Writer’s Block: Is It Me or Is It YouTube?

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By Corinne Wnek

It is nothing short of astounding to me that information about anyone or anything is so instantly available at anytime to whoever wants it for whatever reason. Think about this and you begin to understand that even the most private person among us is subject to assorted levels of public scrutiny.

Search engines of all kinds can immediately help us ‘find’ someone who might not want to be found. With a click of the keyboard, we can say “How ya doin’?” to someone we lost touch with thirty years ago. We can waltz in and out of each other’s lives now and not worry about losing touch because we all can be found, again and again and again. Yep. We can run but we definitely can’t hide.


Not only is it easy to find someone, but their life is practically an open book. That is, their age, address, state and town and names of relatives are all right there for the asking. If you know the right search engine to use, you can even pinpoint exactly where someone’s house is located and what it looks like. And this is all for free.  If you want juicier information, like any arrests, liens on the house, details of a divorce or employment history and yes, even salary, well, you’ll have to pay for that. But it’s there for the asking.

Then there’s YouTube, a video sharing and viewing site used by schools, corporations, multimedia conglomerates, entertainment entities, individuals, organizations and frat boys who upload videos so you can see something of their college experience. These can run the gamut from very funny to completely stupid. In any case, somebody gets their shot at fame in the ubersphere.

But sometimes the videos on this site are actually very good, like the one a colleague of mine did to remind high school students experiencing growing pains that “It Gets Better”. Scott Petrillo is a wonderful counselor. He asked teachers to volunteer to share their personal stories of growing up and overcoming a difficulty that in some way hurt them emotionally. This required bravery and honesty and a sincere desire on the part of teachers to get kids to see that, if you hang in there, often life improves.

The beauty of this is that Scott’s video may go much further in helping someone than he ever imagined. Maybe some kid in Maine or Arizona will stumble on this and be inspired by it. Maybe another teacher or counselor somewhere will pick up on this idea and help students in their neck of the woods.

In the olden days of school counseling, about ten years ago before YouTube, counselors could only help students who were in their school. But through the development of technology, and with creative and caring people like Scott, there really is no limit to the influence one person can have on another. The responsible use of technology brings people together for the common good of all.

I’ll click to that!

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