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YouTube, YouTube, YouTube... Where to start? This website was an internet revolution in it's own right when it was launched by three former PayPal employees in February 2005. However, it soared to new heights in November 2006 when it was purchased by Google, and thus had the added bonus of the Google budget, which is enormous (being possibly the highest earning site on the internet), to drive it forward. Just a quick background for those that don't know (unless you have been living under a rock then you probably will but...), YouTube is an online video sharing site upon which anyone can upload videos and those with an account, which is free to set up, can upload as many videos as they like and also create personal pages .
There is also a lot of homemade content on the site, such as comedy songs and shows as well as music videos. In fact, quite a few people have become famous from YouTube, leading to the creation of the, highly original, term 'YouTube celebrity' (which is basically a person who has lots of fame, but has made no money from it and is usually more mocked than admired).
I am going to do this review in terms of 'the good, the bad and the ugly':
YouTube has a lot of content and practically every video you could ever want to watch (as well as many you'd never want to watch) is on there, it also has a lot of music videos, and, as long as you know a song's name, you will probably be able to find it on there, with the added bonus of those with accounts being able to create 'playlists', which allow you to play as many videos as you like in a row, or in a random order, without having to search for the next on, meaning YouTube can be a great replacement for a CD when you are working and need some music to keep you going (or if you're bored).
Another good point about YouTube is comedy, if you are down, and looking for a laugh, turn to YouTube; members have uploaded clips from many comedy shows which we know only too well. But also there is lesser known, and strangely enough sometimes more known, user created content, some of which is very good and YouTube has many house names for comedy.
Then there are the TV shows. It has become increasingly possible to see TV shows
Pictures of YouTube
Downloading from youtube.
you missed on the internet, with many popular television stations offering 'I-players' allowing you to catch up on content that you missed. And then there are other sites that just seem to have the content but no indication of where they got it from. The problem with all of these sites is that the TV shows are in one big video of about an hour long, meaning you either have to wait ages for it to download or for it do to something called 'buffering' (whatever that is), if you are streaming it. This means you have to try and watch it and enduring it freezing every 10 seconds while it buffers, or go and do something for an hour so it can do it all at once, by which point you have probably decided you didn't watch to catch up on the show that much anyway. This is where YouTube is different, the TV shows that are on there are in bite size, 10 minute chunks, meaning you don't have to wait for buffering, or if you do it doesn't take too long, and when you have watched one section, you can just move onto the next one.Furthermore, YouTube has featured videos on the front page, as well as 'recommended for you' videos, if you have an account, which is kind of creepy considering that it means that the website is looking at what you look at and then working out what it thinks you might like. Then there are related videos and more from this user features when you are watching a video. All of this means that you may find something cool or funny that you weren't even looking for and you may even end up becoming a fan of something you have never even heard of before. And because it is possible to download from YouTube, although it does require the use of a third party site, it is possible to use YouTube as a means of video transfer from one PC to another, or just as a means of getting hold of music very easily without the use of dangerous file sharing sites.
Also, you can favorite videos and subscribe to users whose videos you like, effectively customizing your own little corner of YouTube. I debated putting this in the good section, and will probably mention it again in the bad, but YouTube has some form of a community, and it is possible for members to message each other, and leave comments on each other's profiles.
It is possible for some 'YouTube celebrities' to make a bit of money. If their videos become popular enough, they can become YouTube partners, I'm not sure the ins and outs of this, but it amounts to YouTube paying you money. Also, some YouTube celebrities may gain television appearances.
Oh how the mighty have fallen, YouTube, once a glorious site in it's prime, is going downhill. I believe this is happening for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are copyright laws; YouTube has long been criticized for breaking copyright, but unfortunately that was one of the things that made it so good. A company called Viacom sued YouTube for around a billion dollars for copyright violation, since then, YouTube has been a bit trigger happy with copyright laws, now when looking for your favorite YouTube videos, it is all too common to find a desolate, empty void in cyberspace marked by the words; 'video removed due to copyright violation'. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff that is removed isn't even copyrighted because it's so easy to trick YouTube into removing videos that you don't like, here's a step by step guide; Step 1: pretend you're a big company. Step 2: get an E-mail address that looks like it's owned by that company. Step 3: send an official looking E-mail to YouTube claiming that you have copyright to something that appears in a video and thus want it removed. Result: YouTube shits bricks and removes the video. One of the biggest losses to youtube was family guy, the front page used to be filled with featured family guy clips, and they drew in thousands of viewers, but no more, copyright saw to that.
Then there's the imitators leeching away at the YouTube users, most prominently Google video, which has all of YouTube's content, and more, due to it's ability to show videos from other video sharing sites, something of an unfair advantage in the battle for content if you ask me. Moreover, being linked to Google, Google video has the unfair advantage of being made immune to filter systems, such as those in schools, colleges and workplaces, due to the importance of it's 'mother-site' (yes I made that word up) to surfing the internet.
Then there are those who seek to use YouTube as a means of free advertisement, or to push a political or religious agenda. Rather than just post something that is funny, or just a bit of harmless fun, you often find videos claiming that you can make money to go to X site, or that everything is a conspiracy theory or that god doesn't want you to do X or that if you take drugs you will turn into a giant yellow pig. Furthermore, as promised, there is once again the inter member messaging system and the ability to leave comments on each other's profiles, combine this with a lot of YouTube members being intolerant morons, and that's a lot of hate mail to deal with.
There are positively thousands of people who have tried to join the ranks of the YouTube celebrity, and many of them have succeeded, but some of them for all the wrong reasons, ending up humiliating themselves online and leaving themselves as social outcasts and open to humiliating laughter as someone says 'hey, aren't you the guy that posted yourself doing that stupid dance on YouTube?' I feel it is only right that I give you some examples now:
The star wars kid: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HPPj6viIBmU
Numa Numa: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o&feature=related
What's truly sad about these videos is that the people doing them genuinely believe they look cool but, well, they don't.
And of course, who could forget the comment on a video feature; it is when you read these comments that it opens your eyes to what a complete bunch of illiterate morons YouTube users really are. There are those that will be watching a music video, then, for a reason only known to them, will try to write down some of the lyrics and post them as a comment, but ultimately they will be a tone death idiot, write them down wrong, and just look stupid. Or there are those who will actively seek out music or videos about subjects they don't like, just to have a go at the people who are watching them for liking them. Or the ones who will try to start an argument about a controversial subject, such as religion, on a loosely related video, but are unable to string a legible sentence together.
A once proud website that is fast becoming a has-been. YouTube was a good Idea that is being destroyed by copyright laws and competitors, as well sabotage from the inside from it's mostly 'I.Q lower than David Beckham' community. In fact, many of YouTube's original users now say that YouTube, as they knew it, is dead. 3/5