I was a YouTuber for a very short amount of time between 2012-2013, whilst enjoying my time in front of the camera and keyboard organising and filming my life I did not know it was going to change my life. Now sitting in a pub/restaurant amongst a great amount of people I love to call my friends, I can happily write this and say life has never been better.
Before telling my story I must first say I have always had issues with anxiety and depression, I find it hard to keep upbeat and excited for anything, and this has caused many troubles with finding new friends and keeping friends I have already made. But this has all changed now and I honestly think the turning point in my life was during my time on YouTube.
For a couple of years before getting the courage to start a channel, I followed many of my favourite YouTubers avidly, including some that I knew personally. I longed for the courage to get in front of the camera like my friends had and act out the person I wanted to show the world. This was the case until I met up with a friend and we decided to perform some eating challenges in front of a small compact camera that I found in the back of a draw.
We started with the popular challenges at the time, the cinnamon challenge, where we had to eat a spoonful of powdered cinnamon without coughing, and the chubby bunny challenge, where we had to fit as many marshmallows in our mouth until we could no longer say “chubby bunny”. I remember winning the latter as I have the bigger mouth! Whilst we did not grow very quickly or get many views we enjoyed every minute. Myself and my challenge partner became focused on meeting new friends within the YouTube community becoming very popular in the group of regulars that we met up with. This led to collaborating with some of our friends, and others sending us some “treats” to eat on camera including home grown chillies.
Without realising it I had boosted my confidence, learned to network between likeminded people and even market my own brand to others and offer them an invested interest, I then used this experience to start my own vlog. As I said before, I did not create content for YouTube for very long but whilst vlogging, talking about my life even if I did not get very personal with my vlogs, I found it very therapeutic. I was at times creating videos just to make myself feel better, talking about any of my interests and appearing with my friends just made me happy, I couldn’t get enough of it at the time.
In the summer of 2013 I was preparing myself for my first large YouTube gathering, as I had only been to small gatherings with around 10-20 people at the most. This gathering was of course Summer In The City, which turned out to be the best weekend of my life. A couple of months prior to the event I had seen a thread on the Summer In The City Facebook page inviting people to post links to their YouTube channel, naturally I posted my vlogging channel link. A little later that day I saw someone had commented on the link so I took a look, it was a girl named Megan who said she liked my videos, I straight away answered thanking her and we got into a conversation and instantly added each other as friends so we could talk without everyone on the Facebook group seeing it.
Myself and Megan became good friends in a very short amount of time, turns out we were very much alike and wanted to meet up at Summer In The City, we met up the day before and got on like a house on fire and before we knew it we shared our first kiss. Yes! That’s right we are together as a couple and a few years on Megan is now my fiancé! We spent our first day together walking around Camden Town enjoying the markets before meeting with her family and parting ways until the next day. I spent the rest of that Saturday with other YouTubers at a Pre Summer In The City gathering meeting new friends in the Jubilee gardens by the London Eye. Later on a big group of us moved across to the Namco station for some fun in the arcade and some drinks at the bar, that is where I met a good friend of mine who I still talk to now.
I spent the rest of the weekend at Megan’s side meeting our favourite YouTubers, including, Tomska, Christopher and Jenny Bingham, Crabstickz, Evan Edinger and Joe Sugg. We also saw Emma Blackery, Jack and Dean, Hank Green and Mr Weebl live on stage which was quite frankly fantastic!
The whole weekend was amazing and as you can imagine this was a pivotal point for me, I had just met the woman who turned out to be the love of my life, I had met many friends that I quite simply adore and since then my confidence has been through the roof.
As far back as I can remember I have loved singing but have not been able to do so in front of other people due to my anxiety issues, as a child all I wanted to be was a rock star and, not just any rock star, I wanted to be Freddie Mercury. I have always idolised his stage persona and wanted to be able to captivate an audience like he did. Well since starting YouTube, boosting my confidence and meeting Megan I have joined a small Cabaret group in my town and have appeared in front of crowds of people, I’ve appeared in various places from a person’s living room singing to their family to sold-out pub shows. In all honesty this could not have happened if I had not gone through my YouTube journey. I think the moment I noticed that was when we tried to film some of our singing practice and I really took to the stage easier and with more charisma with the camera in front of me, it was something I had simply taught myself, be comfortable and confident in front of a camera. My group commented on this and couldn’t believe the difference between when I was in front of a camera and when the camera was packed away.
When I was asked to share my experience with YouTube, I couldn’t help but write this article, as you can tell from what I have said, I have had a very positive experience with not only filming my own videos but with the community itself. I can only hope that everyone else enjoys their experience as much as I did.
Adam ‘Jambrain’ Hatherley ;)