The Evolution of YouTube
Wow. Can you believe it? Arguably the very first YouTube sensation, Numa Numa, started out years ago. When that video first hit the web, I was looking forward to my senior year of high school. Now, I’m closing out my college years, and YouTube is such a fixture of our generation’s culture that I can’t imagine how different my college years would have been without it.
In my social media class last Thursday, we watched the Anthropological Introduction to YouTube to figure out the beginnings of YouTube. I’ve always known YouTube as a great source of procrastination when you’re putting off your homework and trying to do anything but what you’re supposed to be doing. What I didn’t know is how much of an influence on the world it’s been since it’s creation.
We’ve all heard of celebrities Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber who grew to fame from YouTube in the last couple of years, but what I was surprised to hear is that there was at least one other musician (I use that term loosely) who got his start from being an internet sensation back in 2007. I thought Soulja Boy was just a plague the record labels put on the music industry, but it turns out his Crank That Soulja Boy dance got so big online that he was signed after it had already become a hit. I know I’ve had my fun freshman year doing the Soulja Boy dance, but even then I had no idea the staying power he’d have.
My YouTube days started out with videos like Shoes and Charlie The Unicorn toward the end of my high school junior year, even sparking a YouTube video of my own which somehow I can no longer find (me + reenactment of the “Here It Goes Again” Ok Go video = hilarious wipe out). Throughout college My New Haircut, Charlie Bit Me, and Bed Intruder have given me more than a few laughs when hanging out with a few friends. But another thing I didn’t know that I found out from the video, however, is that the YouTube community is about more than a short video detailing what girls do on the internet.
As BNessel1973 can tell you, YouTube can give people hope. A chance to see how big the world is, how limitless your opportunities are, and how supportive a stranger can be. I never realized how therapeutic hooking up a web cam, filming yourself doing a goofy dance to a silly song, and uploading it onto the web could be for someone until I saw this video. It showed me a different side of a social media platform that I’ve never seen, and it presented to me an opportunity.
YouTube’s slogan is “Broadcast Yourself.” Now, I see the different levels of that theme. For us as individuals, it’s a chance to offer a laugh to someone who is having a bad day, or to vent about a bad day of our own. For businesses and brands, it’s a chance to put a face a name and add humanity. Telling the story of one of your employee’s, one of your regulars, or even a story of a business’ origins could give personality to your logo that you might not have been able to create ten years ago. Integrating videos like that with a brand’s Twitter, Facebook, or even Google+ will make it easier for consumer’s to find your brand, and thereby, your brand’s personality.
All in all, YouTube is such a strong social media platform for businesses and brands alike that I’m surprised I didn’t see the possibilities before. By the end of the video in class, I practically couldn’t wait to get online, start video blogging (vlogging), and “broadcast myself.”
It’s just too bad I don’t have a web cam . . .