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YouTube: covers, collabs and community

In the world today, where nearly everything and everyone seems to be dependent on the internet, it is almost vital to find an outlet. Not just a social media site, but a medium that creates a sense of unity, even against the disconnect. YouTube is that medium.

What makes YouTube so great is not only the humor and entertainment, but the community that it has created between YouTubers and their viewers. It is not so much about the viral videos that make their way around and are exhausted after a few weeks, but the dedicated individual vloggers that take the time to post content that has a purpose. After watching innovative (and sometimes insane) challenge videos and collaborations, it is a nice revelation when you happen upon a much more personal and intimate discussion video. When YouTubers take the time to sit in front of their camera, face to face with their viewers, a sense of community and trust is formed.

Zoella, a YouTuber who has over 10 million subscribers, is very open about her struggle with anxiety in her main-channel videos and on her vlog channel. Superwoman, who is well-known for her hilarious sketches, created a video called “#DearMe: Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Different.” It is less than three minutes long, but it helps viewers see that even these big YouTube stars go through the same struggles they go through. Even though some YouTubers have channels that are constantly growing in popularity, they are still able to just speak to viewers and let them into this much more personal side of life.

Some YouTubers make videos throughout their day to show their viewers around a special event, or even just take them through their daily routine. These types of videos are raw and give insight into the normalcy that is oftentimes overshadowed by hours of editing. Louis Cole, whose channel is funforlouis, travels the world recording his adventures on a daily basis. With vlogs like those, viewers see the many opportunities that are available for someone with a goal and a camera.

An encouraging trend that breaks down barriers and lets YouTubers and viewers alike into a tightly knit, strong community, is the releases of “coming out” videos. Troye Sivan, who has begun to make his mark in the music industry with his album “Blue Neighborhood,” started out recording covers and chatty videos in his bedroom. In August of 2013, he posted a very emotional and intimate video explaining his sexuality to his viewers. Other YouTubers like Connor Franta and Ingrid Nilsen have found the courage to post similar videos and to completely be themselves on their channels thanks to support from their viewers. This trend is not just a way to be more open in what they post, but it lets viewers know that they can have the courage too.

This community has the opportunity to make changes to the reputation of social media. Every subscriber — even every one of the unfathomable 42 million that Pewdiepie, who runs a gaming and challenge channel, has — makes this possible. From Twitter interactions, fan-mail sent to P.O. boxes, local meet-ups and fan conventions like Playlist Live and VidCon, viewers have opportunities to react to, meet and interact with their favorite YouTubers, and that pushes them to stay in contact with them.

No YouTuber or viewer is perfect, and the fact that both parties own up to that is what makes this community so strong. YouTube videos are meant to make you laugh, to make you cry and most importantly, to make you feel understood.