Andrew Selepak, PhD, director of the master of arts in mass communication program with a specialization in social media at University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Gainesville. Jou.UFL.edu
Actor John Krasinski, best known as Jim from the TV show The Office, has received praise during the pandemic for his YouTube channel “Some Good News.” His videos were like a low-budget version of the nightly news…but segments featured people doing good deeds for neighbors and receiving pleasant surprises.
Its upbeat message proved so popular that it was bought by CBS—but it isn’t the only place you can find upbeat, interesting content online. Here’s where to head on YouTube and Facebook if you’d like to escape the all-too-prevalent negativity and bickering…
Facebook group/page of a place that’s important to you. Enter the name of that city or state into Facebook’s search bar along with the words “old” and “photos” and a spot within the city, then click “Groups” and/or “Pages.” This often turns up groups/pages where members post old pictures of the area. It’s a heartwarming, nostalgic way to look back at the way things once were in places where you spent happy times or where your ancestors lived. It’s also a great way to interact with people who share your fond feelings for the area. “Derry of the Past” is my personal favorite—my mother was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, and I still have family there.
“Today I Found Out” YouTube channel. Brit Simon Whistler answers history and science questions that your high school textbooks didn’t cover in this informative video series. Not every video is upbeat, but there is plenty of fun. Examples: “Do People Who Get Knighted by the Queen Get Anything for It?” and “Why Doesn’t the Heart Get Tired and Need to Rest Like Other Muscles?”
If you like this YouTube channel, Whistler also hosts biographical videos on the YouTube channel “Biographics.”
Upbeat comedy. The “Team Coco” YouTube channel features talk show host Conan O’Brien. His humor is goofy and self-deprecating, unlike many modern talk show hosts and comics who seek laughs by being overly political and critical. Also: Talk show host Graham Norton brings on multiple guests at a time so you see celebrities interact with each other in a relaxed and entertaining way. View clips on his show’s YouTube channel.
If you’re looking for laughs free of topical references, enter the name of favorite talk show hosts or comics from decades past into YouTube—you can find clips and complete shows featuring everyone from Steve Allen to Sid Caesar.
“Rick Steves’ Europe” YouTube channel. Watching travel writer Rick Steves explore Europe isn’t as fun as actually visiting Europe, but it is a way to see a different part of the world and help you make travel plans for the future.
Also: Enter the name of a place you hope to visit into YouTube along with “visiting” or “driving.” The results may not have Rick Steves’s insight or production values, but they still can transport you to distant parts of the globe.
Facebook group/page of a favorite Hollywood star of the past. Facebook groups and pages for today’s stars often are little more than marketing tools or gossip mongers, but the pages of stars from the pre-Internet era often provide a pleasant place for fans to share memories…read old interviews and articles…and see old photos and film clips. Examples: John Wayne’s official Facebook page…the Clark Gable: When Hollywood was “Golden” Facebook page.