Yvonne’s Weblog

The Wonder of Youtube


 Ok, so it’s a video of a guy at the zoo, which is pretty odd.  But this video is in fact the first video ever uploaded onto youtube, the guy at the zoo is one of the creators of the video sharing site, Jawed Karim.  Along with Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, Karim started the site in 2004, intending it as ‘a useful tool for people to share their travel videos’ (Time.com).  Instead the site was inundated with people adding videos of literally anything, from drunken chatter into their webcam to funny videos of their pets.  What was intended as a small video sharing site was bought from Karim, Chen and Hurley by Google for 1.65 billion dollars.  According to Time.com, ” YouTube now airs 100 million videos—and its users add 70,000 more—every day.”

 Youtube’s appeal is that, although it was started by Karim, Chen and Hurley, it is run by its users.  There are rules outlined on the site in its community guidelines page, but the overall message is:

“Remember that this is your community! Each and every user of YouTube makes the site what it is, so don’t be afraid to dig in and get involved!” http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines”>www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines)

Youtube hereby waives responsibility for content of videos posted on the site, a view it reiterates in its ‘terms of use’ page:

“You further understand and acknowledge that you may be exposed to User Submissions that are inaccurate, offensive, indecent, or objectionable, and you agree to waive, and hereby do waive, any legal or equitable rights or remedies you have or may have against YouTube with respect thereto” (www.youtube.com/t/terms)

Essentially, this site is policed by its users.  There is the option to report videos which break the rules of the site, but youtube leaves it up to its users to weed these videos out.  Time.com names youtube as it’s ‘Invention of the Year for 2006’, and points out that although it is owned by Google, it is in fact created by its audience, the people who contribute videos, add user comments and are left to report wrongdoers. 

Youtube has come under criticism in mass media for this way of running the site- for instance the phenomenon of ‘happy slapping’ became highly popular amongst teenagers partially because it was freely available to view and therefore grow on youtube.  There have also been concerns that copyrights are being infringed as clips of television programmes, films and music videos are uploaded onto the site, something which youtube has recently had a crackdown on, banning such material from being posted on the site.  However, even though it is banned, they still rely on the users to report these posts.

The site has also caused political frenzies, such as when Virginia Senator George Allen was famously videoed by Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth, who was working for his opposition, when he racially abused Sidarth, calling him ‘Macaca’.  The video was posted on youtube (see below) and Allen lost the campaign for senate because of it.

Youtube has developed since it was created by Karim, Chen and Hurley into a household name, simply because it allows the audience to become the creator.  It allows people their own arena to express their feelings and thoughts, as well as sharing videos of their trips to the zoo.  In the age of the blog, youtube is the video equivalent, everyone is given their little piece of internet fame.  “The way blogs made regular folks into journalists, YouTube makes them into celebrities” (www.time.com)

Sources used:

http://www.youtube.com (accessed 6.1.08)

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/10/google-unveils-.html (accessed 7.1.08)

http://www.time.com/time/2006/techguide/bestinventions/inventions/youtube2.html (accessed 7.1.08)

http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/08/08/profile-youtube/ (accessed 7.1.08)

Time Magazine, December 25 2006- January 1 2007 issue. Time Person Of The Year. You.


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  1. * melkennedy says:

    I think YouTube is brilliant, I am one of those poeple who start on one page and an hour later am still watching things, each only teniously linked to the one before by looking at the similar suggestions page! It’s great as you can find anything on YouTube, clips from films and programmes to people’s random videos of themselves. It is a great way for people to publise themselves in a way that they may not have otherwise, for example, one of my friends is an aspiring film maker and has started posting his work on YouTube and through his a clip of his work has been shown on the BBC and he has got so much valuable feedback. But I do worry about the copyright issues involved with much of the content of the site, but in a way think the site wouldn’t be the valuable resourse it is at the moment if there was no copyrighted clips etc available and I guess a lot of people agree since rarely does things tend to be removed.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  2. * fran06 says:

    I do actually think youtube is a great way to promote, advocate and celebrate individual talent being creative seems to be the ultimate message. However the fact that people have already tried to abuse the site via happy slappy campaigns really angers me as it seems to stifle and downgrade the creativity that the page was originally invested for.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago

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