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The YouTubers Nobody Wants to Talk About
By Erynn Porter
In the summer of 2017, it had been a year since I graduated from college and I was completely disillusioned by the world. I just quit a job that didn’t pay well, barely used the skills I learned in college, and completely wrecked my mental health. A few months before I quit, I was scouring multiple job boards, desperately searching for a job in my field that would pay well. Between the number of internships, unpaid of course, and the jobs that required a ton experience despite being entry level, the pickings were slim.
A little about me: I was a high performing student in school. I got straight As, did plenty of extracurricular activities, and had a job. So, to suddenly have nothing to do was terrifying. Of course, I still searched for jobs, but it was completely dehumanizing.
To say I was depressed would be an understatement. I was not where I thought I would be a year after college. I thought I’d have an “adult job” that’s full time with benefits. I thought I would have made a dent in my student loans. I thought I’d be out of my parent’s house. Nothing was going like I was told it would if I worked hard in school. None of that work seemed to matter—the grades I earned certainly didn’t. All the friends I made in college were scattered across the country. It seemed like my world stopped.
There was so much time—so many empty hours. I had to fill the time, or I would lose it. I turned to YouTube. I was never into YouTube before. I preferred Netflix documentaries or books, but it was free, and I had a lot of time on my hands. I didn’t know where to start though. I wasn’t into beauty or tech. I didn’t really know what I was into.
I knew I liked video games, even though I personally didn’t want to play all of them. All I wanted was something I could lose myself into and laugh. That’s when I found the YouTube Gaming community.
MatPat, Jacksepticeye, Markiplier, and Game Grumps made me laugh and forget about my problems. With the way YouTube is formatted, it felt like I was watching friends, despite never meeting these people. While they are technically famous, there isn’t the distance that’s there with typical celebrities. It made me feel less alone.
Recently, MatPat made a video called “What They Won’t Tell You About Your Favorite Channels.” He talked about how traditional outlets prefer stories that show YouTubers in a bad light. They like to focus on the people who made terrible choices and use them to claim YouTube as a platform is bad.
I thought about the articles I’ve seen about YouTubers and realized he was right. I also realized that I was technically media, so I decided to write this article to thank those who made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry.
The YouTube Gaming community, in particular, seems to be especially disliked. While there are toxic parts, there’s a lot more that’s good. There have been so many charity streams done by gamers on YouTube and Twitch that have raised 12 million dollars for different charities in 2018 alone. As a whole, YouTube creators raised 20 million.
This isn’t the creators giving the money themselves. No, they are encouraging their communities to give. I use the word encourage on purpose because they never pressure or guilt their viewers. They just want people to give what they can if they can. If people can’t, these YouTubers ask them to spread the word that way their viewers still feel like they are helping.
It’s not just money. Gamers have granted over 400 Make A Wish wishes to go to VidCon, the YouTube convention, and meet their favorite gamers in real life.
But as individuals, they do a lot of good as well.
Starting with MatPat, he created an entire channel and community based on education. Yes, sometimes his theories are silly, but other ones feature serious subjects. For example, he has a video all about fan art and how fan artists can protect themselves. He uses his channel's mistakes as an example of how easy it can be to get work used without an artist’s permission. In another video, he expands the concept of fan art and copyright law. Breaking down the complexities that come with how a creator has right to their intellectual property, but a fan artist has rights to their images. He’s also gone in depth about Article 13 and how that will affect YouTubers and their viewers.
While Mat dabbles in everything, there is another theorist, Austin, who makes science videos. I don’t know what he’s saying half the time, but I learn more about math and science in these videos than I ever did in school. The one video I think about all the time is the video about Tuberculous, which apparently is still the most deadly disease in the world.
Did you know that? I didn’t.
The way he spoke of the disease was thoughtful, and the information he shares stays with you.
As a reminder, this video was inspired by a game.
The whole Theorist team did a day-long charity stream on their other channel, GTLive, to raise over 200,000 dollars for The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in honor of a friend they lost to suicide. They used the stream to talk about mental health and that there is no shame in needing help.
They aren’t the only ones to talk about mental health. High energy and loud-voiced Jacksepticeye opened up about his mental health struggles with his 20 million viewers.
At the end of 2017, Jack shared that he was struggling with depression and that 2017 was one of the hardest years of his life. He shared this because he wanted to make sure his community knew there was nothing wrong with being depressed. He wanted to break the stigma of having a mental health illness. He partnered with another YouTuber, who is a professional therapist, to answer his fans mental health questions.
He even created a catchphrase that caught fire in his community, PMA, aka Positive Mental Attitude. He makes sure to emphasize that it’s not about being happy all the time or forcing yourself to be happy. Instead, it’s about trying to start each day new, about trying to find one positive in a bad day, and seeing what makes you feel good.
People have literally gotten PMA tattooed on their bodies.
Jacksepticeye and Markiplier raised around 2 million dollars in charity on their own. Jack attempts monthly live streams with a 100,000-dollar goal, and his community consistently reaches it and beyond. He managed to raise over a million dollars in 2018.
Mark had a nonstop live stream to raise 500,000 dollars for a charity that helps homeless youth. When I say nonstop, I mean it. He stayed up for more than 24 hours straight streaming. This is unheard of, yet no one really knows about it. He did this because he did not realize how much of a problem homeless youth was in the country and his state of California. For a different charity, he did a tasteless nude calendar and signed over 35,000 copies of them. He has always done charity work since the beginning of his channel.
Mark is constantly working on high quality projects that he technically loses money on. A prime example is “Wilford ‘MOTHERLOVING’ Warfstache.” He hired actors, had professional cameras and sets, and a script. It’s a mini-movie, and it’s free to see. He has vlogs explaining what he is doing and why. He’ll talk about wanting to grow and encourage his viewers to do the same. He makes his viewers feel like they can accomplish their dreams if they work hard enough.
Arin of GameGrumps did his own charities streams. Many of these charities involve horse therapy, which is great for a variety of needs. He’s also inspired a lot of people to become animators because of his own animations. Game Grumps did a fundraiser for the victims of the California wildfires. They make people laugh every day with the games they play and their infectious laughter.
Plus, both Arin and Danny have multiple projects in the background, including bands, that show their viewers how hard work pays off. They never preach about these things, but you can see the joy in their faces when they talk about what they’ve worked on.
Hell, PewDiePie, the YouTuber people love to hate has done a lot of charity work. When his fans went overboard with the whole “Subscribe to PewDiePie” thing, when the Indian channel T-Series was going to become the most subscribed channel, he decided to do a charity stream to help save child laborers in India.
I could go on, but I think you get it by now. I’ve only talked about a small percentage of all the YouTubers out there doing good. These are just my personal favorites. This article would be book length if I went into detail about all the good YouTubers.
What I don’t think people realize is that these YouTubers are setting a good example. People always talk about how YouTubers are influencing people, especially young kids, in a negative way. What about these creators who are showing that it’s good to give, that it’s okay to be sad, that you can be different and it isn’t a bad thing? Why aren’t we talking about that?
If you think that I’m exaggerating the good these people do, you should ask their communities. I have seen so many messages ranging from “Thanks for brightening up my day!” to “You have literally saved my life.” While I don’t know how these creators have saved lives specifically, I know that it’s because they are being themselves and showing it’s okay to be yourself too. It’s not just gamers. It’s channels that are LGBTQIA friendly and focused, it’s people seeing people with beauty or success that aren't the "norm," or just plain representation that they don’t see in traditional media.
If you want proof, look at MatPat’s tweet asking for positive YouTubers and read the almost 7,000 replies.
But you know, no one wants positive YouTube stories.
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