10 September 2013

Discovering YouTube

Lucrezia Bori with movie camera, c. 1910-1920 via Wikimedia Commons

Two years ago this month, I took my first course from the Harvard University Extension School: Dr. Sue Weaver Schopf's "The Vampire in Literature in Film." One of the books on the reading list was Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, which I had read before but reread for the course. Around this time I started reading the "Reasoning with Vampires" blog, which chronicles some unfortunate language misuse in the Twilight books, and from there I was linked to British YouTuber Alex Day's "Alex Reads Twilight" video series.

This was 2011, and while this may sound odd, I had never watched a YouTube vlog before. Until that point, YouTube had been for me a place to watch music videos, find clips from movies and television shows, and watch the two combined together into fan video montages. I was vaguely aware that people used YouTube for video blogging, but I was never interested in seeking any of them out. I thought that vlogs were essentially spoken blogs, and didn't see much of a point in the whole thing.

Alex's YouTube series on Twilight both fascinated and confused me. Alex uses coarse language, which I'm not totally comfortable with, but the hilarity of his commentary kept me watching. Most of the videos in the series ended with short scenes of Alex and other people creating cards for a game that Alex was inventing, and this got me intrigued enough to check out a few other videos on Alex's channel. These videos opened my eyes to how vlogging is really much more than just spoken blogging, and showed me how the video medium offered possibilities not available in written blogs.

(Note: In 2014 details of Alex Day's problematic treatment of women were widely reported online. I no longer support him or his content.)

Now, two years later, I was forced to make a YouTube account to subscribe to my favorite channels when checking them out individually became too daunting. From Alex I discovered Charlie McDonnell and Kristina Horner, from Charlie I discovered Elmify, and so on and so forth until I reached my current total of 27 subscriptions. Most of the channels I'm subscribed to are for vloggers, but I also love beauty channels and have a few favorite webseries, too.

If you're interested in seeing some of my favorite YouTube channels, I have a channel page of my own where you can find my subscriptions and a couple of short playlists of videos I really liked. (Fair warning: both the channels in my subscription and a couple of the videos in my playlists include instances of strong language. I did include a list on my channel of vloggers whose videos are, as far as I know, swear-free.) My channel page has an avatar and a banner and everything, but at the moment I'm too shy and too self-conscious to upload any videos of my own. Vlogging something I'd definitely like to try at least once, though, so stay tuned--or rather, subscribe!

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