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I started to watch YouTube videos when I was just nine-years-old. I would fight over the computer with my sister so that I could watch Blair Fowler, aka, Juicystar07, apply bright blue eyeshadow to her lids. I would then spend the following hours watching Shay Carl raise his kids. No matter who I was watching at the time, I was in love with the whole concept. The idea that these people walked around the grocery store with a camera in hand or sat in their room talking to a camera fascinated me.
Because of them, I asked for a camera on my tenth birthday. I recorded videos and videos of me sitting on my bed, talking about my day or trying to film a makeup tutorial with my mom's makeup. Did I ever post these? Absolutely not. YouTube was not even close to as socially acceptable as it is now. Now, you see thousands of young people trying to get their start on the internet. When I was young, this was taboo and seemed as though you were attention seeking. When I talked about my favorite YouTubers to some of my friends, they would look at me as if I had five eyes. Then, would ask me if I liked Justin Bieber. However, mainstream celebrities never interested me. I felt as though I was hanging out with these people on the internet. I felt as though they were my friends, my family, and they understood me more than anyone else could. Hate on people like Jake Paul as you will, but I admire how I see so many young people looking up to those on the internet. I realize that the connection you have with these people are not the same as celebrities, they feel like they are in your living room with you.
When I was young, the only stability I had were these YouTubers. My life could feel as though it was in shambles, my parents being on the verge of divorce or any other hardship that came my way, I would turn on a video and my worries were gone. They were all role-models for me, they all posted videos often, expressing their clear passions. I was empowered by every YouTuber I watched, helping me get through all the tough times that come with being a preteen. If I could thank them, I would.
I am not one of the people who is saying I miss the old YouTube. Because I do not believe there is an old YouTube. Yes, there are some creators who seem as though they are just mills pushing out content to get a check. But, as there once was, there are still many passionate creators who display creativity and love for YouTube as they always have been. Saying that YouTube will never be the same is ignorant and truthfully, you are not looking deep enough. I have been a long-time viewer. I was there before clickbait and before anyone even talked about monetization. I saw countless YouTubers' careers peak and then fizzle out. I saw people pretend like their videos were not sponsored but years later admit that they were. The old YouTube was different, yes, but not necessarily in all bad ways.
I learned so much from YouTube as a kid and I am glad that young people told have even more creators to learn things from. I am glad that we have positive role models on the internet that kids can learn and grow with, as I once did.
In all, I wanted to say thanks to YouTube. Thanks for being a safe place for me when I was a preteen in middle school. Thanks for teaching me and developing a love for makeup. Thank you for allowing content to be spread to many people and opening the minds of many. Without YouTube and many content creators, I would not be who I am today.