YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing platform and the second most visited website worldwide(Bärtl, 2018). It has created the platform for people to share videos as user generated content to interact with others and create the sense of community.
By far, it has diverse range of genres and categories such as movies, tv shows, lifestyle or How to (DIY videos), educational videos , news and politics video , people and blogs (vlogs) , travel video and so on(Snickars & Vonderau, 2009, pp. 9-11).
The first section of the essay will give the overview of the background of YouTube and the Vlogging as the most popular content , the business model and the socio ecology of YouTube will be explained in the second and third section.
And lastly, the fourth section will analyze the main argument of the essay on vlogging has transformed the way of entrepreneurship , policy for YouTube algorithms and monetization and creating content and sense of community.
What is YouTube?
YouTube is the leading video sharing website which has millions of users uploading videos and sharing with others. It was started as the dating website by three pay pales employees in February 2005(Bärtl, 2018).The clip named “ Me at the Zoo” was first ever video uploaded on this platform featuring the third co-founder in April 2005 (Snickars & Vonderau, 2009, pp. 9-11).
And in 2006, google bought YouTube with $1.65 billion when the user-generated content website such as Facebook and Wikipedia become popular (Arthurs, Drakopoulous & Gandini, 2018).
Time magazine put the cover of announcing “you” as the person of the year which reflect on the YouTube style of using the interface to communicate(ibid., pp. 3-4). YouTube hit one billion daily video views in 2009 and in 2012, the video named “Gangnam style by PSY“ has reached one billion views(ibid.).
Today, YouTube has accomplished more than 800 million of the unique visitors each month, 72 hours plus videos uploaded per minute, more than one million partner program members, become the second search engine worldwide and have four billion of videos viewed each month (Bärtl, 2018, pp. 18).
Thus, YouTube transform the way people share their videos and it became the platforms for expressing self and communicating with others.
Background of YouTube’s most popular content: vlogging
As YouTube has constantly changing and has gained billion of views, it started to focus on the diversity of content which represent different interests of people such as DIY channels, talk shows, vlog channels and so on.
Among those content, Vlogging or video blogs become one of the most demand and popular type of video on this platform(Arthurs, Drakopoulous & Gandini, 2018).
One of the earliest vlog was uploaded by a guy called Adam Kontras in 2000. He uploaded the video of him smuggling dogs into the hotel on his website(Mediakix Team, 2016). In 2005, YouTube has launched their free, searchable video platform , it has created the fundamental step for the vlogging (Ashman, Patterson & Brown, 2018).
“LonelyGirl15” has made the changes to the vlogging on the YouTube and the internet as whole(Cresi , 2016). She uploaded vlogs of her daily activities and personal life(ibid.) . She became one of the young site’s most popular stars when the community of vloggers was slowly growing(ibid.).
Therefore, vlogs have changes the way people use express their passions, and it has helped users to develop deeper personal connection on the social media platform like YouTube.
YouTube’s business model
YouTube is owned by Google and it allows users to upload videos on their channels, comment and subscribe other channels and make money from monetizing videos(Bärtl, 2018, pp. 18- 22).Videos are also free to watch for everyone(ibid.).
Apart from this video producing, it has games and music specializing platforms(Dutta, 2017). YouTube also become the commercializing space where user-generated content are tied to the monetization and the popularity of videos depend on algorithms grades(Arthurs, Drakopoulous & Gandini, 2018, pp. 7-8).
Since this platform is mostly based on the advertising, it also focus on the preferences of advertising companies and brand related content that would increase partnership with big brands(ibid.). Furthermore, Micro-celebrities are the increasing form in the business model through self-branding, promoting themselves and expressing or extending their careers through YouTube(Snickars & Vonderau, 2009, pp. 372).
It is evident that YouTube has become transformative platform for people to communicate and interact with others. The term produsers has developed to blur the line between producers and consumers(Duffy & Wissinger, 2017) .
It include ordinary citizens recording themselves and creating the content from their bedrooms starting to reframe the socio-economy of YouTube and become entrepreneurs (Bärtl, 2018, pp. 18- 22) . As YouTube brand itself as “Broadcast yourself” ,it becomes important platform for the participatory culture and increasing of creative consumers(ibid.).
YouTube is the most important example of changing media environment where their practices and production are associated with “cultural production and consumption, commercial and non-commercial enterprise and professionalism and amateurism interact” (Ashman, Patterson & Brown, 2018, pp. 481).
YouTube’s social ecology
As YouTube become popular , it also become the space for 400 hours of content, 76 different languages created not only by users but also by companies and big brands (Dutta , 2017). It has increase the number of micro-celebrities who promote themselves and earn through YouTube.
Their main product is users and they use the advertising based strategy to feature advertising on their platforms to have benefits for both companies and themselves (Dutta, 2017) .
It gives the space for advertising such as sponsored ,embedded advertisement and landing page advertisements(ibid.) .YouTube also have the paid content that big companies partnered with top creators to create the content that users have to pay for the subscription or purchase fees to get the access(ibid.).
