I’m on the older side of the millennial generation, so I have friends who are avid subscribers to YouTube channels. I also have friends who may watch a popular video from time to time or use YouTube to find a specific scene from television or movies, or they will look for a piece of music or a how-to video as needed. But they never actually feel the need to subscribe to a channel.
And I’m here to state my case as to why they should start subscribing.
To be fair, there is this feeling that a lot of YouTube channels seem to target the younger generations – preteens to young adults. And there are always young people starting their own channels and connecting with people their own age with similar life situations. However, a lot of the older content creators, folks that have been on the platform for 10+ years, are in adulthood. Some of them are married and have kids. So, even though sometimes they do try to present information that would be relevant to the younger crowd, more and more of their content can also broach subjects of more adult-type situations.
While there are a lot of channels that are brand-based, that are there simply for consumable content, there are channels that still strive to build community. And these are the communities that the younger generations want to be a part of. I think it’s important to understand what these channels are saying because of the large impact and influence they have over young generations.
But where to start? Admittingly, when you look on the Trending Videos on YouTube, it doesn’t really give much direction. There are a lot of brand-focused videos that tend to monopolize these spots because of people who don’t subscribe, merely just watch random videos on YouTube. If you want more community-driven channels, I can give you a few suggestions.
One of the more important communities to me is the academic/news information type communities, and I have two suggestions in this category.
Defranco presents a news show Monday through Thursday that I find pretty balanced. And he strives to report the news in the most balanced way possible. He dedicates researchers to the stories so that it will be accurate. But he also wants community engagement. He encourages people to share their opinion, and he shares his own as well, but he makes it clear when he is sharing facts versus opinions. Then, on Fridays, he engages with the community through the comments they make on his videos from Monday through Thursday. And this is just the beginning. He is hiring and planning and building an entire news company dedicated to fair and balanced reporting.
Also, I would say this is not safe for young kids. He does use profanity and his subject material is sometimes of an adult nature. I do not agree with all of his opinions, but I feel like I don’t have to, to be a part of this community and to get a balanced news source. Some of his videos have been used in classrooms, especially during the election or during some of the current event segments. And all of the topics are not completely heavy. He breaks up the news with a “Today in Awesome” segment in the middle that covers fun videos on YouTube as well as video game and movie trailers that have come out recently.
I know that for a lot of my friends, Defranco may not be their cup of tea, so I give you the Vlogbrothers. This channel is a must to understand what is going on in the YouTube community. Hank and John Green are two brothers who make short videos to one another on Tuesdays and Fridays. John Green might sound familiar because he wrote The Fault in Our Stars and Papertowns, both have become movies. But John and Hank have done so much more. John went to Africa with the Gates Foundation to report on the needs and progress of those areas. He interviewed a teen at a Syrian Refugee Camp.
Hank is big on education. He runs two other channels on YouTube that are education based and sometimes even incorporated into classrooms across the nation. They are called Scishow and CrashCourse. CrashCourse, I’m more familiar with, covers a lot of academic topics and is quite fascinating. Sometimes the Vlogbrother videos are a little adult in nature (Hank recently did a video about condoms as an example for medical statistics and how we get them wrong), but they are informative and can keep you up to date on their projects.
They have two major projects that I can think of off the top of my head. Vidcon (in June) is a conference for YouTubers similar to ComicCon (but smaller). There are panels covering a myriad of topics and meet and greets. Also, at the end of the year, they do a huge fundraiser for a nonprofit that is voted on by the community. It’s a great way to engage with people all around.
I realized as I was thinking about this that there are so many other people I would recommend, but this blog is getting way too long and rambly. But I would like to say that there are so many communities I think adults could really benefit from. Like BookTube, an entire community where people talk about the books they read or want to read. Or the ASMR community, which has a lot more to do with dealing with anxiety than it does in feeling all tingly. I would suggest just putting an interest in the search bar and following the rabbit hole that it leads you to. You really won’t regret it.
Just make sure that whatever channel you do fine actually still posts on a semi-consistent basis. And don’t worry if you miss a few or several of their videos. Usually, if they reference an earlier video, they will link it in the description below. Happy hunting!
Do you have a favorite channel or community? Do you want any particular recommendations for where to start in a particular community?