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Not your typical family scrapbooking.
In late April, Brad Devine surprised his wife Hailey with an emotional anniversary video of their 10-plus years together. The day of the upload, the video quickly rose to become one of the most shared videos in the United States, exposing their picturesque lives to a world far beyond the couple’s 60,000 subscribers.
I’ve seen days worth of anniversary videos in my time as a video curator and things have a way of becoming nauseatingly cheesy. But even me, a sarcastic reporter whose daily goal is to survive the cold streets of New York, couldn’t help but melt while watching this couple’s story unfold.
High school sweethearts drawn together by their mutual love of filmmaking, the Devines have turned their YouTube channel into a video scrapbook. There is footage of their first film projects, engagement, 12-countries-in-12-months travels, wedding, two years apart as Brad served his Mormon mission, and the birth of their daughter Lucy. While their early content is mostly glimpses into family adventures and international travel, Hailey has expanded the channel’s focus to include traveling advice, life updates, and motherhood musing. These videos show her dedication as a mother and partner, and through the family’s worldwide adventures, Hailey uses online video to encourage others to find great happiness in life’s little moments.
Early last year, Devine opened up about finding her daughter’s photos stolen and uploaded to a baby role-playing Instagram—a growing online fetish community—and began educating other family vloggers about the importance of keeping your family safe online. This is a lesson that often goes untaught to YouTube creators as many don’t realize that showing home-improvement projects or vlogging about trips leaves them vulnerable to harassment and home invasion.
Devine’s channel could be easily lost among the thousands of other lifestyle vloggers on YouTube. But what sets her apart from the Zoellas and Estée Lalondes of the vlogging world is the setup of her channel—documenting the entire courtship, marriage, and family expansion—which as a viewer feels like you’re watching a movie.
Two videos in, I felt invested in watching this family build their lives despite our minimal commonalities. The second defining factor is Devine’s stunning methods of storytelling. Her videos boast a fierce color palette that document travel, love, and perfectly coordinated outfits in varying styles of vlogs, stop motion, and more. I’m captivated watching a fellow 25-year-old’s life that is 180-degrees different than mine.
Few of our lives resemble the Devine family. But aside from their story being a fairy tale you can’t stop watching, their content stands as a reminder to turn off the computer and go engage in adventures beyond your Wi-Fi code. To travel and make art and fall in love with places, people, and moments. They’re an antidote to the oversharing of daily vlogging and that is a breath of fresh air for YouTube audiences worldwide.
Carly Lanning is a journalist who covers social media. Her work has been published by Psychology Today, NBC, Thrillist, and Ms. Magazine.