There are also the product links that show up on the YouTube, those products companies also have to pay the commission to YouTube if users buy their products(ibid.). YouTube supplies are produced by users and creators which are commercialized into the product and income for youtubers and the platform itself.
It also promote their services that facilitate users’ experience and quality of the platform such as
YouTube Red or YouTube premium
YouTube has announced the paid new version in 2015 called YouTube Red (Dutta, 2017). It include the paid subscriptions, ad-free videos, music and the offline downloads (ibid.).
Google renamed it into YouTube premium and includes YouTube music , YouTube originals , which is similar to Amazon prime and Netflix(ibid.).
It is the TV streaming services and putting addition networks including TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon network, Trutv and Turner classic movies(Dutta, 2017). I
t add to the monthly packages and get users access to famous movies and shows (ibid.). It also partnered with Universal, Sony pictures and Warner Bros and others to offer the full length movies(ibid.).
It is an app for the android phones where users can download it and watch videos on go. Google has announced YouTube go at the Google event in Delhi which launch more products target on the Indian market(ibid.).
It is a streaming service which include the different catalogues of genres. The platform has launched the YouTube Music in 2015.
It announced new version of this in 2017 which include the recommended music according to the locations and it also have the category of “hot list’ and “new releases”(ibid.). It also extended to many different countries which has the existing rivals of Apple music, Spotify .
YouTube is the online platform for uploading the diverse range of content such as entertainment, educational , music and vlogs. Moreover, it also extended their business with paid packages that feature many different movies and music.
This has get to the interest of its other popular video producing competitors which also have the platform to produce videos such as Vimeo, Twitch , Flickr ,Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Facebook videos.
YouTube’s social ecology map
Vlogging : one of the transformative content on YouTube
Since YouTube itself become the transformative platforms, there is the popular content that transform the way people participate in this platform.
It is called Vlogging or video blogging which is the crucial part for creators and YouTube sense of community (Raun, 2014). It has started with the webcam and people vlogging about their daily activities( Mediakix Team, 2016).
Since vlogs become one of the most viewed and engaged form of content , creators have realized that they can make money out of their videos and it has increase entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to upload daily vlogs(Ashman, Patterson & Brown, 2018, pp. 475-478).
Thus, entrepreneurs like Youtubers rely on views, likes and numbers of subscribers that exchange into the currency.
Moreover, they also gained income through advertising, sponsorship and self-branding.
They are monetized to the channels and content of the vloggers to promote brand and advertising companies (Alvarez , 2017). Developing the personal brand on YouTube is the growing trends and many vloggers transform their self-representation into the profitable personal branding(Maguire , 2015).
These have resulted in the consumer empowerment on YouTube and it has transform amateur vloggers into microcelebrities(ibid.).
Policy for algorithm and monetization
Another transformative factor is changes in YouTube policy on algorithm and monetizing, YouTube algorithm is “ the recommendation system” that give suggestion on users content that reach more audience as viral or trending(Wolf, 2016).
YouTube algorithms prioritize on channels that have high frequency uploads and for vloggers who make money through this platform (Bishop , 2018).
Advertisement and merchandise relating to the YouTube, it creates the pressure to upload daily to maintain the position as top creators(Bishop, 2018).
For example, vloggers like Paul brothers who frequently post vlogs have been promoted throughout YouTube platform(ibid.).
Monetization is defined “as managing content on YouTube depend on advertisement and subscriptions “(Wolf, 2016).
Due to the result of the vlog by famous vlogger, Logan Paul, posting about suicide forests , it has created the impact on amateur vloggers and monetization on YouTube(Alexandar 2018).
By this controversy, YouTube has released the new tight rule and raising the requirements for monetizing videos(ibid.) .
As some publication like Polygon has stated that it is required and inevitable. For creators to make money , they have to establish 4000 hours of watching time in past 12 months and have at least 1 thousand subscribers(ibid.).
However, this have negative impact on the small vloggers who are starting their channels or taking a break for mental issues(Levin, 2018).
Content creating and sense of community
Most of the social media content constituted the interactive audience and authenticity , intimate content and appeal to the community.
Vlogging on YouTube also transform the way users create the content and forming the sense of community. Microcelebrities like vloggers are expected to perform certain form of labor that show accessibility, connectedness, availability and intimacy(Cunnigham & Craig, 2017).
Vloggers usually look at the camera and gives impression of communicating directly as “you” and “you guys”(Tarnovskaya , 2017). Most of these activities are occurred at home which gives the authenticity and intimacy that attract the young audience(Raun, 2018) .
Vloggers create content that usually talk about their personal life such as love life, mental issues , family and emotional problems that would act as therapy for both creators and the audience (Raun, 2018).
Another emotional and physical exposure vlogs that attract to particular kind of community is transgender vlogs (Raun, 2014).
