Making his YouTube debut in August, 2006 with a series of five-to-ten minute autobiographical videos entitled Telling it all, his posts gained immediate popularity with a wide section of the YouTube community, a leading member of the much-heralded Web 2.0 generation of web sites.
Amongst the autobiographical details revealed in his videos are the fact that he served as a radar mechanic during World War II, has had a lifelong love of motorcycles, and that he currently lives alone as a widower and pensioner in England.
His unforeseen rise has been widely reported by international media outlets and online news sources and blogs, gaining YouTube much publicity along the way. After resisting all media attention for a long time (including requests for interviews, photographs, and attempts to identify him), insisting that he only wished to converse with the YouTube community in an informal and personal way, Oakley finally gave his first interview for the BBC's The Money Programme which was aired on BBC Two on 16 February 2007.
By mid-2006, geriatric1927 was the most subscribed user on YouTube. His rise to the #1 position took place in just over a week. It is noteworthy that in the process he displaced users who had been around since the site's launch over a year prior, including NBC-signed Brooke Brodack.
Oakley had 30,000 subscribers as of November 25, 2006, and over 47,000 subscribers as of April 19, 2008. He is currently ranked 48th most subscribed and he is the 26th most subscribed director on YouTube. As of April 19, 2008, Oakley has over 120 videos on YouTube under the pseudonym geriatric1927.
In the series, Mr Oakley describes some of the major events and periods of his life, including:
The videos all begin with what has become his catchphrase, "Hello YouTubers..." or "Good Evening YouTubers..." and ends each video by thanking the viewer for watching and saying "goodbye" in his soft spoken voice.
On August 17, 2006, Mr Oakley uploaded the next installment of his series, entitled Telling it all 7, in which he made an important statement about how much attention he received from the media over the past couple of days. Unlike previous videos in the series, Telling it all 7 was not an anecdote of his life, but focused solely on the media response he had gained. He mentioned that this is not what he sought or wanted. This video was leaked out to the media because somebody reportedly intended to publish these videos - without permission from Oakley - for their own benefit. Also included in this upload was a clarification that any web sites using his username (geriatric1927) are in no way affiliated with him.
During the Telling it all 7 video, he stated that he received many messages from advertising companies, telephone companies and newspaper companies that wanted to interview him. Oakley, however, was not interested, preferring to speak only to his fellow YouTubers, whom he considers to be his friends.
Oakley also was part of a BBC documentary where he was recruited as one of The Zimmers a group of pensioners who the documentary maker Tim Samuels brought together to sing The Who's classic My Generation to highlight the plight of OAP's in modern Britain. The single was released in May 2007 to raise money for the charity Age Concern.
It has been recently released on the Zimmers MySpace page that Peter will be recording a version of the Alan Parson's Project's song "Old and Wise", further information to be provided as the date of recording draws near.
Peter's work with The Zimmers took him to Washington DC in September 2007 as a guest of the AARP, more details can be found on his website.
Peter may also be in attendance for the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from 23 - 27 January, 2008, where the topic will be The Power of Collaborative Innovation. Again more details on Peter's website.
Peter Oakley et al. Projects with People: The Practice of Participation in Rural Development.(Book Notes)(Brief article)(Book review)
Sep 22, 1991; Peter Oakley et al. Projects with People: The Practice of Participation in Rural Development. Geneva: ILO. 1991. xv + 284 pp....