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Tommy Edison is a YouTuber who vlogs about his unique experiences and perspectives as a blind person. Though Edison is most-well known for his personal vlogs, he began his YouTube career by reviewing movies on the channel Blind Film Critic.
On April 15th, 2011, Edison launched his first YouTube channel Blind Film Critic with the help of producer Ben Churchill. The pilot episode featured a review of the newly released horror film Scream 4 (shown below), in which Edison mentions that there are multiple segments with 4-5 minutes of silence, making it hard for him to follow. In the episode, he plays a clip of the film’s audio track without its visual counterpart to demonstrate the difficulty in following a plot without the sense of sight. As of July 2013, Blind Film Critic’s YouTube channel has more than 75 video uploads, 15,700 subscribers and 2.1 million views. In addition, all of the episodes in the web series are also available as a podcast on iTunes.
In September 2011, after publishing 25 episodes and movie trailer mashups, Edison began experimenting with more personal videos on his YouTube channel, including one documenting a trip to the ATM (shown below, right). Throughout the month, the video was featured on Viral Viral Videos, Buzzfeed, the Consumerist, Boing Boing and eBaum’s World. Encouraged by the success of the ATM video, Edison and Churchill launched The Tommy Edison Experience channel to document other aspects of his everyday life, such as playing sports, operating a DVD player and cooking among many others. As of July 2013, this YouTube channel has nearly 85 uploads, amassing more than 106,000 subscribers and 9.3 million views.
News Media Coverage
On April 18th, 2011, Urlesque wrote about Edison’s pilot review of Scream 4, pointing out how much one can learn about a movie without visual cues. In May 2011, less than a month after the launch of Blind Film Critic, Edison was interviewed by ABC News (shown below) about his web series, followed by many other news outlets including TIME Newsfeed, USA Today, PopCandy and The Huffington Post. In 2012, Edison’s videos continued to garner attention from mainstream media, leading to profile articles by The Atlantic, USAToday and Laughing Squid, among others.
In January 2013, Edison gained more attention for his Instagram account, which he launched in June 2012. The account was lauded by tech and photography blogs for its unique process, impressive quality and use of hashtags, including Gizmodo, PetaPixel, Engadget, New York Daily News and the Huffington Post. As of July 2013, he has more than 32,000 followers on the photo sharing app.
Tommy Edison was born blind and began working as radio disk jockey in 1987. Two years later, he became the nation’s first blind traffic reporter. In 1994, he was offered a traffic reporting position with Connecticut’s STAR 99.9 FM, where he relies on a police scanner and commuter tips. In 2009, Connecticut governor Jodi Rell declared May 21st Tommy Edison Day for his dedication and service to the community. Edison maintains active accounts on a number of social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.
The Consumerist – What It’s Like For A Blind Man To Use An ATM For The First Time
Huffington Post – Blind Film Critic Tommy Edison Reviews ‘Thor’ (VIDEO)
Engadget on AOL – Tommy Edison demonstrates how the blind can connect with Instagram