Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Generation YouTube

Note (2014): In lieu of recent events, I no longer feel comfortable promoting the work of Alex Day. I was a long-time fan of his, and I won't pretend I wasn't, but I want to be clear that I don't condone his actions in the YouTube community. For more information, please visit this link.

The quarter will be ending soon and I am trying my darnedest not to go absolutely crazy at the prospect of how much work I have to do in just a couple of weeks. This happened to me in London and you'd think after the agonizing torture of staying up until 3 am to do research papers that I would have learned my lesson. I have not learned my lesson.

So what does someone like me - a girl who doesn't party or do anything remotely socially or extracurricularly stimulating - do with all the free time that she should be spending on homework but then refuses to use toward productivity?

Simple. YouTube.

I've had a long-lived obsession with the Tube. The television tube. This obsession has led to hours of my precious time spent sitting in front of a small box staring at pixels changing color, coming together to form some sort of coherent storyline. I might have regrets if those hours weren't some of the best of my life. Call me a rube all you like, but I think of my interest in the tube as an intellectual pursuit. Or a pursuit of personal fulfillment. In some twisted way.

Well it's 2013 now and while I do also have a television in my room, I've started to turn to other tubes. And by that I mean YouTube - the endless mode of entertainment, available even when broadcast television fails me.

The past few weeks I've found myself returning to old YouTube favorites, starting to watch new YouTubers that I now love and continuing with web series that have gotten me through bouts of both emotional turmoil and paralysis.

For those of you lacking adequate methods for wasting time, here are some of the ways I waste mine (coupled with explanations, to better aid in your search for YouTubers to watch):

Note: Keep in mind that I am a nerdfighter and therefore nearly all of the YouTubers listed will be nerdfighters as well. To learn about what a nerdfighter is, read on.

Charlie McDonnell (Charlieissocoollike)

I believe Charlie McDonnell was the first YouTuber I ever started watching regularly. My first experience with his videos was his "How to be English," which taught viewers how to ("properly") make a cup of tea. I don't know why it was that I was on YouTube at all at this point, but the video must have been featured at the time and the rest is history.

Since then I've watched every Charlie McDonnell video and even when I stopped logging onto YouTube regularly (because my school email account is a Google Account and fudges everything up), I've always kept up with his work. He's sweet, adorable, funny and geeky. And he's English. I think you will notice a trend in the nationalities of the YouTubers I watch in that since starting with charlieissocoollike, I've continued to watch mainly British YouTubers. Please don't hold it against me.

Alex Day (Nerimon)

I went to VidCon a couple of years ago and it was there that I met Alex Day. I admired him so much, even before I met him. I think it was because of his music. While he's mainly known for his vlogging (and for being best friends with Charlie), he also has a blossoming music career. And in my opinion his music is legitimately good - it contests a lot of more popular music nowadays if you ask me. Some of my favorite songs of his include "Hearts" and "Don't Look Back" (there are the most amazing views of London in this music video) from his album Parrot Stories and "She Walks Right Through Me," one of his newer singles.

Maybe it's his irreverence or his strange, patterned clothing, but something about Alex really struck me when I first became acquainted with his videos. While at times I've been driven away and forgotten to check in on his videos, when I do they are consistently good. Random and rant-y at times, but good.

Laura (Laurbubble)

As with Charlie, I can't remember how exactly I happened upon Laurbubble. Perhaps it was in a featured video. Among my favorite YouTubers, however, she probably has the most traditional style. She makes videos in her room while speaking into a camera. She talks about the world and her life, throwing in character dress-up and putting on voices to fit the circumstances. Occasionally she throws in little bits of graphic overlay - explosions and the like.

