The Significance of YouTube

The new movie, Speed Racer (2008) directed by the Wachowski Brothers, who directed The Matrix trilogy, is coming soon. Well, where will you go to see its trailer? Right, YouTube!

YouTube is one of the video sharing websites based on users' activities, such as uploading, viewing and sharing video clips. This website has opened for approximately three years; however, its results are incredibly success. "In January 2008, nearly 79 million viewers watched more than three billion user-posted videos on YouTube" (Yen 2008, para. 9). This essay will examine this website, focusing on its importance and effects.

Broadcast Yourself
YouTube is simply defined as sharing video clips website, but its contents-videos are not simply defined because of their variety of kinds. Movie trailer (official and fan made), music video (original and user created), fun video (home video and captured TV), promotion video (commercial and non-commercial), accidents (vehicle and autos), news, people, animals, sports, etc., the videos on YouTube are enormous amount of genre. Moreover, the linked videos that related to the video watched by user at the moment lead to user's interests to keep stay in YouTube. The users of YouTube absolutely realise that "Internet video is a powerful medium" (Fyfe 2008, para. 2). Even though all kind of videos are not able to see (because of censorship to protect users' emotion against some videos, such as very strong violence), YouTube has unlimited genre videos. Today, many of users use YouTube as a place of discussion. They show (not write) their opinion and also get the feedback through some people's videos titled "RE:". YouTube's motto, "Broadcast Yourself" could aim this phenomenon. For example, there are so many contents related to sex, but all contents that are written a word "sex" in their title, are not adult videos. Some of them show users' (in this case, 'creators' is correct.) opinions against sex contents. In addition, the creators, who have opposing opinions about sex contents, use half-naked woman photos as the video still on the profile of its video. Ironically, to express (and 'broadcast') against sex contents, the users of opposing opinions use traditional sex contents.

User-Created Content

YouTube has promoted the User-Created Contents that is "one of the main features of the participative web but the participative web is a wider concept and comprises various forms of media and creative works (written, audio, visual and combined) created by Internet and technology users" (OECD 2007, p. 17). The meaning of user on media field in the past was just receiver. However, they are not receiver now in terms of the User-Created Content with Web 2.0 that "aims to facilitate creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users" (Wikipedia 2008, para. 1).

A duo of college students, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, has uploaded their created contents, such as, writing, filming, acting and editing in their own skits and "music videos", by the nickname, Smosh. Their contents make them famous and their channel becomes as the most subscribed by over 336,000 subscribers, as of April 2008. The amount of Smosh's videos, 48, is about one hundred times less than 4,740 videos of Universal Music Group that one of the major music groups. However, Universal Music Group's channel is subscribed by about 269,000 subscribers (YouTube 2008). In this case, the number of these shows what users want to watch is not always big budget videos, and also everybody can be a creator who obtains big buzz.

Time's Person of the Year: You
Time, American weekly news magazine, announced, "Time's person of the year for 2006 is you". According to Time (2006, para. 9), 'you' have seized the reins of the global media, founded and framed the new digital democracy, worked for nothing and beaten the pros at their own game. Who are 'you'? "It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace". Thus, the 'you' is people who create all kinds of media contents that "wrest power from the few and help one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes" (Time 2006, para. 3). 'You' are not just received the news produced by media; 'you' are media as self production that created own news. Moreover, 'you' are not just watching movies acted by famous actors and actress; 'you' become a hero/heroine in your own movies.

YouTube is a website, composited of video contents that are uploaded, created and shared by users. YouTube's success has realised what contents have moved from passive media, such major newspaper companies and broadcasting stations, to active media, such as fun home videos and showing opinion of one self. Now, the term, 'major powerful media' also has been moved by its amount of 'subscription'.

Fyfe, Kristen 2008, 'YouTube's Great Influence - for Good and for Ill', American Family News Network, 10 April, viewed 23 April 2008, <>.

Grossman, Lev 2006, 'Time's Person of the Year: You', Time, 13 December, viewed 23 April 2008, <,9171,1569514,00.html>.

OECD 2007, Participative Web and User-Created Content - Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking, OECD Publications, Paris, viewed 23 April 2008, <>.

Yen, Y.W. 2008, 'YouTube Looks for the Money Clip', Cable News Network, 25 March, viewed 23 April 2008, <>.

YouTube 2008, Most Subscribed, YouTube, viewed 23 April 2008, <>.

Wikipedia 2008, Web 2.0, Wikipedia, viewed 23 April 2008, <>.


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