Week Two- Jerzy Ellanna

Youtube, a place for everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, to upload videos of whatever they please. YouTube’s mission statement is to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently. As a result you can find a video of practically everything on youtube: tutorials, documentaries, pirated shows and movies, crashes, tricks, art, music, and cats- so many cats. Youtube can be a dark place full of rude and malicious behavior. The comments section tends to be overwhelmingly populated by racial and social slurs, blanket rudeness, as well as sexual innuendos about another’s mother. But the comments section isn’t the facet of YouTube that really carries the importance, the content is. Although there are many useless and idiotic videos populating YouTube, there are also a lot of dedicated contributors who work hard to bring good content to the endless abyss of YouTube.

When I was younger YouTube was a mystery to me, I could never think of anything to look up other than my favorite music of the age. It wasn’t till I got older that I discovered the huge network of fantastic contributors. These contributors are paid by YouTube to make videos, YouTube hires them after their channels become popular enough. To name a few of my all time favorites: JacksGap, vlogbrothers, Grace Helbig, Tyler Oakley, and lacigreen. Some channels are groups such as vlogbrothers, a collaboration between the Green brothers John and Hank – others channels are just run by one person. All of these people work together and support each others projects. I mentioned only a couple of the channels that could possibly be discussed, there are so many people is this amazing network.

JacksGap was the first channel I became interested in, my gateway channel. The channel is run by Jack Harries and frequented by his twin brother Finn. These two are 20 year old, attractive, british twins. Quite frankly I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t what first brought me to their channel, but I quickly recognized their generosity and goals. Jack and Finn have traveled the globe raising awareness and money for organizations in need.

The beginning of their philanthropic videos began when they traveled to South Africa as a part a UK organization called Comic Relief, they raise awareness for HIV and AIDS.  After, the twins traveled to Sri Lanka for the christmas holiday, while they were there they decided to visit a charity called the Rainbow Center. The Rainbow Center is a charity that provides education and support for children living in supreme poverty. JacksGap donated all the proceeds from the video and after the channel published the video, their supporters raised even more money for the Rainbow Center. Then the boys took on a huge adventure, they decided to be a part of the Rickshaw Run in India. The Rickshaw Run is a 13 day trek across India in a Tuk Tuk. The twins, along with 5 of their closest friends and YouTubers, travelled and documented the entire journey to raise money and awareness for the Teenage Trust Fund. They published a four part documentary series that garnished tons of views and support. JacksGap is always striving to create new exciting projects that support change.

The other fantastic YouTube channel I want to mention specifically is lacigreen. The channel is run by Laci Green, a sex education activist. Laci’s videos are important to everyone, but I think especially impactful to college students. Some of her videos are just plain hilarious, others are sad, many are about education in the LGBT community or questions about sex, she also discusses common relationship problems and questions. Sex is something our culture still feels strangely about, which is something Laci is well aware of. But the fact is ignoring sex is not the way to deal with sex education in the 21st century. Sex education shouldn’t be about fear and manipulation, it should be a healthy discussion.

I think YouTube offers contributors a great platform to share their thoughts and experiences with the world. It allows for outreach to subscribers easily, as well as the benefit of quick feedback. The reason I love this huge network of YouTube contributors is because they advocate “using social media for change’.