Youtube has become the Worldtube
I remember when I was in middle school and I remember when I first was a user of Youtube when my friends in school would just talk about other kids our age around the country posting videos about them either telling funny stories or just doing random things to make people laugh. I was such a huge fan of FRED and a Youtuber user known as supermac18. The two were just teenage boys that would do random and silly things throughout their day and post it online. Youtube was not something that was a regular used medium for me like television and the radio, and it’s mind-blowing to see where Youtube is at now. Another reason Youtube has become such a success is how it’s the website mostly everyone goes to watch the world premieres of music videos. Growing up, everything involving music and musical artist was on VH1 and MTV-Top 20 video countdown, Total Requests Live and other twenty-two minute music programs on television. One of the biggest keys to Youtube, however, isn’t just having the power to watch whatever you want whenever you wanted but it’s the power of sharing content and feedback. With the exception of some videos and channels that block comments, a majority of videos on Youtube allow for anyone to submit comments, give the video thumbs up or thumbs down, it even allows people to “favorite” videos they like so they can keep it in their own personal folder to watch at their pleasure. During this week’s class watching the video “Please Subscribe” I had never heard of the documentary before this week. And to be frank, it’s one of the most interesting and eye-opening documentaries I have seen and I believe in large part its due to being the age that I am now and being a part of the generation that’s transformed and continues to transform with digital culture. The Youtuber, Hannah Hart, is an average young adult who used to get drunk and cook in her kitchen with her close friend, she uploaded a video of her doing so and sent it to her friend on Youtube, and now she has thousands of subscribers and millions of views. When I sit here and type and think about how incredible that story is just really shows how much our society has changed over the past ten years with media and technology. Youtube is not just a successful website to watch some videos. Youtube is the number three website on the planet and it has become a platform. Youtube has become an occupation for many who are making six-figure dollar amounts a year, from doing what? They upload videos on a daily or weekly basis and with more people that watch the more money they make. For another Youtuber in the documentary, Mitchell Davis, Youtube had a major impact on his actual well-being and his life. It wasn’t even noticeable until he said so, but he suffers from extreme OCD to a point where it was difficult for him to go outside and interact with people. Before his success on Youtube he would stay indoors and almost reach a point of deep depression from his lack of socialization. Mitchell Davis refers to his Youtube followers as a community, a family, a close knit group of people that support him and understand him and he feels comforted. He says that without being able to express his entertainment of humor to people on Youtube and not having had the success that he’s had he’d probably still be the child that stays in his room and not want to interact with people. Many people refer to Youtube as a community because going what to Marshall McLuhan refers to as a “global village” we are all interested in connecting with people who share our likes and values all across the planet. As I was watching the part of the documentary where Davis was saying Youtube was pretty much like an outlet for him to escape his disorder it also goes along with people who have utilized Youtube to vocalize their sexual identification. It’s been referred to as “The Coming Out Project” and it encourages whoever is ready to accept who they are to let the world know that and post a video on Youtube sharing that you’re gay, or bisexual or transsexual or whatever way you want to identify yourself-the Youtube community encourages it and there will be thousands of people all over the world that see the video and support these people (for the most part at least). Within the past ten years, I haven’t just been a witness to this extraordinary change in our digital culture; I can say that I have been a part of the change. And this change is only going to continue as more people are creating videos showing their talents, expressing their viewpoints that many others can agree with, creating music/remixes/dances/mashups of instruments and artists and performers that make something new and exciting for the world to see and share with each other. Youtube has grown and escalated at hyperspeed and it’s going to continue to do so. All I know is that in ten years Youtube may become the primary medium of media content and messages. But we’ll just have to wait and see.