YouTube is an incredible platform - It is the No. 2 search engine in the world, with 3 billion searches processed each month.
Every minute, 100 hours of video is uploaded, making it impossible for anyone to ever see all the content there is out there.
Some content is good (not just animal videos and Camila Cabello music videos, though both are fantastic), and some content is bad (bullying, drama, videos made on an iPhone but they're filmed in portrait instead of landscape -- I mean, come on)
The truth of it is that unless a video blows up virally, you won't see some of the hidden gems out there without getting lucky.
Getting lucky, though, is exactly what happened to me when I stumbled across public speaker, vlogger, and "millennial-girl-who just-so-happens-to-be-blind," Molly Burke.
My YouTube viewing habits have changed a bit over the past year. As I get older, my tolerance for gaming channels lowers, and my desire for more realistic lifestyle videos grows.
I am constantly interested in seeing how others live, grow, and just go about their normal days. Just the other day, I noticed that a YouTuber that I really enjoy, Colleen Ballinger, the alter ego of frumpy character singer, Miranda Sings, had a crossover video with a YouTuber I was not familiar with, named Molly Burke.
The video, "ASKING A BLIND GIRL OFFENSIVE QUESTIONS with Molly Burke," turned out to be an absolute delight.
Colleen delicately approached the topic of Molly's seeing disability with the intention of teaching her viewers a thing or two about acceptance.
While I did learn a bit about how to talk and interact with someone who has a visual disability, what I was not expecting was to fall in love with the openness and vulnerability projected by Molly.
ASKING A BLIND GIRL OFFENSIVE QUESTIONS with Molly Burkewww.youtube.com
Molly is visually impaired, and effectively, completely blind. While she has some limited use of her eyes, she explains that she can only vaguely make out shapes and shadows.
Her channel, which has 1.94 million subscribers and touts a whopping 132,015,810 views (at the time of writing this article, of course), focuses on stigmatizing her disability and empowering the sighted to better understand.
I'm Blind, This is What I REALLY See!www.youtube.com
I watched several of her videos in one day, and I learned so much about what living with a visual disability is like.
While many of her videos are fun and light-hearted in nature, I would recommend that if you only watch one, watch the video "What It's Like to Travel Alone When You're Blind." This video was challenging to sit through, so I could only imagine what it would have been like to experience it.
In this video, Molly travels for work from Toronto to Pittsburgh. She typically travels with a group or with an assistant to help her navigate the sighted world, but here she pushes herself out of her comfort zone to make the international trip alone (well, with her seeing-eye pup, Gallop).
What It's Like To Travel Alone When You're Blindwww.youtube.com
As we think about the changes and resolutions we want to make in 2020 and beyond, I would like to challenge each of you to learn a little bit about someone who lives with a disability.
I felt so inspired watching Molly's videos and learning about her condition that I spent some time reading up on how to write and talk about disabilities for this article.
I know it's not perfect by any means, and if you are someone who knows someone or lives with a visual disability and finds any questionable or problematic language in my article, please let me know in the comments or on my social media pages.
Sight is just one of the many things I personally take for granted, and knowing now how much sight is used in daily life, and how much of the world is not visually-impaired accessible, makes me want to encourage others to take the time to think how they could make the world around them a better place for everyone.