Social Media is a rapidly developing online platform, defined by John Blossom as “any highly scalable and accessible communications technology or technique that enables any individual to influence groups of other individuals easily” (2009, pp.30). Having seen large gains in popularity and use by the general public in recent years, Social Media has quickly evolved to become a necessity in everyday life for many, as well as the focal point of many social groups, business organizations and celebrities as a result of its ability to reach out to thousands at a time. (Hinton & Hjorth 2013, pp. 2-3) In 2005, the video sharing website “YouTube” was first activated (Margolis, D. 2008), offering users the ability to share, watch, review and comment on both their own creative projects, as well as those of others. Distinct from Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as MySpace, YouTube is primarily focused on creators and curators, as opposed to social networks and communication.
Although not the first site of its kind (predated by shareyourworld.com and vimeo [TXINow, 2014]), YouTube stands as a hallmark to the online community, being among the first to allow video-sharing on such a large-scale, and largely influencing how the internet addresses creative projects of this nature, as well as intellectual property and copyright thereon (as was the case in Ray William Johnson VS Maker Studios [Gardner, E. 2013]), ultimately affecting how such sites are regarded in public communities. (Larmand, Z. N.D)
YouTube also offers noteworthy networking support, allowing users to freely share content they have enjoyed, or created, through a number of SNS, giving the content further exposure. This has additionally helped support the development and spreading of ‘viral videos’, videos which have reached a certain level of fame, or reputation, in the community.
On a more personal level, I have taken to YouTube for its wide range of content. From animated music videos (AMVs), to let’s players (LP’ers), scientific videos (SciNews, VSauce, DNews, etc.), and official music videos (VEVO) I have found that there is almost always content of interest that I can use as background noise to my day-to-day activities. These videos often serve to help me relax, learn, or in self-reflection/contemplation.
There are millions of users, both creators and curators, on YouTube, and through videos, people are able to ask for advice, form social communities (as seen in Markiplier’s communities), attain a certain level of self-employment (such as people like NorthernLion, Markiplier and Pewdiepie), as well as gain social recognition and fame. They are also able to have their work reviewed by their peers, and strangers, who are able to give advice on editing, software, computing and refer you to tutorial videos which serve as a step by step walkthrough for these matters.
Blossom, J., 2009, Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives, and Our Future, Wiley Publishing, Inc. pp30.
Gardner, E. 2013. Maker Studios Lawsuit: Inside the War for YouTube’s Top Studio. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/maker-studios-lawsuit-inside-war-650541. [Accessed 19 July 2015].
Hinton S, Hjorth, L 2013. Understanding Social Media. 1st ed. Los Angeles: SAGE. pp2-3.
Larmand, Z. N.D. The Viral Impact of YouTube on Culture & Business. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.arbitragemagazine.com/topics/culture/the-viral-impact-of-youtube-on-culture-business/?page=all. [Accessed 19 July 2015].
Margolis, D. 2008. Analyzing the Societal Effects of YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: http://certmag.com/analyzing-the-societal-effects-of-youtube/. [Accessed 19 July 2015].
TXINow. 2014. The History of Video Sharing. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.txinow.com/Layout/cache/filecache/250_Final%20The%20History%20of%20Video%20Sharing.pdf/Final%20The%20History%20of%20Video%20Sharing.pdf. [Accessed 17 July 2015].