Internet fame and mortality.

I was very disheartened to learn of the passing of Dylan Hart; the occasional face, but mostly the brains and voice behind the YouTube channel Household Hacker. I’ve watched and enjoyed this quirky channel for years, yet I never knew much about the world behind the scenes, other than it just seemed like a few buddies having a good time making videos within a certain niche. With the way their videos were edited, there’s a bit of disconnect between the voice over and the voiceless people being filmed. I never got a full sense of who was in charge or whether the VO person was also one of the participants. Dylan was one of the people I recognized from video to video, so I kind of assumed it was his channel, but I never knew for sure. I didn’t even know his name and I didn’t have the scope of his contributions confirmed until his ‘in memory of’ video.

I’ve lost other internet personalities that were important to me as well. Grant “The King of Random” Thompson was lost a year prior to Dylan. I’m eternally saddened by his premature loss as well.

As much of a blow as Grant’s sudden death was, we at least have a wealth of content to look back on to help remember him. Grant went from being very camera shy in his early tutorials to eventually become the out-in-front face of his channel five days a week (before hiring other talent to spread the workload). I never met him, but by all accounts, he was the same exuberant person off camera as he was on. I have a very solid sense of the person and, even though it doesn’t make it less sad, that helps provide me with a bit of closure.

Dylan’s death is different. He was the main creative force, and the excellent VO artist for his channel, but he didn’t put himself out in front the same way Grant did. Certainly his personality bleeds through, but it isn’t quite the same as having a named presenter. At least not to me. I’m left with the feeling of barely knowing this person, even though I’ve been touched by what they’ve put into the world. It’s a feeling that’s a little hard to explain. I wish I knew him and could have appreciated him better when he was still alive.

And I’m a little afraid of doing the same thing to you, my viewers.

There are a lot of reasons I’ve chosen to be on what NESfriend‘s Travis calls ‘team #noface’ on YouTube. I’m camera shy, introverted, insecure; these personality traits have a lot to do with it. But there’s a little more to it. I don’t want my content to be judged on superficial traits. If I were the best looking person in the world, or the most charismatic (I’m neither, by the way), I wouldn’t want to be popular for these reasons. My doctrine when making my videos has always been that I want my videos to be judged by how good the ideas in them are. Not by who I am, not by who I know, and not by their production quality. I’m the presenter, but I’ve always wanted my ideas to be in the limelight, not myself. If my ideas can be liked, then that’s something I can actually be proud of.

But someday I’ll be gone. And when I’m gone, you may not even find out about it. And if you did, you may be left wanting to know more about the person that used to run that channel. And I don’t know how to reconcile this. I’m very much myself online, and I think I let enough of my personality out on my channel and on Twitter, but it seems there will always be some level of disconnect from not being on camera, and not using my given name online.

So for now, I will preemptively apologize. I’m sorry for what I choose to be private about. I’m sorry if you are ever left feeling lacking in connection from me. And I’m sorry that at some point I’ll die and the people on the internet side of my life my be left not even knowing what happened. I don’t know how to fix it. All I can say at this point is that I’m always grateful to anyone who takes the time to interact with me. You truly make me feel appreciated and accepted and I don’t know anything else a person really wants to feel from a community.

Be well.

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