A video streaming website, YouTube, has gotten in the top three most visited websites globally, along with Facebook and Google. The “broadcast yourself” idea became incredibly popular and has taken over the world. There are years of video information stored in YouTube’s database and constantly retrieved from it by everyone who has Internet access. YouTube is not just a video storage website; it is a medium for information and a trendsetter in every area of human lives.
The central idea of YouTube was people broadcasting their own personalities to others. While it all was a novel concept once, right now, posting a video of oneself is regarded as a new social norm. This especially concerns young people who need to show off to get accepted by peers. A public video online serves as the proof of one’s capacities, extraordinariness, and often of the mere existence.
Every minute, the total running time of all video materials uploaded is about 300 hours. Those videos have different purposes which vary from education to entertainment, promotion of ideas to mere trolling. YouTube plays a role of a public forum where, based on the number of views, likes, and subscriptions, new celebrities emerge and new ideas are popularized. Below are some examples of media stars who emerged thanks to YouTube.
There is a story of Brooke Brodack, a comedian who got her 18-months contract with Carson Daly of NBC because her talent was noticed via her YouTube channel where 45 million people were watching her uploads. There is also the (in)famous Justin Bieber who gained his popularity after his mother posted a video of his performance on YouTube in 2010. Or take Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen’s pet whose earnings topped the yearly income of some Hollywood stars. These are just few examples of how social media like YouTube can turn somebody into a celebrity after he or she gets noticed by the right people (or millions of fans).
The existing stars benefit from the media too. Performing artists choose to publish their singles on their channels or upload concert videos, in order to tease their fans into buying records or tickets to their gigs. Besides, everyone can now record a video of an event with a smartphone and upload it online. As a consequence, music publishers and recording companies have become not as important as YouTube ratings.
Apart from a star-making factory, YouTube has another purpose: promotion of ideas and knowledge. There has been a rise of educational channels and those which bring science to the masses. Vsauce, a popular YouTube channel known for exploring scientific issues and explaining them in a simple language, has over 9 million of subscribers. Each of the channel’s videos is watched several millions of times. Thanks to channels like this, more young people these days are keeping up with the current scientific ideas, research, and discoveries.
YouTube is also used by politicians to spread their messages and win the electorate. Debates, promo speeches, and other campaign-related occasions are immediately uploaded on YouTube. Comments to the videos serve as the chance to communicate with politicians and their representatives. This has a reverse side too, as the audiences use YouTube to show their irony towards politicians. Thus, a video mix of the smallest mistake made by a public person on camera can spread like wildfire and harm the reputation in minutes.
YouTube has changed the way people receive visual information by becoming a substitute to television for many. It is mainly free (there are paid channels too) and it is always available. There is little advertising, and one can skip the ad with one click. However, just like many people have shifted to Internet-based visual media to avoid irritating ads, a lot of people have also been watching ads on YouTube. The new media has shifted people’s attention from brands to shared ideas.
YouTube has become over its time of existence a powerful tool for promoting ideas, messages, and images, creating memes and setting new trends. However, just as YouTube can turn one into a celebrity and bring immediate success, it can also ruin one’s career in a very short time. This is a part of the cost people pay for a possibility to shoot off instantly and be on the tongues of men.
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