I miss Youtube

I like skateboarding a lot. I’ve liked it since I was 12. I’m 20 now, and I’ve seen the game change over just that short 8 year period. I feel like my most formative years took place during a strange age in between the internet getting popular and everyone having a smartphone in their pocket. It’s kind of obscure, but my memories of first starting out skating are different from any interview I’ve ever read. Whenever you hear or read about someone’s roots in skating, they always talk about old magazines, 411 issues, or old video parts on VHS. While I did have videos like Fully Flared or Mystery’s Black & White that I watched religiously, the majority of my skateboard watching happened on Youtube.

Now that time is passing and kids my age have turned into kinda~adults, I’m talking to more and more people who grew up on Youtube skate videos. Mind you, the Youtube skateboarding community was a lot different than the scene today. Nowadays, the site is filled to the brim with vlogs and day-in-the-lives. That’s all fine and dandy, but I get the sense that a lot of these newer Youtubers are doing it for the money more than anything else. They upload multiple videos a day, mostly about nothing, raking in that scrumptious Google Ad Sense money. And I’m not hating, I understand the hustle. You gotta get it how you live, and these guys found a way to make a living off of talking into a Canon t3i that’s an arm’s length away from their face and splicing in skate clips every couple of minutes. And because of those peoples’ success, more and more kids are starting to follow their outline and personally, I’m not into it.

I really miss the old Youtube. The 2009-2013 Youtube. Because there wasn’t really any money in it, you got to see a ton of kids that were just doing it to do it. The videos everyone (including myself) made weren’t great, but you could tell everyone had a genuine love for it. The community back then wasn’t nearly as large as it is today, and the smallness created a sense of inclusiveness. And you could really feel that in the comments section under any popular kid’s videos. You would see the same names in the comment section on pretty much every video. Kids would argue endlessly over the names to certain tricks, making up new flip tricks and giving them dumb names like gazelle flips, hospital flips, and the glorious nightmare flip.

In a way, this spirit is still alive, but it’s now migrated over to Instagram. People are still making skate edits and arguing with each other, but it doesn’t have quite the same feeling as seeing one of your friend’s new “Summertage” pop up in your subscription box. I think that’s because a lot of work went into those old videos as opposed to today’s Instagram edits. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram edits are cool and all, but it’s way easier to film stuff with your phone, edit the clips on your phone, and then upload it to the internet from your phone. Because everyone has an iPhone now, videomaking is way more accessible to the average person. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but that tight sense of community that the old Youtube had doesn’t really exist on anymore, and that sucks.

Back then, you had to work with whatever shitty camcorder you could get your hands on, and bootleg it into a useable camera. We were supergluing fisheye adapters on cameras that weren’t made for changeable lenses, we were using door peepholes as fisheyes, and making shitty homemade X-grips out of parts from Home Depot. Back then you had to jump through a lot of hoops if you wanted to make a “good” video, and thanks to Apple, no one has to go through the struggle that me and thousands of other 14 year olds went through.

It was a very short lived era. I’m sure most people won’t even know what I’m talking about. It’s a very small, specific part of skate culture that went hand-in-hand with things like the SLAP message boards. Sadly, this era is seemingly dead, and me and a handful of other skateboarders are slightly upset about it.