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Youtube.com is a video-sharing website that allows users to upload media onto the internet for unregistered viewers to see. It’s easy, quick, efficient, and best of all, free. It is not limited to professional filmmakers, making it possible for almost anyone to share their video content. Created in 2005 and owned by Google, Youtube has taken off, and became one of the most popular forms of media today, almost becoming a substitute for a television. The website has had a huge social impact on society. It has become an outlet for people to get discovered for their talents via its partner program in which a user is paid by Youtube to produce video uploads. Many artists, like Justin Bieber, got their starts on Youtube. It is often the source for a hit video that becomes the current fad of the time, such as the “Friday” music video by Rebecca Black. Youtube is the home to beauty gurus, how-to videos, and promotional videos. A lot of big companies also have a Youtube channel to promote themselves.
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Screenshot of BMW Youtube channel taken by me.
There isn’t anything out on the web that is quite like Youtube. Though some sites may feature video sharing, many of them, like Hulu.com for example, offers television content, but it is limited and may require payment. Vimeo.com is another site that is similar to Youtube, but it is targeted more toward professional filmmakers. You won’t find a video of a lady dancing on butter there.
Although Youtube offers a plethora of useful, an often highly entertaining information, there is definitely controversy over inappropriate content and users’ comments. Because Youtube is such a huge site, it is almost impossible to regulate all of the videos that are uploaded, relying only on other viewers to flag offensive content, such as pornography, violence or any copywrite issues. But is it safe for everyone? Even children? Luckily, Youtube also requires users to verify they are of age 18 before viewing specific content that could be deemed inappropriate for kids, but there are more problems than that. Cyber bullying and spam are also issues in the comments section of videos on Youtube. With a registered account, any Youtube user can write a message, good or bad, on a video they view. In efforts to better moderate this problem, Youtube now requires a Google+ account to leave a comment. That way, you are held more accountable for your actions and it is easier to block you from the site.
Some argue that Youtube does not do enough to monitor the information flowing on the site but Youtube believes they are doing the most effective means to police the site. There are “rules” that a Youtube user must agree to follow in order to interact on the site, but could probably easily get away with breaking them unless flagged by another user. Whether you agree with how Youtube handles its gatekeepers on its media or not, it is clear that it has become a major player in the world of media today. With the click of a mouse, virtually any clip of video that has ever been created could end up on Youtube, and you might just become an internet sensation.
Click here to read an article about the Pros and Cons of YouTube.