An Old Woman's Daydream
Lost Old Friends

YouTube Elderblogging

The newest elderblogger sensation, as many of you have pointed out to me via email over the past several days, is one Peter, a 79-year-old widower living in the U.K.

Well, actually, he is on YouTube where he is known as geriatric1927 and has turned out nine five- to six-minute videos in one week about his long life.

The latest star of YouTube is a charming fellow and it is easy to see why he has garnered so much attention from young YouTubers. Yahoo! News via Reuters posted this story about him on Sunday saving me the effort of plowing through thousands of comments and video responses:

“’It's great that someone from your generation has chosen to share their views on life, and a shame more elderly people don't too,’ wrote one commentator.

“’I don't have a grandpa, but if I could choose, I'd want you to be mine!’ says another.

“A few who mocked him were quickly rebuked by the rest of the online community.”

The news story also notes:

“Peter…has received wide praise for his videos and for proving technology is not just for the younger generation.”

Hear, hear. Although, with no disrespect meant to Peter, thousands of elderbloggers have been proving that for years including Millie of My Mom’s Blog who has been producing videos with her son, vlogger extraordinaire Steve Garfield, for a couple of years. It shouldn't be such a surprise to the media that elders are part of the blogosphere.

But what is most important, and what Peter’s new-found celebrity is helping to do, is make the point that elders are out here in the blogosphere producing words, audio and video that is as compelling as anything 20-somethings do. And while it is apparent that those 20-somethings and younger are born these days with a mini-computer mouse clutched in their tiny fists, age is no barrier to learning a new skill when there is a need or desire.

Comments

I found Geriatric1927 while visiting YouTube....to your point...I'm a 63 year old woman...a mother/grandmother...while I do have an MBA and worked as a CPA/college professor ..it was well before the internet was a factor in people's lives...and I regularly exchange e-mails etc with my 88 year old dad!

Wow! I can't believe I beat you to a post especially given that I did plow through thousands of comments and hours of response videos on YouTube.

One reason I think YouTubers have taken a shine to Peter (geriatric1927) is that he's so enthusiastic about them. He watches their videos and comments on them and is never condescending or preachy. How many of you have seen "Keep your Jesus off my penis"?

Peter doesn't try to be like them or talk like them. He simply talks to them and listens to them. He shows such a sincere interest in them that they responded in kind.

Certainly part of Peter's popularity is due to the novelty of his age. Readers of TGB are a self-selected group of tech savvy elders. However, commenter after commenter on YouTube praise geriatric1927's efforts saying that their own grandparents and parents don't make any attempt at all to use today's technology. Even I have this problem with my parents. YouTubers appreciate Peter's effort to meet them in the world they inhabit. (I infer from your post that you didn't actually go to YouTube yourself.)

Anyway...I have more quotes and some selected video on the link for those interested. (It can be tedious watching vlogs...unlike text you can't skim to the meaty part.)

Of course, I looked at the videos, M Sinclair, but I surely haven't time to plow through thousands of comments, so I was grateful to Reuters.

Videologs are interesting, but time is so dear and it is the slowest possible way of taking in information.

But then, I am clearly in the minority in this post-print world we now live in. But Peter is smart to keep his vidoes to about five minutes.

I just blogged about Peter myself moments before I read your post! It is good stuff, isn't it? As I said in my post, I'm just really glad to see older people discovering the powerful tool that is video blogging. I think it can really facilitate dialogue between generations and has incredibly powerful means of conveying the wisdom of age. If kids aren't going to read books, at least we can put some quality on YouTube. :)

I can't wait to see him, but YouTube is down at the moment.

I had an idea a while back about taking generational snapshots of events in history, interviewing people who have been at different ages and stages when historical events happened, and showing how those things played out in their lives. From reading "Generations", I became very aware that those of different ages took diffenernet impressions from what was happening around them - a child growing up during WW II or the depression came away with very different feelings than an adult of those times, for instance.

I wonder what it would be like to collect some of those in video form, contrasting younger and older impressions of events.

One word of caution when using YouTube. YouTube's end user agreement specifies that what is posted belongs the them and they can use it as they wish. So, users should be very careful about what they post.

Hi Ronni

Glad you found Peter! I wish that my father (who is 84 and currently going through a period of recording and archiving his memories and documents/photographs) would understand what a powerful and relevant tool the internet can be in this regard. There is nothing my father likes more than an audience and feedback - it would be his dream come true.

In some ways I find Peter's popularity quite ironic though - I get the feeling that people who would never dream of spending an afternoon listening to their granny telling the same boring old stories about her youth, are lapping up Peter's stories on YouTube. Wouldn't it be great it we could get excited about the wonderful and quirky oral histories that we can gather from our own families' elders?

does everyone who has posted here know about StoryCorps.net--"national project to instruct and inspire Americans to record one another's stories in sound...to help you interview your grandmother, your uncle, the lady who's worked at the luncheonette down the block for as long as you can remember—anyone whose story you want to hear and preserve."

two recording booths in new york city and a couple of mobile booths traveling around the country.

Bronski--YouTube claims only distribution rights (which includes allowing anyone to embed the video on their site) and only as long as you keep video up. (You can take it down any time.)

http://www.youtube.com/t/terms
"For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions."

This is similar to the agreement that Ronnie has with Blogburst.

Mark--I was so depressed by your comment that I felt compelled to blog a response.

Hi, saw your comments about Peter and youtube..just to say that there is a ballet film by older people on youtube, with them dancing ont he streets which is pretty brill and life affirming..here is link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe2_ixh1H90

it's called blinking ballet

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