Culture Magazine

Strange Intimacy in Cyberspace [personal Discussion of Polyamory on YouTube]

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

I feel a bit stange posting this YouTube slip. Heck, I felt a bit strange watching it. Why? Because a couple was discussing an intimate aspect of their private lives on YouTube. This, I suppose, is not all that unusual, but it's a bit unusual for me to be listening to such a discussion.

FWIW, this video had 171 views when I watched it. It how has 453 views as I'm posting it and will not doubt have many more views as the channel has almost 38K subscribers.

The channel belongs to Renetto, who is an early YouTuber. I watched him regularly in the early days, when he was something of a YouTube star. FWIW here's an Urban Dictionary entry about him that dates from 2006. But now, with only 38K subscribers, he's hardly a star. That number puts him him the vast middle range of YouTubers.

I watched him regularly for, I don't know, a year or so. Sometimes his videos were silly YouTube stunts and sometimes he was letting us into is often chaotic personal life. But enough is enough and I stopped watching, though every once in awhile a Renetto video would find its way into me feed and I'd take a look.

That's what I did this morning. He's now living in Florida – he'd been living in Ohio, I believe, in his early YouTube days – and he's still telling us about his personal life. That's all it is, one man's personal life. But this guy decided to live it on YouTube.

So, for whatever reason I decided to listen to this most recent installment. He's in some kind of relationship with another woman, Julia – I have no idea how many it's been between now and back then, but he's no Don Juan – he she, it seems, is into polyamory. And that's where the video gets weird and interesting. He didn't even know the word until he met her, so it's all new to him. It takes awhile for the video to get around to that, though it's there in the title. But it gets there, she's the one who brings it up, this is her first video, and and you'll just have to see for yourself.

But why? Why's he been doing this for 16 years? How many people do this, live their lives in public, the strange public that is YouTube where you never see those thousands of people who watch your videos.

How much of this is routine to many? What's this portent for the future, if anything?

Will he leave this video up? It begins with a preamble in which he introduces the video that he's already recorded with Julia.

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