YouTube isn’t just used to watch cats and enjoy fail videos, it can also serve as a platform to help people build confidence and develop projects outside of the website itself.
Recently I had the chance to speak to Jimmy Elliott, a YouTuber who clearly enjoys producing his fun videos and appreciates the interaction with his viewers.
I spoke to Jimmy about his channel and his love for YouTube as well as ‘Holding of Wrist’, an organisation that he set up himself which helps support people who self-harm or are coping with suicidal thoughts.
Jimmy, could you tell me how you first got involved with YouTube?
I wish it was a more interesting story, but I started making YouTube videos in the Summer of 2009 simply because I was bored. Back then it wasn’t known that you could earn money from making videos, so everyone just did it for fun. I saw other YouTubers making videos and figured ‘why can’t I do that’? So I did.
How does it feel to know that people watch and enjoy the videos you produce?
There is nothing more rewarding than knowing there’s people around the world that enjoy the videos I make. I started with a webcam and free editing software and taught myself everything I know. The fact that my hard work is paying off is amazing.
The past six years of my life is 100% documented online: good days, bad days, breakups, bad haircuts, self-harm issues and more. It isn’t easy growing up online having thousands of people watching your every move, but it’s so much more rewarding knowing you made someone smile every day for the past six years.
Do you have a favourite video on your channel?
I do! “Hard Work Does Pay Off” & “Meet Jimmy Elliott” are both videos I put a lot of time and dedication into. I try to make each video better than the last, though.
How would you describe your relationship with your viewers?
I have zero fans, just friends. It’s a concept I gained from a friend, Dylan Smith, better known by his stage name “Mod Sun”. I am not on a pedestal or better than the person who watches my videos or follows my tweets, we’re all friends and we’re all equal.
I recently reached 65,000 Twitter followers and for that I’m so blessed by all my friends for supporting me in everything I do and everything I create. I owe everything to YouTube and the people who support me.
Do you have any advice for people that want to produce their own YouTube videos, but are perhaps a bit nervous about it?
If you’re nervous about YouTube but really want to create videos, sometimes you just need to do it. When I started YouTube, I didn’t go into it for my money, ‘fame’, interviews or anything else – none of those things existed.
I do YouTube because I enjoy it and the moment I don’t enjoy it is when I will stop. I would say to make sure that you’re doing it because you enjoy it. Believe that you are worth watching, be genuine and people will watch your videos.
Who are you favourite YouTubers?
I enjoy watching ShayCarl, Charles Trippy, ApprenticeEh, Joey Graceffa, Meghan Camarena, Jc Caylen, DeeFizzy, BryanStars, Jeydon Wale and more. Some of my favourites have become friends.
You’ve now launched your own organisation, ‘Holding of Wrist’. Could you tell us more about it?
Yes, of course! I’m always starting new projects. Holding of Wrist was started in 2008 in an attempt to help others through self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts.
It was started after I dealt with these issues around 2006-2008 as a result of severe health issues at the time. Since 2008, we have hired over 15 staff who have replied to over 75,000 emails and built a network of over 150,000 supporters.
Where do you hope to see Holding of Wrist in the future?
In the past year we’ve launched (and soon to relaunch) the most advanced website we’ve ever created. The website includes resources that cover 100% of the world. We put all worldwide resources for mental health issues into a simple page for easy access.
In the future, Holding of Wrist will continue to expand and start up new projects. We believe in connecting directly with those who are hurting and offer hope and love to them. That will always be our first priority.
Have you got a good response from people so far in regards to Holding of Wrist?
I’ve received nothing but love from those who support my efforts with Holding of Wrist. We are celebrating six years of work on October 6th, 2014 which is a blessing.
When I hear that one of our emails saved someones life, it gives me the opportunity to step back and realize how much of a blessing my life is. I created Holding of Wrist from a Myspace page and it evolved into what it is today.
How can people help Holding of Wrist or get involved?
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