Bringing the world to itself – what YouTube did

The internet has revolutionised business and communications for a new generation. We’ve seen the rise of the mega-giants. The Google, the Facebook. We’ve also seen the fall of the pioneers – the Yahoos and the My Spaces. It always takes guts to plunge your time, money and heart into a start up. Afterall, the stats say that only 10-40% succeed (http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2010/05/startup-company-failure-rates-are…

Infact YouTube could have been the same if it wasn’t for previous experience. The project was not the first project of its founders. They had failed before but they came back. They came at the right time – when the IT infrastructure was ready, when the internet users were ready to be able to create their own worlds. The previous YIRN project would prove crucial for YouTube creators as “YIRN was productive in the way that failures can be – it spawned quite a few bigger and better research projects in urban informatics, digital storytelling, youth creative enterprise and development communication” (Hartley p128)

It allowed YouTube to come in at the right time and the right knowledge and as Hartley mentions – timing was everything. But more importantly, there was the ability for people to change. Generation Y had grown up with technology and could be considered as ‘digital natives’. It has not been something taught at school (Hartley p130) but rather intrinsic knowledge – that enables innovation.

It also enables a wider pool of participants – not only from the ability to take the construction of media away from the select few in the broadcast industry to the whole but it also opens up those in traditionally disadvantaged locations – i.e. rural and remote areas (Hartley p127). It has enabled two way communication with near universal access for the first time.

The ability to self produce media on a worldwide scale raises issues of story telling ability, credibility and literacy on the topic discussed (Hartley p131). Despite these issues, the rate of productivity from a previously latent audience is significant. It also hasn’t seen the demise of traditional broadcast media – rather it has slotted in to the TV show/movie paradigm (Hartley p131). This helps ensure that everyone can have their voice – while those with credentials can bring it together and bring it to the masses. In its own way YouTube and other digital mediums have formed their own lobby group – one that is not limited by money, geographic location or traditional boundaries of storytelling. As such, people. stories and experiences can thrive in this new world.

Sam Tickell

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