YouTube Conference presentation – “Hello, YouTubers”

I recently gave my YouTube Conference presentation at Middlesex University entitled, “Hello, YouTubers” – Geriatric1927 and the deployment of self-created content and online sharing in retirement. In the United Kingdom, the retired population is rising and statistics show that growing numbers are using digital technology and the internet for more than search functions and buying goods online. Indeed, a small number are creating and sharing self-created content on platforms such as YouTube. This is a section of society often ignored in qualitative internet research. This presentation case studies the retired vblogger, Peter Oakley, who was interviewed as part of a wider examination into how retirees create and share content on the internet. 

In August 2006, Peter started uploading self-created videos diaries of personal monologues to YouTube with an account named Geriatric1927[1], named after his date of birth[2]. He adopted the self-appointed title of ‘Internet Grandad’ (sic) and became something of a celebrity on the platform with over 40,000 subscribers to his channel and over 9 million views. His YouTube channel is a record of his life through historical personal vernacular narratives. The videos predominantly comprise of him speaking directly to camera, either telling a story about his life or talking about a topical subject. Peter considers the internet to have afforded him with the ability to recount and leave a record of his life online[3].

Peter’s use of YouTube is an example of a wider study that addresses how retired web users deploy self-created content sharing practices to communicate online and their motivations for engaging in these practices. Participants expressed that engaging with digital technologies helped to alleviate feelings of loneliness and further encouraged activities of vernacular creativity and participation in online networks.

[1] During the interview process Peter indicated that he would like his real name, nickname and YouTube channel link used in this research.
[2] See:
[3] Peter uploaded his final video on 12th February 2014 before passing away on 23rd March 2014. The video has been viewed over 100,000 times. As of April 4th 2016 his 434 videos are still available to view on his YouTube channel, which has amassed 48,170 subscribers and 9,812,499 video views.

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