Something happened recently, and I'm not entirely sure where I want to go with this blog post, but we'll see where we end up.
Charlie Mcdonnell is a Youtuber from Bath who currently has 1.68 million subscribers. When I first truly discovered the potential of Youtube - how completely this little site is a community - the nature of Charlie's skill became apparent. He has a magnetic personality, which shines through in everything he makes. He is cheery, and creative, and genuine, as well as funny, sensitive, and doesn't take himself too seriously. Also Stephen Fry voices his outros. It never comes as a surprise to me to see multiple comments asking for Charlie's hand in the comments of his videos.
Part of the follow-ability (who needs real words? Whatever.) of Charlie is his willingness to share his audience. I've become something of a Youtube addict, subscribed to over 80 channels, and many of these are people Charlie has collaborated with or mentioned in his videos, and the rest are people those people have mentioned. It's a slippery slope. (Actually, I lie, I small portion is due to my odd and eclectic music tastes). I am aware it's my opinion, as there are many influential Youtubers out there, but to me, Charlie is the centre of the Youniverse.
Therefore, as time went on, and I noticed a distinct lack of content from Charlie's channel, charlieissocoollike, I was not the only one. Because the quality of his work is so high, and the effort which goes in so entirely apparent, I for one assumed he was just putting that much time into each video, and that he had a life to get on with outside of Youtube as well. But after about a year of less and less of Charlie's face in the 'most viewed' section of Youtube's front page, I and his other millions of viewers were faced with this heart-wrenching video:
And his followers responded. All over the internet there are people rallying for Charlie to get back to being comfortable enough to entertain us. On the video, on his website, on twitter, and in video responses. The latter is where I was most impressed. The sheer number of friends from the community who know him personally, as well as those who don't, showed how empathetic humans will be when someone lays their heart bare. And because we all understand. Of course we do. The terror of putting yourself out there, trying to make people laugh, or think, or lead better lives, only to be beaten down and criticised is a feeling we all have known. To some people this is felt by posting their opinions on the internet, but to others it can be felt in as small an action as raising their hand in class.
One of my favourite reactions is from another Youtuber who doesn't post so often, but when he does, wow. I can go into this another time, for now I just want you to listen to Michael Aranda, and his wise, wise words:
Without being falsely complimentary of covering up the truth, he makes me feel so much better about my problems, and the video wasn't even directed at me.
I think this is something which has made me love people a little bit more over this past week. We're all different, and that's wonderful. But we are a little bit the same too, and when we realise this, and put the plea for help out there, friends, family and strangers will respond. Even just the knowledge of the potential for support can help me through a difficult time.