For my first YouTuber-of-the-week type posts, I’ve decided to write about Benjamin Cook, arguable my most favourite YouTuber (although this is a title that seems to shift based on mood), partly because of his success in creating engaging, half hour videos – something that was previously thought to be pretty much impossible on a platform like YouTube – and partly because of his ability to be both critical and praising of the website itself, as well as those who use it.
In terms of having a career in media, Benjamin Cook started as a journalist working for Radio Times and Doctor Who Magazine, the influences of whom can be seen in the documentary-syle videos he then went on to create. He also conducted the “first Twitter interview” with Stephen Fry in 2010, and released the book Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale, a collection of e-mails between him and ex-shorunner Russell T. Davies.
In 2012 Cook started his YouTube project “Becoming YouTube,” a series of twelve videos in which he explores the way YouTube works, interviewing other major YouTubers and exploring ideas surrounding fan-culture, sexism, dealing with negativity, the power of YouTube personalities and the future of the site in terms of grass-root content creators vs. big, pre-existing personalities and companies.
It’s hard to say exactly what I love so much about Cook’s videos. I love how he can be both satire and inspiring, condemning and encouraging, putting his own spin on the site whilst allowing the views of others to shine through. I think a large part of making it on YouTube is personality, and this is something Cook certainly brings to his channel, mixing interviews with skits whilst parodying popular shows such as Doctor Who and Breaking Bad. There’s a lot of inside jokes aimed at those familiar with the YouTube “community,” but not so much that one unacquainted couldn’t enjoy or follow the videos. Overall, they are just well structured, entertaining and clever. Cook is certainly someone I look to for inspiration in this kind of field.