A couple of times I've seen Laurbubble resort to doing in-video advertising which disappoints me, yet I still appreciate her work and think she does a good job of putting together simplistic, yet fun video blogs.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LizzieBennet)

Now this is something completely different. Again, I couldn't tell you how I discovered The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. What I should say is that it had nothing to do with the Vlogbrothers - of whom one brother (Hank Green) was responsible for putting the series together. I happened upon the series one day and fell in love with it, only later finding out that I had come full circle and perpetuated my nerdfighter-dom (keep reading to find out what a nerdfighter is) without even realizing it.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern-day take on the Jane Austen novel Pride & Prejudice. As I've mentioned many times before on this blog, I love P&P. While other girls drown their sorrows in tubs of Ben & Jerry's, I save mine for viewings of Pride & Prejudice (the 2005 version) or The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Even though I didn't fall in love with Darcy in LBD like I hoped I would, I still anxiously look forward to new episodes of the web series twice a week. It's a wonderful way to measure the passing of days.

Johnny Durham (JohnnyDurham19)

Back to the male English YouTubers. Partnering with other YouTubers, Alan Lastufka (fallofautumndistro), Todd Williams (toddly00) and the aforementioned Charlie McDonnell and Alex Day,  Johnny Durham became known as one of the fiveawesomeguys. He is a YouTuber with an adorable accent, a handsome face and an endearing personality.

He's obsessed with giraffes, he designs t-shirts and he makes lovely and quirky videos (when he graces the internet with his presence at all). It's been several months since Johnny made a video, but I still appreciate him regardless. He's a vegetarian after all. Enough said.

Dan Howell (danisnotonfire) & Phil Lester (AmazingPhil) &

I have been most newly converted to fandom of the looney YouTube personalities of Dan Howell and Phil Lester. While interacting with a friend over Facebook, these two became known to me and since then I've made it my purpose in life to catch up on several years of not knowing who they were. I must repent for my sin by spending hours in front of my computer watching quite a bit of video footage of the two best friends.

They're weird, they're funny, they have few boundaries when it comes to putting themselves on the internet. And I love them for it. They're a good pick me up whenever I need one and since I haven't yet watched their entire oeuvre, the entertainment is seemingly endless.

John & Hank Green (VlogBrothers)

Last but most certainly not least are the VlogBrothers. If you've read this far then you are probably wondering why I never made good on my promise to explain what a nerdfighter is. Well watch a couple of videos of Hank or John Green - two brothers who live in separate states yet keep in frequent contact by making videos addressed to each other (and now to their fanbase) several times a week - and it will all make sense.

John Green is an author (his most recent book The Fault in Our Stars was recently named the number one fiction book of 2012 by TIME Magazine) and Hank Green is some sort of super-amazing-video-game-playing-innovator-musician-inventor-extraordinaire. Together they make some of the most interesting videos on the internet - not limited to their channel, but including various other shows like Crash Course, SciShow and Hank Plays Games. Their fans have become known as "nerdfighters," their motto being DFTBA (or, "Don't Forget to be Awesome"). It's almost a cult of sorts - with many hardcore fans going to VidCon (a YouTube conference) each year and a lot of people even starting their own channels with aspirations of similar success and fulfillment to that of the VlogBrothers.

I admire these men because along with being two of the most popular players on YouTube, they have other intellectual pursuits and successes. John Green in particular is known for his work as an author, and in watching his videos his way with words is practically palpable (even when talking to his three year old son).

Though Charlie McDonnell introduced me to the idea of serial vlogging, the VlogBrothers were the reason I continued to watch and learn more. Even though I don't make video blogs myself, I feel intimately involved with the community just because I value it so much.

So that's why I watch YouTube. Aside from the mindless entertainment and the hours of time wasted in the hopes of finding peace and solitude during the long days of trudging to class and dreading homework, tube-viewing is a way for me to feel like I'm part of something bigger than myself.

I hope you will take the time to watch a few videos of the YouTubers I've mentioned. They are worth the time and you may actually find yourself enjoying their insights. Some are weirder than others, some are sweeter, but all of them are interesting. So click some links and enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment