We’re Friends. Right?
YouTube videos have become a large part of our entertainment. Because there are so many options, viewers can choose specific content that addresses their entertainment needs. This choice might include tabby cats, Sothern cooking, Korean fashion, sewing machine upgrades, landscape painting, or the best methods of growing carrots.
If you were to look at my subscribed channels, you would learn that I follow the Ukraine war, repair things, watch ‘80’s music videos, and like old computers. This selection should not surprise those who know me, and I am sure the readers of this sentence also have their YouTube interests.
One of my favorite content creators (I hate the word influencers) is Marty T:
He repairs tractors and does other minor projects. Side note: I do not know why I enjoy tractor repair videos. My lawn is so tiny that a single tractor would cover everything. Back to the good stuff. I enjoy watching Marty’s content. I even emailed him a few times with questions. He was nice enough to email me back. Very cool.
Most content creators try to be neutral, but eventually, their beliefs become apparent. Occasionally, Marty talks about his family, politics, friends, and life experiences. Over time, I came to understand the real person. So, even though the video knowledge transfer goes one way, this inside knowledge makes us friends. Right?
No, that is not the case at all. Why? Because Marty never invited me into his life. Well, this is not a recent problem. People often imagine they are friends with their favorite celebrity, which has happened since the word celebrity got invented. However, being on YouTube is different.
On the professional film set, directors, assistants, and other crew are there to craft the final product, but Marty only has a video camera and himself. As a result, the creative process and produced video are vastly different. For example, the lead character in a film would have a set kitchen while Marty uses his private house. So, viewers get to see Marty’s actual kitchen. And this is my point. “Since he is showing me his kitchen, he is letting me into his life. Yay, we’re friends.”
I admit that while watching, I imagine myself next to Marty, helping him fix a tractor. While this warm feeling is a fantasy, it has become a problem for content creators. Many viewers have fallen under the YouTube spell and believe they truly are friends. They share in victories and painful failures.
On a creepy side, I have read comments that get way too personal. Like commenting on Marty’s children. Not cool. Does this mean that Marty has stalkers or cyber-stalkers? Yes, but this is the reality of being a YouTube creator and something they must accept.
Well, what about me? My books have not become widespread yet, but they contain my beliefs, values, and personal details. Like Marty, I try to remain neutral and not show too much of my personal life, but I have not fully succeeded. Why? I like being open. “The strangest thing happened today…”
Is this bad? After all, many content creators, authors, and celebrities aim to get anonymous people to consider them friends. “This is how you get followers and make money.” Good for them, but not good for me or my YouTube pal Marty. Did I call him a pal? Oops.
Like Marty, I knew the path I was taking before I published. Have there been issues? I receive a modest amount of spam directed at me because I am an author, but that has been my only problem. What about the future? I am trying to become more popular, and this will lead to uncomfortable encounters. “Hey, Bill. You have a daughter. Is she single?” Ultra creepy!!!
What do I do? I need to do a better job censoring my work. However, I have been planting celebrity seeds, and somebody will eventually consider themselves my friend. What if this “friend” reaches out to me or rings my doorbell? Honestly, that concept is frightening, and I do not have a plan for that day.

You’re the best -Bill
June 28, 2023
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