many people write to me saying that they want to start their own channel. Well, now is the perfect time.

Do you feel responsibility as a role model?

Of course. I don’t make videos at the moment where I meet ten friends and can’t observe the social distancing rules. I abide by the rules, but I don’t want to be a BAG ambassador.

You make a lot of jokes about the coronavirus. Where do you draw the line?

I don’t really. I think it’s OK to joke about the coronavirus. I realise that people are dying and you don’t joke about that. But I think funny videos are now more important than ever.

Why’s that?

I often make light of dark situations through humour. That’s why we have humour: to make fun of something, even if it might not be funny¬. It helps us get through hard times. I get messages from -people who are in hospital or suffering from depression. My videos¬ seem to help them¬.

What would you advise the Federal Council on how to reach young people during the pandemic?

They should put their messages on TikTok. However, for a federal councillor, I think Alain Berset does a pretty good job when it comes to social media!

Expert tip

Lulzana Musliu, Pro Juventute foundation:

“The services of the 147 hotline have been in great demand since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Queries via chat have increased by over 200%. We’re really noticing how young people are affected by the restrictions on their social life. Many people are missing their friends or are worried they won’t make new ones. We advise young people to think about their social contacts in terms of quality instead of quantity. It’s a good idea right now to meet friends who make them feel good. And: not everything is banned. For example, you can still meet up and go for walks.”