These vloggers make updates where they list their changes about their bodies(ibid.).
Transgender vlogger, Julie Van Vu is an example of microcelebrities who upload vlogs that shows her transitions and engaging with other trans people around the world(ibid.).
These authenticity and intimacy also create through establishing the interactive community to the audience and creators(ibid.).
Creator’s authenticity has gained through their ability to stand up for the community and discussing on the personal or social issues that is relatable for large amount of people (Cunnigham & Craig, 2017).
Vlogs emerge the documentation of one’s private self to public consumption and give glimpse to the ordinary lives of famous vloggers (Berryman & Kavka , 2017) .
Therefore, micro-celebrities are expected to maintain the authenticity and transparency in their vlogs to foster the sense of community.
In conclusion, YouTube become the transformative platform for the way users interact with others and it has expended into different kind of digital media which contribute in the diversity for Media Landscape.
Vlogging is also the important part of YouTube transformation on the level of transforming the way of careers, policy for monitoring videos and creating content that would foster the intimacy and transparency in the sense of community.
Thus, YouTube as a whole create the strong sense of membership and transformed the numerous lives of people to make money out of their content and impact on people around the world.
Alvarez, E (2017, July 25). YouTube stars are blurring the lines between content and ads. Retrieved from https://www.engadget.com
Alexander, J. (2018, January 17). Youtube’s lesser-known creators worry for the future after major monetizatin changes (update). Polygon.Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/17/16900474/youtube-monetization-small-creators-adsense
Alexandar, J (2018, January 18). YouTube’s new monetization rules are controversial, painful and necessary. Polygon.Retrieved from https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/18/16906036/youtube-monetization-small-creators-top-creators-changes
Arthurs, J., Drakopoulou, S., & Gandini, A. (2018). Researching YouTube. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.24(1). doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1354856517737222
Ashman, R., Patterson, A., & Brown, S. (2018). ‘Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe’ : Digital autopreneurs in a neoliberal world. Journal of Business Research.92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.07.055
Bärtl, M. ( 2018) . YouTube channels, uploads and views: A statistical analysis of the past 10 years. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.24 (1). doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1354856517736979
Berryman, R., & Kavka, M. (2017). ‘I Guess A Lot of People See Me as a Big Sister or a Friend’: the role of intimacy in the celebrification of beauty vloggers. Journal of Gender Studies.26(3). doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.
Bishop, S. (2018, February 7). Why it’s harder than ever to make money on YouTube. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/why-its-harder-than-ever-to-make-money-on-youtube-90715
Bishop, S. ( 2018). Anxiety, panic and self-optimization: Inequalities and the YouTube algorithm. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.24(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517736978
Cresi, E. (2016, June 16). Lonelygirl15: how one mysterious vlogger changed the internet.The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/16/lonelygirl15-bree-video-blog-youtube
Cunnigham, S., & Craig, D. ( 2017). Being ‘really real’ on YouTube : authenticity, community and brand culture in social media entertainment. Media International Australia. 164(1). doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1329878X17709098
Duffy, B. E., & Wissinger, E. (2017). Mythologies of Creative Work in the Social Media Age: Fun, Free, and “Just Being Me”. International Juournal of Communication. (11), 4652-4671. Retrieved from https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/7322/2185
Dutta, A. (2017, November 21). YouTube Business Model | How does YouTube make money?[ Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.feedough.com/youtube-business-model-how-does-youtube-make-money/
Levin, S. (2018, January 18). YouTube’s small creators pay price of policy changes after Logan Paul scandal. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/18/youtube-creators-vloggers-ads-logan-paul
Maguire, E. (2015). Self-Branding, Hotness and Girlhood in the video blogs of Jenna Marbles. Biography.38(1), 72-86. Retrieved fromhttps://muse-jhu-edu.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/article/585950
Mediakix Team ( 2016, December 1). What is Vlogging? : Definiton, History, & Impact on Media. Retrieved from http://mediakix.com/2016/12/what-is-vlogging-definition-examples-history/#gs.10Dkcz4
Raun, T. (2014). Video blogging as a vehicle of transformation : Exploring the intersection between trans identity and information technology. International Journal of Cultural Studies.18(3). doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1367877913513696
Raun, T. (2018). Capitalizing intimacy: New subcultural forms of micro-celebrity strategies and affective labour on YouTube. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.24(1). doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1354856517736983
Snickars, P., & Vonderau, P. (2009). The YoTtube Reader.Stockholm, Sweden: Logotipas.
Tarnovskaya, R. (2017). Reinventing Personal Branding Building a Personal Brand through Content on YouTube. Journal of International Business Research and Marketing. 3(1). Retrieved from 4https://researchleap.com/reinventing-personal-branding-building-personal-brand-content-youtube/
Wolf, B. (2016, September 17). YouTube tests creator loyalty. University Wire; Carlsbad. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/1820359719/abstract/23F859F036DC4468PQ/1?accountid=14757