On Sept. 4, Youtuber Jacksepticeye (Seán McLoughlin) posted a video of himself donating hundreds of dollars to small Twitch streamers. On Sept. 8, I watched that video and had a change of opinion.
When people post videos of themselves doing nice things, it tends to come off as bragging. Nothing gets under my skin quite like 240 characters all being used to tell your Twitter followers about what a good person you are. Videos and Tweets like that always come off as insincere, as if they only did the nice thing to brag about it later.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to do a good thing. How does your motivation affect the act? If I do a good thing for a bad reason, is it still a good thing? I don’t have the answers to all of my questions yet, but there is a discovery that I’ve made recently that I’d like to share.
I don’t actually hate those videos anymore.
Normally, I would never click on such a video, but the thumbnail for Jacksepticeye’s video drew me in. It showed a violinist, one of the streamers he would donate to in the video, and had “Sans donated $300” typed on it. While I was never obsessed with Undertale, I was very intrigued by the possibility of “Megalovania” being played on a violin. Despite my intention to only watch the violinist part, I actually watched the entire thing.
McLoughlin bounced around on Twitch, checking out less popular streamers who were playing games or instruments that he was a fan of. I don’t usually watch his videos, but this one made me smile so many times.
Whenever the streamers noticed the donations, their faces lit up with disbelief and excitement, and it was honestly heartwarming. Not only that, but the streamers themselves were delightful. I fully enjoyed the commentary they gave before and after the donations. Yes, I did get to listen to “Megalovania” on the violin, and I also got to see a drummer improvise over fan-suggested music. Streamers like these are my jam, apparently.
I haven’t searched for any similar videos since watching his. I haven’t been watching much Youtube in general due to my chaotic schedule. But I do see the appeal of them now.
Even if the videos are bragging, I think they still do at least a little bit of good. Some people, myself included, are happy when they see others happy. For the days when you’re too sad to go out of your way to do something nice for someone else, these videos can act as a good way to see others smile and cheer yourself up.
Like I said before, I don’t know if doing a good thing for bad reasons actually counts as a good thing or not. If a Youtuber donates to a bunch of smaller streamers just so he can make a video about it, is it still a good deed? I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is that those smaller streamers still have that extra money to eat or buy better equipment. I’m sure that the people watching the video will smile, and at least for just a few minutes, their day will be brighter.
I don’t see myself seeking out these videos in the future, but I think I will probably click on the next one that comes across my feed. I think you should too. Maybe it’ll make your day better, or maybe not. But when it feels like the world is falling down around us, I’ll take any easy smiles I can get.