Op-Ed | Notifications On
Notifications On for Newt Nguyen
Creators are ahead of the curve when it comes to viral trends and impactful cultural moments — they foster meaningful connections that resonate with audiences across the globe. This new series showcases the best and brightest creators on Twitter. For this edition, we’re talking to Newt Nguyen, the creator with a love of “parsley,” who took cooking videos to a whole new level in 2020.
I first started using Twitter in high school as a way to Tweet back and forth and meme around with my friends. I think my first Tweets were super boring and basic like: “Eating a donut rn lols.”
What drew me to the platform is that it’s a very easy and quick way to get your ideas out there to a group of people. I’m lucky that my success on Twitter was almost picked up instantly. I think it was my second video — of me making a spicy chicken sandwich — that I was able to get millions of views on, and the rest was history. I realized that there was a demand for cooking videos on Twitter. Since then, I’ve posted probably over 100-plus videos, cooking anything and everything that came to mind, and never looked back.
At the beginning, it took me literally five hours to edit a two-minute cooking video for Twitter, because I would have so much footage and hadn’t really figured out the ins and outs of editing yet. Looking back, it was absolutely brutal. It takes about 30 minutes to edit a cooking video now, but I think I can still do better. I think editing is just about repetition and practice. What I still struggle with until this day, though, is the voiceover. I absolutely dread doing the voiceover, because whenever I do them, my voice automatically switches to a customer service type of tone. I don’t know why I do that, and it pisses me off.
The source of inspiration can be anything from a friend’s Instagram story, a YouTube video, or food-related subreddits. Once I find a picture of a food that I want to try, I’ll usually just search the name and find the recipe with the most promising amount of reviews. From that point, I’ll buy the ingredients, make the food, and record as I go. My favorite recipe I’ve ever made would probably be the birria tacos video that I just put out. I like Mexican food a lot, because I grew up in a predominately Asian and Mexican community.
“Parsley” [Newt’s signature sign-off] has a couple different meanings. First, I saw a Tweet from this girl saying “People put parsley on everything, and think they’re a chef.” So naturally, I started putting parsley on everything. But as time progressed, the word parsley has become a lot more meaningful to me. When I make my dishes, some of them turn out looking great, and some turn out looking like I just took it out of the trash can. However, both dishes will be topped with parsley. What’s the connection? In our lives, some days are good and some days are bad. But things will eventually get better when you add a bit of “parsley.” For me, parsley has become a positive word that forces me to have a better outlook on life, and it can either be applied (literally) in cooking, or in different parts of your life. That’s my poetic way of viewing it. Or it can just be an herb that you can find at the grocery store.
Twitter is a unique place for me to connect with my fans. (I don’t like to call them fans, more like my family. I know everybody says this, but it’s the truth.) Twitter’s platform leans heavily on humor, memes, etc., so it makes it a lot easier for me to joke around with my supporters. Also, a lot of my supporters tend to add me to their group chats. Once in a while, I’ll pop up in a few chats to say hi, and their reactions are always priceless.
Some cool interactions I’ve had on Twitter are with Rich Brian and Bretman Rock. It’s very strange to me, because a couple years ago, back when I was in college, these two people were starting to blow up on the internet. They’re both close to my age and I’ve always thought, “Wow, this is so freaking amazing for them. It’s crazy how we’re so close in age, yet they’re super famous and successful.” Fast forward a couple years, I started gaining some social media attention, we follow each other, and they Tweeted me a few times. It’s a full circle moment that I didn’t think would’ve ever happened in my lifetime. I respect them a lot.
Over time, my look on Twitter has changed a bit, because I don’t Tweet as often as I used to. When I Tweet, it’s going to be either my cooking videos or something positive or funny. Since I have a bigger platform [now], I’m more cautious about what I say. And when I say something, I try to make sure it’s for a specific purpose. What drives me to keep going is all the love that my supporters show me. They’ve allowed me to do what makes me happiest and provided me a purpose to keep going. I owe it all to them.
I don’t want to jinx myself, because at the end of 2019 I made a video saying 2020 was going to be a great year, and then a pandemic started. But in 2021, I do have a few goals I want to achieve. I want to be able to move out into an apartment and experience what it’s like to live on my own for the first time. I want to strengthen my fanbase and be able to give back to them in any way that I can. But most importantly, I want to be able to retire my parents. They’ve worked so hard during my upbringing to provide for me, so I would like to be successful enough to provide them with the ability to relax (comfortably) for the rest of their lives.
My greatest advice is to just start. I can’t tell you how much time I spent lying on my bed brainstorming video ideas, but never executing them. An idea without execution will stay just an idea. You never know, that idea might just end up changing your life forever. I think a lot of people often overthink content creation, which causes them to not go through with what they plan. Stop thinking, just do. Also, don’t be afraid of starting off small. Everybody starts somewhere. I started making videos in a broken-down mobile home, recording on my iPhone. If I can do it, what makes you think that you can’t?
Hear more from the best and brightest creators on Twitter in the Notifications On collection.