Good Evening, YouTubers

I have become hooked (and subscribed) to the YouTube videos of a 79-year-old Brit named Peter who is posting brief snippets of his eventful life. I am not alone. In one week Peter has attracted 7,695 subscribers, and his videos have generated 485,459 views. What's sweet is how he has been embraced so warmly by the youthful YouTube community. Among the 1,029 comments left for Peter, who goes by Geriatric1927 on YouTube, is this one from mupet0000: "Hey! Your like the coolest old man i have seen. Keep it up dude!" And Kiriookami, a 15-year-old from Pomona High School, today wrote: "Your last vidoe was great! You are improving with ever one you make. Keep it up! I can't wait to see the next one. I check every day! Your life is so interesting...." What these kids lack in spelling they more than make up for in heartfelt connections with a well-spoken fellow reminiscing about his war years and his love of motorcycles.

But YouTube is a jungle, so there are also comments like this from cloocloo123: HOT SEX SEX SEX......OMG BROOKERS THAT SHIPMENT HAS ARRIVED FOR YOU ,EVERYONE ELSE VISIT MY CLOOCLOO123 AND LOOK AT MY VIDS I HAVE MADE THE BEST VIDEO IN THE WORLD WHICH WILL AMAZE YOU, GET READY FOR THE RIDE OF YOU LIFE! Shortly after that capitalized tirade, Brookers herself posts this: "I hate him he's too old..." Then there is someone impersonating Peter, creating a username that looks exactly like his except the "1" in 1927 is an "l." This enables the prankster to make this sweet and very proper old gentleman look as if he is posting comments like this: "everybody... please trash that bitch mylemonholes!!! he keeps impersonating people, and I can not put up with it much longer..."

This type of pollution makes most of the YouTubers angry, and they rise up to defend Peter and and encourage him to ignore the creeps. Alan, a 25-year-old from Great Britain, posted a softly stated video comment in which he said he shares Peter's love of motorcycles and blues music.

So Peter of YouTube has opened up his apparently quiet life to a tsunami of new friends and experiences. He seems to be enjoying the ride, and along the way he has learned the basics of good-quality video, perhaps with an unseen grandchild's help. When his debut on August 5th filled his e-mail box with 4,700 notifications from YouTube of comments and subscriptions, he followed up in his second video by saying, "I am absolutely overwhelmed and don't quite know what to say. If I should break down during this video then I will click the button and come back to you as soon as possible. But I just need to say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you' to all of you. This YouTube experience has been one of the major changes and breakthroughs in my life and has given me a whole new world of experience."

I love it. I can't wait for Peter's next video, in which he will tell about starting up his own motorcycle shop after the war.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

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