Over the past few months, I’ve heard several snarky comments from celebrities and even people in my own life who believe that personal YouTube channels are basically the ultimate display of vanity and narcissism. As someone who not only watches a good deal of YouTube but who also has a (quite unsuccessful) YouTube channel, I must say I think this is an unfair and inaccurate sweeping generalization.
Undoubtedly, there are those very successful and typically much younger YouTube stars who do seem to have an overly inflated opinion of themselves especially once the fame and money start rolling in; however, many of the people I watch do not fit that description. Many of them started their channels as hobbies or as a way to connect with people of similar interests, beliefs or backgrounds.
I started my channel two years ago as an outlet for expressing my typically petty “first world” (ugh, I know…such a hackneyed phrase) frustrations with life. Although at that time YouTube seemed the territory of young people, particularly the now superstar members of the British “Gleam Team,” I thought why not, I have a cheap camera and a tripod, let’s give it a go.
I was certainly not under any misconceptions – I did not consider myself particularly entertaining nor did I expect to become the next YouTube “star.” Filming and editing videos kept my brain occupied, kept me engaged with technology whilst not working outside the home and gave me a chance to vent about some of life’s silly irritations which was surprisingly cathartic.
After posting a few rant videos, I then decided to take the plunge and discuss my experiences with depression, introversion, and growing up as a shy child. To my surprise, these became some of my most viewed videos. Although I continued to discuss frivolous topics, my channel unexpectedly became a place where I could perhaps help others who may be experiencing some of these same issues. This was a very exciting prospect for me.
Regardless of this excitement, however, I have neglected my channel over the past several weeks. As much as I hate to admit it, this is partly due to the comments mentioned at the start of this post. I don’t want people thinking I’m a vain, self-absorbed, desperate middle-aged female who is fascinated by the sound of her own endless ramblings. Consequently, I packed away my camera and tripod and left my tiny channel to gather virtual cobwebs. But, I realized last week that I really miss filming and editing videos. I enjoy the entire process and challenge of producing something semi-watchable despite lacking high-quality equipment. My recent fear of creating videos has also been another reminder that I’m doing it again – I’m allowing the opinion of others, an opinion which is neither fair nor accurate, to keep me from doing something I enjoy and that provides another, much-needed activity for my brain to focus on.
So, although I may not get many views or gain any more subscribers and regardless of the opinions of judgmental naysayers who think I’m self-absorbed for doing so, I am going to plug away at my tiny channel. I am also going to work on not allowing the opinions of others to burrow their way into my brain where they seem automatically accepted as truth and THAT will be the biggest challenge in this whole process.