I began Unhappy YouTube over three years in the past, within the fall of 2012. I needed someplace to protect all the great, heartbreaking tales that appeared to be littered all through YouTube’s remark part, unrecognized. The mission quickly took over my life—or not less than many, many lengthy hours of it, normally within the hours previous midnight once I wanted an excuse to not go to mattress, or to not do the work I used to be alleged to be doing. However I regard these a whole lot of hours of studying YouTube feedback as well-spent; there was an actual thrill of discovery to them, a sense that any randomly clicked “Associated Video” hyperlink might result in discovering a hidden story from many years previous.
It was gratifying to see how, through the years, the mission related with folks, which added to the sense that I used to be on some type of mission. I obtained nice, considerate notices in media shops like Slate, Newsweek, The Axe, and GQ, in addition to (and this grew to become a operating joke) uncountable mentions within the German press. Andrew Sullivan even blogged about it! I additionally wrote a narrative of my very own, for BuzzFeed, by which I first made contact with a few of the commenters whose tales had impressed me to begin the mission within the first place.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to be featured on NPR’s On the Media/TLDR, because of the good places of work of PJ and Alex, now doing their factor on the nice Reply All dot limo. I collaborated with Chris Trowbridge of the CBC for a Day 6 radio piece the place we spoke with each commenters and one of many musicians who impressed their tales, and uncovered a homicide thriller alongside the way in which. I obtained onstage and talked about it at IRL Membership.
And I had the nice fortune to work with the ridiculously gifted artists Ohara Hale, Dan Buller, and Stephen Evans on the Unhappy YouTube Books collection of ebooks, by which I collected feedback by theme—time, place, or emotion—and made digital chapbooks of them, with the above-mentioned artists’ great illustrations. They’re 1968, California, New York, 1976 and Regrets. (And regardless of what you’ll learn under, there could also be extra sooner or later.)
All in all, I collected upwards of 600 tales, every a shining little jewel of humanity. A few of them describe big, life-shattering occasions—wars, automotive crashes—and others describe smaller, subtler moments, fragments of reminiscence that may in any other case have been misplaced in time, I like all of them.
If this all sounds valedictory, it’s as a result of it’s. I’ve had much less and fewer time to comb by way of the feedback part in the previous few months, and I’m presently engaged on just a few writing and filmmaking tasks that might be occupying much more of my time. So as a substitute of letting the positioning simply taper off, I needed to attract a line beneath it and make a correct farewell.
I’ll after all hold the positioning up for the indefinite, and hopefully infinite, future. There may be actually a (not-at-all-organized) huge archive right here, and I need folks to have the ability to entry it. I by no means obtained round to constructing an index for the positioning, and I apologize for that, however in the event you’re a brand new reader I invite you to take a look at three posts I made amassing a few of the web site’s most memorable feedback through the years: right here, right here and right here. They’re a reasonably good begin.
And whereas I received’t be persevering with to submit feedback right here for the foreseeable future, if anybody needs to take my lead and begin their very own Unhappy YouTubes, nothing would make me happier. I’ve already heard of some curiosity in doing variations based mostly in different languages/international locations, and I feel that may be great. (Perhaps a German Unhappy YouTube?)
If you wish to observe me and my different tasks, you may try my sporadically up to date weblog at markslutsky.com or on twitter at @totallyslutsky. I’ll additionally nonetheless be checking my emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all my readers, to everybody who helped unfold the phrase or despatched in a submission of your individual.
Keep in mind, it’s typically okay—and even good in your soul!—to learn the feedback.