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Well I'm sure we've all heard of it, and most of us have probably visited it, but how much do we actually know about the you tube video sharing phenomenon?
You tube was founded in 2005 by three guys formerly employed by Paypal. Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, came up with the idea to create the video sharing website which was developed in San Mateo California above a Japanese restuarant and pizzeria.
Launched officially in November 2005 the website has grown to become a huge part of worldwide internet culture, allowing internet users to upload, share and view videoclips. You don't even have to be registered to view the videclips.
The business started out as what is known as angel funded technology - heard of dragon's den? well the wealth of business men and women basically provides the basis for capital investment in new business start ups in return for a share in the business, these kinds of investors are known as Angel investors, and this is how you tube got it's big break along with securing additional investments from venture capitalists totalling 11.5 million US dollars between it's official launch in November 2005 and April 2006.
The success of You tube became apparent when Google Inc acquired the site for a whopping 1.65billion US dollars in October 2006.
HOW ACCESSIBLE IS IT?
You tube can be accessed by virtually anyone connected to the internet, although it has been blocked in some countries such as Morocco, China, Milan and Thailand. It can also be accessed via mobile telephones leadng to the launch of You Tube mobile in June 2007, athough it is not possible to view all of the videos contained on You Tube through it's mobile site.
You Tube video's can also be viewed outwith the site through a feature known as embedding. I have personally been able to participate in embedding - this is where video's can be embedded or transferred onto a page outside the website, which is popular on social networking sites such as Bebo and so on.
You Tube is very easy to navigate, with 4 main tabs to choose from including HOME, VIDEO, CHANNELS and COMMUNITY. The home page takes you to.....well, the home page.
The home page shows featured video's, promoted video's and video's currently being used, it let's the user know what's new with the site and provides the user with options to sign up, however as previously stated, you do not have to be a member of the site to view video content.
When you click on the video link you are immediately transferred to a list of video's where you can choose from Most popular, most viewed, HD and also have a drop down menu with more options including; featured, rising videos, most discussed, recent videos, Most responded, top favourited and top rated. You can search these options over different time scales; Today, this week, this month or all time. You can also select from a number of video categories including; cars and vehicles, comedy, education, entertainment, film and animation, gaming, howto and style, music, news and politics, people and blogs, pets and animals, science and technology, sport and Travel and events. As you can see, there's a wide variety to choose from and it's all right in front of you easily accessible at the click of a button.
You Tube users are able to make their channel (profile page) more distinctive by joining channel groups. There are 8 channels to choose from
Now this is where it gets a bit confusing for non-members as there is no information contained on the channels page that allows users to identify what it is for. Basically it is a centralised location where user's can view their personal information via their channel (profile page). Other users can view your profile and access your information such as stats, age, length of time you've been a member and so on, they can even see how many video's you've viewed. User's can add you as a friend, leave you messages, comments and share channels. So in short a channel is basically your personal profile page.
"'Community"' The community link takes you to youtube's community forum where youtube staff post blogs, announce new events, interesting youtube applications and contests. The official blog allows users to find out about any new site developments. There is also a community help forum that allows you to ask your own youtube related questions, search and browse for answers, and you can also help out other users by posting answers to questions that have been asked.
WHAT ARE THE RULES
There are a strict set of you tube rules that each individual member is expected to adhere to. Video content that is uploaded has certain restrictions and is not allowed to contain; pornography or sexually explicit content, full frontal nudity, graphic violence, disturbing or disgusting footage, or any hate speech such as verbal attacks against; race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality and so on. You tube relies on it's community members to make the staff aware of any video's that contain restricted content through the process of flagging. User's can flag video's which are then viewed by you tube's review team who will determine whether or not the video contains inappropriate content and will either remove the video or approve the video.
Users are also prohibited from uploading copyrighted material. Every time a user uploades a video the following message pops up;
"Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts or commercials without permission unless they consist entirely of content you created yourself. The Copyright Tips page and the Community Guidelines can help you determine whether your video infringes someone else's copyright."
Even though user's are met with the above notice when uploading video's you can view many unauthorised clips on youtube. Video's are not viewed by youtube staff when they are uploaded and instead staff rely on user's to abide by the rules and make them aware of any policy infringment. Because of this youtube leaves itself open to copyright infringement and the threat of legal action from the copyright owner. Not the most effective way to monitor youtube material.
You tube is a great site for anyone who is interested in video's and can provide hours of endless entertainment. It's easy to use, it's free and it forms part of the social networking community. It also allows users to get their own personal material out for the general public to view and comment on. You can make friends (or enemies) and can have a lot of fun using this site. overall a great concept - hats off to the creators. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to access this site then take a few minutes and go and have a look. :)