English sex education YouTuber Hannah Witton first started posting videos to YouTube in April 2011. As of December 2023, she’s totally wound down her YouTube channel, where she posted regular videos, as well as stepped back from an associated podcast.
The format of, and level of detail within, her announcement was deliberate. It was thorough and professional — one that provided a model for other creators to follow. In an interview with Passionfruit, Witton spoke about the decision behind stepping back, and how and why she felt she needed to shut down her YouTube presence gradually, rather than stopping abruptly.
What was it that made you decide to take a step back?
I think there was an accumulation of everything over the years. It was definitely something that had been building for a long time. But then, around this summer, when I was really grappling with the decision, was when it suddenly felt more urgent. … It wasn’t even a case of like, ‘Do I quit or do I not?’ It was, I knew that something wasn’t working. And I kind of went on this soul-searching journey of trying to figure out what that was — what needed to change.
The conclusion that I came to was I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the answer. I have to stop this YouTube channel and this podcast.’
I imagine it wasn’t an easy decision. Did you try to seek alternative answers that didn’t involve stopping?
I was resistant to it because I was like: ‘Oh my god, I can never quit. This is who I am. This is my job. What about my patrons? What about money? And what about my professional identity? What about my audience?’ I was resisting the possibility for a while, but then I thought: ‘I need to figure this out. How do I make this work, and how do I make myself happy?’ …