Geriatric1927 v. The Media
The phenomenon of Geriatric1927 continues at YouTube, where Peter, an articulate 79-year-old British widower posting videos about his life, has generated more than 2 million views and a flood of mainly positive comments. In his posting yesterday, which he titled "THIS IS IMPORTANT" on a red background, Peter tells his fellow YouTubers, "The only people that I want to talk to are you," which means he has refused to answer any of the requests for media interviews that are filling up his YouTube mailbox. He said he worries that someone who might know him is going to reveal his identity and whereabouts, and that he will deal that if it happens. Meanwhile, someone has created a fan website purporting to be Peter's, which he wants to make clear he has nothing to do with. "It may sound glamorous," he says of the media attention, but he wants none of it, which is likely only to increase the attention. "You are my friends," he tells YouTubers, and that's where he wants to stay, chatting candidly with total control over what he broadcasts, protected from the glare of the media. I hope he succeeds, because his candid chats with 2 million of his friends make for wonderful viewing.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
62. Vertigo in Vancouver
It's been a long day, beginning in Vancouver with these musings on heights, technology and art, and vlogging versus YouTubing. I can barely remember what I had to say, and it's been a battle to get it up on the net. But we had a great WESTAF meeting in B.C. and now I'm visiting my friend Kes in LaConner. G'night!
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.