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  • Larissa Martin

Why You Should Follow Smaller, ‘Educational’ YouTube Creators

YouTube has everything, from how-to videos to music to comedy. There’s just one problem: most creators don’t put out thought-provoking content that contributes positively to the world, and many of the most popular content creators produce “mindless” content. 

But smaller creators, like Thomas Skean, are changing the game.

Skean, who has 6,150 YouTube subscribers, makes content about everything under the sun, but some of his best videos focus on music. He has some fantastic covers of popular songs, but one video in particular follows a different format — and it definitely stands out. In this video, Skean highlights musicians with disabilities and brings awareness to how incredibly talented they are.

In a world where many of our favorite artists are able-bodied, Skean’s focus on disabled musicians matters.

Musicians with disabilities may find it harder to make it big in mainstream music due to discrimination and inaccessible venues. Many people likely can’t name a musician with a disability off the top of their heads, and those who can might gravitate towards the same couple of artists, like Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli. You may not have previously known that some of the most popular artists in Skean’s video have disabilities. But by the time you finish watching, you’ll know that several of your favorite artists are disabled — and their disabilities definitely don’t take away from their talent.

Thomas Skean is an able-bodied, neurotypical college junior.

Many videos about disabled artists come from within the disability community, so considering that Skean doesn’t identify as disabled, his video is a breath of fresh air. It’s clear that he values learning about communities that are different from his own and wants to use his platform to spread awareness and help other creators thrive.

There’s just one problem: In the YouTube world, creators like Skean, who use their platforms to make a difference, often don’t have nearly as many followers as creators who focus on viral trends and prank videos. Many problematic creators, like Colleen Ballinger and Jake and Logan Paul, have millions of subscribers, despite posting dangerous content or having histories of harmful behavior. It’s clear that people are willing to overlook these issues for creators who produce “funny” or “risky” videos, but they don’t pay attention to the creators who highlight important issues in our society.

Smaller, “positive influence” creators usually don’t have the resources to hire full teams to edit or market their videos, which can negatively affect how the algorithm pushes their content to viewers. Without this ability, even creators who could go viral for powerful, awareness-spreading content simply don’t gain traction.

This isn’t fair, but it’s partially within our control.

It’s important for us to be mindful of the content we watch online. Prank videos, product hauls, and contests with expensive prizes can be fun to watch, but they don’t teach us anything truly important and can even cause harm to both the video participants and our self-esteem. Instead of exclusively watching larger creators with “funny” content and problematic behavior towards fans, let’s support smaller creators who focus on real-world issues. We can still watch “fun” videos by larger creators too, but when we support smaller creators who share important information, we’ll help them gain followers, and we’ll learn about the world around us. Supporting unproblematic people and learning along the way? It’s a win-win!

Featured Photo by on Unsplash.


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