YouTube’s ‘#WithMe’ Social Distancing PSA Brings Together Emma Chamberlain, Casey Neistat, More

By 03/30/2020
YouTube’s ‘#WithMe’ Social Distancing PSA Brings Together Emma Chamberlain, Casey Neistat, More

With millions of people spending more time at home than usual, sites from YouTube to Twitch to Pornhub are seeing significant spikes in traffic. On YouTube, some video niches are getting particular attention–and one of them is videos with the words ‘at home‘ in their title.

Views on these videos shot up more than 50% from March 10 to 15, YouTube told Variety. Accordingly, it’s decided to delve into the trend (and deploy useful information to viewers) by naming its latest COVID-19 PSA Stay Home #WithMe.

For the PSA–which promotes social distancing–it’s tapped a number of top YouTubers, including Emma Chamberlain (who has 8.75 million subscribers on the platform), Casey Neistat (11.9 million), the Dolan Twins (10.7 million), Yoga with Adriene (6.56 million), John and Hank Green (3.3 million), and Phil DeFranco (6.41 million) — as well as celebrities like tennis star Venus Williams, Hell’s own chef Gordon Ramsay, singers Jessie J and Hayley Kiyoko, and actress Hailee Steinfeld.

The PSA’s first video, a mashup of clips from YouTube creators, urges viewers to “#StayHome and help save lives.” But, it reminds them, “Even when we’re apart, there are a million things we can do together.”

Clips include shots from the sorts of videos viewers will find by searching “at home”: uploads about people studying, cooking, crafting, or simply chilling out and listening to some sweet royalty-free tunes. These kinds of quiet videos (particularly study-with-me videos) have been popular on YouTube for years, but now that many folks are under quarantine or practicing social distancing, they’re a way for viewers to be social without being physically together.

“Growing up as an only child made me feel isolated at times, and YouTube was a distraction for us to work together to keep each other safe,” Chamberlain said in a statement. “I hope it can do the same for people now…We are there for each other even when we aren’t physically together, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

All videos in the PSA direct viewers to a hub: Thos hub is filled with playlists of ‘with me’ videos, featuring creators cooking, cleaning, crafting, reading, and more. You can find a complete list of creators involved in the PSA here.

#Stay Home With Me is far from YouTube’s first coronavirus-related effort. In recent weeks, it’s also: released a separate PSA with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci; made a rare exception to its sensitive events policy, allowing some creators to monetize content about COVID-19; partnered with the World Health Organization and a number of other health agencies to disseminate trustworthy information about the pandemic on its home page; contributed an undisclosed amount of money to the Recording Academy’s relief fund for music artists; donated ad space to Ad Council’s PSAs; and lowered the quality of its videos to standard definition to help declutter internet traffic.