YouTube Is About Community

My first three videos on this list are all Harry-Potter related, which I think tells two things about me: 1) that I love Harry Potter (especially around the time of these videos, when Book 7 was about to be released) and 2) my initial Internet experiences involved expanding on my interests. While the first statement is still true, the second statement describes how I interact with YouTube today.

Entertainment has been YouTube’s prerogative from the beginning, I think – music and videos and funny webseries are what the site is best known for. So I included a few of those on my list – but I tried not to go for the big and famous artists (save Ed Sheeran, whose “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” video is still my favorite music video ever.) Instead, I went for the people that have written or covered songs in new ways that have gone viral, but ultimately keep going for

You might also notice that the majority of this list is from the Vlogbrothers channel or is affiliated with the channel (see CrashCourse, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The Art Assignment, and hankgames.) While I watched YouTube before being introduced to John and Hank Green of Vlogbrothers, it wasn’t until I started binge-watching their channel that YouTube became a part of my daily life. (And if you don’t know who the Vlogbrothers are, I suggest you google them or check out their Wikipedia page.) I joined the Nerdfighter bandwagon in high school, and while they’re no longer the only channel I watch, they make up a big part of YouTube life. They are creators at heart, truly representing what used to be YouTube’s slogan – “Broadcast Yourself.” Their way of looking at the world has helped me find my new interests and reinvigorated my old ones.

And mostly thanks to Vlogbrothers, education is a huge part of my YouTube experience. I love learning and exploring and discovering new things, and watching channels like PBS Digital Studios and The Brain Scoop have allowed me to pursue educational interests outside of my major requirements for free – something not always available here at UMass. I’ve watched Emily Graslie skin a wolf and explain the process of taxidermy. I’ve debated with Mike Rugnetta over the philosophy of Internet culture. I’ve discovered the history of contemporary art with Sarah Urist Green and learned about the artistic process. I’ve learned the basics about astronomy and biology and chemistry (all sciences I never jumped for joy about in high school) alongside my actual interests like world and American history. When I come to YouTube, I’m looking for experiences that can broaden my horizons – and entertain me while doing so.

But if I had to pick one word to describe what my YouTube is all about, I’d have to pick community. Whether you’re a musician or an educator or just someone vlogging about your daily life, YouTube is a platform that encourages creativity and relationships between creators and viewers. I feel like I have a personal relationship with these creators on some level – I interact with them through comments, I’ve tweeted and reblogged their posts, I’ve even donated to some of their campaigns and projects. And I’ve met people because of my love of YouTube personalities or videos. YouTube is a form of entertainment unlike anything else I use, because it’s all about involving myself at a personal level – it’s new media at its finest.

Oh, also – make sure you watch video #4 on my list.

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