YouTube is a popular website for video sharing.  It presents an open environment to anyone and everyone wanting to partake in the process.  This involvement can range from simply viewing videos to being a professional content creator.  Inappropriate videos require an 18+ account, to best make the environment safe for parents to allow their underage children to explore without concern about what they will find.  Any video that depicts illegal activity or anything deemed too inappropriate for the site, in general, is flagged and removed. 
This makes it a wonderful place for people from all over the world to come together to share about their culture and places, as well as learn about other cultures and places.  Churchill said that “we shape out homes and our homes shape us”.  Well, just as we shape the content that forms YouTube, the content on YouTube has the possibility to shape the culture of various regions, such as when a video goes viral. 
While there are features and options that can cost money, a majority of the site is completely free to use, making its access only economically limited by an individual’s access to internet.  Not only does it not cost money to use, but some people use it as a source of income.  By becoming a popular enough creator of content for the site, individuals get sponsored by products that they advertise to fund their continued creation.
The ‘Home’ page of YouTube shows recommendations of videos that the site’s algorithm thinks you would be interested in viewing.  This includes a mix of videos regularly and/or recently viewed by you, as well as similar videos that may be new.  It automatically lists all recommendations; however, you may sort through them by category.  The search bar on top may also be used to find a specific video.  You may create your own video, access the various YouTube apps, your notifications, and your profile in the top right-hand corner.  The menu along the left side allows for movement between the various pages offered on the site.  I will look deeper into the ‘Explore’,  ‘History’, ‘Your videos’, and ‘Learning’ pages.
The ‘Explore’ page is a great location to learn about what is the newest or most popular videos that day.  You can explore the overall top trending videos, or you can sort by the specific categories: music, movies & shows, live, gaming, news, sports, learning, and fashion & beauty.
                This page produces a specific environment of pop culture.  It keeps you up to date on the latest information that other people in your life are likely to be obtaining at the same time, nurturing a culture of connected communication.  However, this page’s support of already popular videos makes it even more difficult for other videos to gain the attention they need if they hope to end up on this page.  When an individual wants to make a career from YouTube, they need to acquire a certain number of followers before an organization will be willing to sponsor them.  It is as if they are set up to fail before they begin when the best promotion for gaining those desperately-needed followers requires you to already have the followers you’re looking to gain.
 
The ‘History’ page gives a deep look into each person as an individual by chronicling how they spend their time on the site.  By examining a user’s history, one can observe how a person truly enjoys spending their free time, or what they have recently been researching to broaden their knowledge, or the fluctuation of their mood for music, or a myriad of other things.  All free from the filter of how a person presents themselves to the world.  It is a wonderful tool in a sociological and psychological examination of the population of the world with internet access. Of course, the user can always edit this record of their life by using the tools on the right side of the page.  More simply, though, the ‘History’ page allows the user to quickly find a video they may want to re-watch.
The environment developed by this page is one of nostalgia.  Its entire purpose is to pull from the past.  Rather than encouraging the exploration of new experiences, the ‘History’ page provides the opportunity for a user to relive a moment they experienced on the site.  Whether it is re-watching a comedy video they found to be funny, or showing it to a friend, or listening to a song that makes them feel good, or re-watching that one cat video for the 17th time that day, the video spurned a moment that the user wants to reoccur.  And the ‘History’ page allows it to happen.
 
The ‘Your videos’ page brings you to the YouTube studio site.  This page has its own menu on along the left-hand side.  From this menu, you can view any content you have created for the site, as well as monitor your playlists, analytics, comments, and subtitles.  You can even obtain a copyright for your channel and sign up as a YouTube partner to earn money for posting your videos to achieve this, a content creator needs to amass 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 watch hours, pass a 2-step verification process, and hold 0 active Community Guidelines strikes. 
                Again, YouTube is a free site, which means that this page for monetizing a channel makes content creation a job opportunity for anyone and everyone, independent from race, ethnicity, economic background, intelligence, specialized training, etc.  So long as you can afford a camera, a computer, and internet, you can make money.  This creates what is possibly one of, if not the only, entrepreneurial environments capable of truly being void of discrimination.
The last page from the main menu that I want to focus on is the ‘Learning’ page, which presents playlists of informative videos on specific subjects.  This page exists solely to spread knowledge and provide a free, educational environment to anyone with a computer and internet.  It eliminates the paywall most education hides behind in the higher education system, which the military has, historically, covered for anyone willing to sacrifice their service.  It supplements the education provided in the primary and secondary education systems, such as understanding batteries and electrochemistry.  It promotes the curiosity in subject matters that may otherwise be ignored, such as the science of snow.  It subverts any and all sociocultural and systemic obstacles that would otherwise stand in the way of any individual from bettering themselves and developing their knowledge.
Finally, I want to display a channel’s page.  At the top of the page, we can see the channel’s name and how many subscribers it has.  We can also cycle through the page’s menu options.  There is the channel’s home page, a list of all the videos uploaded to the channel, a list of the channel’s playlists, a page for status updates, a list of related channels, the about page for the channel, and the ability to search for videos within the channel itself.  It then displays one of the channel’s videos (although, I admittedly have no idea what determine which video is displayed).  The rest of the page is various playlists comprised of the channel’s videos.
                I wanted to bring attention to this channel because I feel it combines all the aspects previously discussed for the pages from the main menu.  It presents videos from the channel that you can sort through by playlist, just like the main ‘Home’ page.  Regularly, the playlists include categories like “Popular Uploads” and “Uploads”, which lists all videos of the channel in reverse chronological order.  These are like the ‘Explore’ page, as it allows you to explore the newest and most popular videos of that specific channel.  Instead of this feature pushing down other channels, though, it is now the channel pushing down its own videos by directing attention away from older, not-as-popular videos, building an environment of pop culture within the isolated culture of the channel itself.  The “Uploads” playlist is also similar to the ‘History’ page.  A viewer can move through the history of the channel’s uploads to observe the evolution and growth of the channel over time, as well as garner a sociological and psychological profile of the content creators’ themselves.  This channel’s page is designed using the YouTube studio under the ‘Your videos’ page.  Being that the channel has their own logo and 1.2 million subscribers, it is safe to assume that they also utilize the copyright and monetization features of the YouTube studio.  This channel also happens to be an educational channel, just like the ‘Learning’ page. 
All of these come together to create a single environment that simultaneously embodies pop culture, nostalgia, entrepreneurship, and equitable education.  It does this through methods that enable, and even support, fame-like success for anyone, even a public school teacher, that wants to share their culture and knowledge with the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

css.php
Skip to toolbar