In our little YouTube-obsessed corner of the internet, it’s very easy to become distracted from bigger issues and events that are happening in the world; unless the creators and personalities we look up to do their part to make us aware of them.
The weekend’s devastating attacks in Paris prompted a response from all over the world; tributes, updates and messages of solidarity poured in all across social media. People close to the incident, celebrities and of course YouTubers all did their part to spread the word of the simultaneous shootings and explosions, that resulted in 129 people killed and 352 injured across the city.
Plenty of YouTubers used their influence, particularly on Twitter, to spread the story as it unfolded.
And many posted words of comfort, support, and aid.
A Tweet in solidarity can often make all the difference, and creators offered those in abundance. Some even shared the #PorteOuverte hashtag, in which Parisians were offering each other shelter throughout the city in the aftermath; and some provided resources for donating to help in the crisis.
For some, the events hit alarmingly close to home.
With such a wide array of content creators, some are bound to have a connection to the city – either from visiting, living there previously, or having friends and family nearby.
But of course, there are those who are there.
French YouTubers everywhere are of course taking this a lot closer to heart than any other. Paris-based vlogger Antastesia posted a vlog in English on the night of the attacks, to let her audience know that she was alright, vent her feelings, and remind the rest of the world that Paris as a city is still not over the attack earlier this year on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Meanwhile, the rest of the internet was a political minefield.
Conservative representatives and media everywhere started falling over themselves to politicise the attacks on Paris, using it to further demonise Islam and diminish activism occurring elsewhere. Luckily, there were even creators from the YouTube community on hand to put them in their place.
But even though the attention has been primarily on Paris, it has been a good time to draw attention to other parts of the world where attacks like these have also been happening.
And more than a few creators took the opportunity to remind their audiences of the good in the world.
With the world voicing its support and the people of Paris banding together in the aftermath, it has been a good moment to remember that communities have a greater capacity for good than evil.
So far very few people have jumped on the story in making a topical video, which in many ways is a good thing. However there are those for whom speaking topical events has partially become a responsibility – even when there is very little that can be said. But all of it was summed up perfectly by Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers, who admits while filming on Friday that this period “is just a time for feeling”.
While the world bickers and blames and attempts to politicise this tragic event, this online community has harnessed one of its greatest strengths – literally, community – to provide some shred of light in what is an otherwise very dark time. And that’s something that we can all be proud of.