Let me start this rambling by first telling you, Nation (Can I call you Nation? Is that cool or does it feel awkward?): Don’t judge an article by it’s title, it isn’t what you think.
When I was considerably smaller and chronologically newer I used to shudder at the thought of getting older. Growing up, getting older, these were milestone markers on the great freeway of life and I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I was also very fearful that as I got older my mind wouldn’t work as well as it did while I was young, vibrant and learning.
Thankfully, as I am quite larger and chronologically advanced, I am learning that there is great insight that comes with age and I think I’m actually quite a bit smarter than I used to be because of that. This realization has allowed me to grow as a person and I’m very surprised that this new perspective came from a very surprising source: Philip DeFranco.
A while back on that silly little radio talk show NetHeads that I do on SModCo Internet Radio I posed a question to my co-host Trent after seeing the Philip DeFranco wedding proposal on the Internet. The question was, and I am paraphrasing here, did @PhillyD do his proposal live on stage on one of his road shows as a grand and romantic gesture to create an incredibly memorable moment for an incredibly important moment OR was he trying to use his wedding proposal to his advantage to gain more attention and press?
Again, Nation, keep reading. Really.
I can attempt to hide behind the veil of entertainment and say I was hoping to take something I had seen and turn it into a topic of discussion that helps to fill airtime. I may have even lied to myself at the time and claim that is what I was doing. I have absolutely no idea why weeks and weeks later (it may even be months at this point, I’ve been too busy to keep time in perspective any more) I found myself thinking about that moment. It may have been because I was reading those emotional news stories on the Internet that make you want the world to be the one Bill Murray urged us all to make it at the end of SCROOGED (man I love that flick), it may have been because Mr. DeFranco had tweeted something I found entertaining (yes I follow him on Twitter), I just don’t know. What I did realize, however, was that I had to have asked that question because I really didn’t like Philip DeFranco.
Nation, I’m serious here, save the tweets and just keep reading. We’ll get you to a safe harbor, I swear.
The moment I thought that I must not like Philip DeFranco I had to ask myself why I don’t like @PhillyD. I do not know the man personally, I have never met him, and our lives have never intertwined or had an impact on one another. I do not know this guy, so why don’t I like him? Clearly I must not like him if I’m taking this special moment in his life and making it into talk show fodder and attempting to minimize it. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t like Philip DeFranco, I was angry because I wasn’t Philip DeFranco.
Let me qualify that statement. I do not want to actually be @PhillyD, I don’t want to stalk him, take over his life or anything of the sort. The truth is that Phil DeFranco, Ray William Johnson and the like are all very reminiscent of another time in my life where I was doing a live talk show on the Internet professionally for PlayTV, a company that was WAY ahead of it’s time for 1998 (oh so many ages ago [and only 8 years before the first DeFranco video]). I was already married four years by that time, and I was 27 years old. The world was my oyster and for some reason I had the desire to entertain people, whether I was any good at it or not and I had either earned my way or stumbled into a rare opportunity where I would get to do that with bleeding edge technology. I was in Nerdvana… and then one day in 1999 it all went away.
Why is some 40-something waxing poetic about some dot-com job in any way related to the YouTube personalities of today? The YouTube movement was part of a natural evolution in Internet video that could actually be enjoyed because of the readily available broadband Internet connections just about everywhere. PlayTV had to offer low bandwidth and high bandwidth versions of their show streams because the majority of people just didn’t have broadband in 1998, but everyone now watches streaming video like it’s always been there. Had PlayTV started at the same time as YouTube did my story might be a bit different. I might have been a Philip DeFranco or @RayWJ.
That, folks, was the real truth that I suddenly realized; I didn’t dislike @PhillyD, I was envious of him. When he was getting started on YouTube I was the father of a three year old and moving back from Los Angeles to San Francisco and escaping one of the worst financial times of my life to date. I had a TV Studio in a box but believe me when I say there were more important things to be done than trying to “recapture the past” I told myself. I stuck with being a podcaster to a finite audience and told myself to be happy to have that. There were people that encouraged me to try to do the YouTube thing but it wasn’t a priority for me (and I didn’t know there was money to be had there). I was envious of his potential lifestyle, being able to take charge of his own destiny and possibly having fun making videos and actually getting paid to do it while I went to my 9 to 5 every day. It was petty. I was petty.
So, Phil, I’m sorry I took your special moment and tainted it. I’m sure you weren’t even aware of it just as much as you aren’t even aware of why some guy you don’t know is writing an entire article with you constantly mentioned in it. Regardless, thanks for doing what you do and helping me get to a better headspace and get some things into perspective.