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The Study Timelapse Epidemic

By Taruna Anil

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, an hour after school ended. You glance at your to-do list, filled with assignments from top to bottom. In an attempt to escape the never-ending pile of schoolwork, you open TikTok. To your dismay, the first video you see is exactly what you’re running from: a timelapse of someone studying.

This niche of videos isn’t new; it’s called Gongbang, or Study with Me. These videos are either live-streamed or pre-recorded videos of people doing their work, done to motivate the viewers to be productive or to simulate a study buddy. With the rise of the popular social media app TikTok combined with remote learning, many high schoolers and college students are making time-lapses of themselves studying, presumably to fit the 60-second threshold.

This technique can be surprisingly helpful. Viewers feel inspired to be productive, and creators are motivated to be productive (in order to create more content for their audience).

But what negative effects do these videos have on both the viewer and the streamer?

While this might be a good method for quick motivation, it may not be great in the long term. Striving to be productive constantly can bring more stress to viewers. When we go on social media apps like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, we use that time to relax. Seeing people live streaming for hours at a time while you’re trying to unwind can create more stress and provoke incessant questions like “Should I be doing more?” or “Why am I not studying this much?”

It’s a different story for the people making these videos. Making Study with Me videos can be helpful for productivity, but can become draining when created on a regular basis. When your audience looks to you for motivation and inspiration, it can be difficult to churn out content regularly, especially on days when you need a break.

So the question still lingers: How do I create a healthy balance between productivity and relaxation?

Gongbang can be effective, but it’s important to prioritize self-care and healthy study methods. Be sure to give yourself breaks throughout your study sessions. Studying for long periods of time without a break is draining, so don’t be disappointed if you need to take one.

If you create Study with Me videos, make sure to take some breaks from time to time! Especially since these videos tend to span more than two hours most of the time, it’s important to squeeze in self-care off camera. Make sure you’re not overworking yourself.

Especially during a global pandemic, it’s important to take it a day at a time. Take care of yourself and others. Record time-lapses of yourself while studying if it helps you! But if it doesn’t, take some time to figure out what does.



Snyder, Chris. “People Are Watching YouTubers Study for Hours and They Say the Popular

Trend Helps Them Stay Focused.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 4 Mar. 2019,


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