Putting the You in YouTube

YouTube is as ever evolving as the tastes and trends of those who create and consume it.

Originally founded in 2005 by a group of former PayPal employees, the now-behemoth was bought by the even bigger behemoth Google in 2006 and has since operated as one of the search engine superbusiness’ subsidiaries. With the world slowly be-coming safer for connection, the question of how to fill our time, whether on our own or with others, persists.

A plethora of learning and activity apps have arisen over the past two years, many of which have featured here on Byte by Byte. But, looking back at what both is and yet defies every truly being labeled an “oldie,” there remains the ever-present, ever-growing resource of YouTube. The platform combines entertainment and education with tutorials and streaming, pooling the net gains of so many other apps and live streaming services. And, unlike many of these other platforms, YouTube (for the most part) is free.

Looking to spend the summer striving for personal growth? YouTube has this well-covered. From physical to emotional health, YouTube hosts fitness experts like the eponymous Adriene Mishler from “Yoga with Adriene,” or Cassey Ho of “Blogilates.” When it comes to taking fitness from on screen to on the plate, multi-platform nutrition advisor Jasmine of “Sweet Simple Vegan” provides both ethical and mouth-watering recipes. Thinking more internal than intestinal, there are innumerable life coaches, therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors with their own channels.

Mickey Atkins, LMSW, hosts an incredibly accessible channel covering topics from gentle parenting to toxic positivity. Dr. Anthony Youn, MD, takes the voyeuristic attraction of shows like “Botched” and spins it into educational opportunities with compassion and science through his expertise as a plastic surgeon.

YouTube provides opportunities to see beyond just what interests and impacts “You.” There are countless content creators speaking to parts of the human experience that many other platforms may shy away from.

For example, Ty Turner and Jamie (of “Jammie Dodger”) share their experience, knowledge, and humor when it comes to LGBTQ, and especially trans-related topics.

Meredith of “Learn How to Sign” has generously turned her certification in teaching American sign language into hours of content, and similarly named “ASLMeredith” has taken her training and done the same. On a different note, deaf YouTuber Jessica Kellgren-Fozard offers not only sign language tutorials, but also fascinating deep dives into all things vintage as well as her modern day life as a disabled, lesbian, British wife and mother.

Whether this summer is calling for a totally new outlook on life (through the computer screen, that is), or just a change from the news (though YouTube does offer breaking coverage as well), when seeking inspiration, YouTube may just be a tab worth that refresh button.

By Dr. Miceala Shocklee

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