Revolutionary Social Media Platform——YouTube

As one of the most visited video sharing websites in the world, YouTube’s profit mode and unique interactive experience, this paper will mainly study YouTube’s business model and how YouTube has changed modern society and the way people communicate.

Who created YouTube?

YouTube was originally started by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005 (Fitzpatrick,2010), before advent of other social network, YouTube was highly encouraged their users to broadcasting its own label and vlogging video clips for daily life at the beginning. YouTube is not the first website that tried to published video online, one of the examples is which it was launched in 1997, but failed possibly due to immature web technologies. (Cunningham,2016) Another example is Yahoo! Video, it began as a search engine in the early stage in 2005, and later they also allowed their users to upload videos. Back to YouTube, YouTube allows their users to upload, comment, find, and share the videos like other video website, yet after Google snapped up YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 (Arthurs,2018)

Video engine? More like a social network



asi24,Pixbay,All right reserved

Google took a key step that made YouTube into a whole new level, which is add social networking features. In this case, YouTube was not simply a video search engine but more likely to be considered as a unique online community, and It has created a platform for countless virtual communities, many of which are dedicated to disseminating expertise area and promoted interested information for their users. Miles argues that YouTube actually combines several key elements: it is a video sharing site; It is a social network website, and It is an advertising. (Arthurs,2018) As well as Burgess and Green (Burgess,2013), they state that YouTube has succeeded as a new social network platform rather than engine because it has become an institution and medium that operating as a coordinating mechanism between individual and collective creativity production.

YouTube Challenging old media?

Moreover, as researchers mentions about the comparison between YouTube’s channels were replacing the statue from tradition TV programs among college students, which it further proved that the YouTube as a new media are challenging dominance position of TV, according to the research from Ofcom’s survey on trends by use of media in the UK, the result shows that people who were under 24 spent more time online than watching TV (Benson,2017) Moreover, it symbolized that the videos made by professionals which can be media practitioners versus YouTube amateurs video editor. Yet as Burgess points out that YouTube also promotes the common development between amateur editor with formal or professional media that seeking for cooperation, such as changes in copyright understanding. (Burgess,2013)

YouTube’s Participatory culture

Also, by referring Haridakis’s research that he believes that due to the users play an active role in producing, distributing, and receiving YouTube’s media content, rather than other traditional media platform that emphasis on passively receiving information, (Haridakis, 2009
) for example, there has no interaction between newspaper and newspaper reader, the reader in this case is just one-sided gathering the information for the paper. While when the subject changed from traditional media platform to YouTube which can be regarded as the product from Web 2.0 and new media, it appears more interactive characteristics, Haridakis’s research proved that YouTube seeking for enhanced the social activity and also interpersonal interaction between the users, it somehow promoted how people will watching the video on YouTube and sharing video with others than any other online media platform. (Haridakis, 2009; Arthurs,2018) But as refers Peer and Ksiazek’s statements that he worried about the quality of the YouTube video, practically, for the news video, he mention that most of news video on YouTube are like the traditional news on TV that try to reappeared the format, however, the quality and the information sources are questionable and not authoritative, it means that YouTube news videos that made by personal media are not ready for fully take over the traditional news media,( Ksiazek,2016), but as Arthurs further points out that those videos, which contradicts traditional news values, it appears received more views in the research, which YouTube videos has a huge potential from its users and unique stature, and initiates the era of dynamic negotiation space so that YouTube forms a counterbalance with dominated by traditional media.( Ksiazek,2016)

YouTube’s economic and business aspects


YouTube has become a platform that not just for sharing culture, but for business. Its parent company, Google, has tried to monetize YouTube’s content from the start, particularly the advertisement has remarkably contributing to YouTube’s success.

Participate and Connects

YouTube now being regarded as an example of a mixed business environment, YouTube earns revenue by monetized user generated content, some sociologists criticized that this is exploitation, and YouTube considered their users as free labor.( Sheehy,2008; Benson,2017 ) YouTube’s users participate in this participatory culture, in Miller’s argument, he described YouTube is creating a form of participatory culture(Arthurs,2018) So that the concept promoted by YouTube that difference from other platforms is that both digital media platforms can connect space and time that enhanced connections between decentralized and diversified user’s personal experiences, and also He proposes a theoretical model which through the concept of social networking marketplaces, that individual user’s choices are based on the choices of others, and this networked preference is reinforced by the growing popularity of social media platforms

Algorithm and MCN

the users involuntarily sharing their own personal data to the YouTube by clicking videos or become one of the YouTubers to unloading their own videos to make money. By those collect viewing data, it will eventually support the YouTube’s advertising-based business model by YouTube algorithm. Then, based on this business model, it has led to the rise of a new set of middlemen which is multi-channel network (MCN), MCN is the multiple third-party companies that provide services to content creators, aims to monetized their contents and finally negotiated with media companies like YouTube for example to earns revenue.(Arthurs,2018) In this case YouTube and the content creators are rely on these MCN to promoted themselves to builds brand, and increase the social influence on society. According to the economist estimates, the social influence that comes from YouTube famous Youtuber’s endorsements earning $12500 to $30000 for averaging 500000 followers. (Sheehy, 2008) Which means that the celebrity on YouTube were earning revenue from creating social influence, then the YouTube earns benefit from adding ads to their contents and based on social and economic capital relying on media exposure and engouement of celebrity building.

Skippable Ads

Dehghani claims that one of the most successful features on YouTube is that it allows users to jump straight to the video content they want after watching for five seconds, and researcher found that these skipping ads strategy is effective as traditional video ads. (Dehghani,2016) Because it is more flexible and humanized design that provided a better users experience during watching video, and it allows the users to decided which kind of ads they dislike by simply clicked report button, or on the hand, by using YouTube’s own algorithm to offered more related and interesting ads for their users, so that this form of advertising satisfies both advertisers and content creators because their viewers have a better viewing experience.

Copyrights and criticism

Copyright Stealing

mohamed_hassan,Pixbay,All right reserved

The criticism on YouTube are still existing from the beginning until now. Many media and sociologists criticized the unprofessional nature of the communication that leading a toxic community. And also raising questions about the accuracy of the material, particularly by citizen journalists posted on YouTube could result in deception from those concerned materials.

Users can generate their own content on YouTube, However, Burgess argues that YouTube faces the challenge from their users uses extracts movies and TV shows that without copyright permission, and take the revenue from the related company away when they try to upload their video to YouTube. (Burgess,2013) In this case, YouTube’s role as a video sharing platform allows users to upload almost any type of material, including TV material recorded from existing sources or movie clips from DVDS, yet Publishing such material violates domestic copyright laws or other jurisdictions. For instance, the U.S. courts continue to litigate that YouTube has against DMCA copyright law, and although YouTube is often aware of infringing video on its site, but YouTube will only remove such video when the copyright owner informs YouTube that a certain section of video is unauthorized. This resulting in YouTube from uploading these issued copyright video that putting the entire creative process in risk, and also the YouTube itself (Ksiazek,2016)

YouTube as the Political communication

In particular, YouTube adds a brand-new dimension that allows candidates interact with the public

Election Night 2008 (CNN HD) p.1 – Obama Wins, McCain Concedes

theleeoverstreet, YouTube,Creative Commons license (reuse allowed)

For example, YouTube and CNN has been collaborated in 2007, that aims for a series of presidential TV debates in which candidates answered questions from the public. (Benson,2017) It’s a remarkable collaboration that it shows an important milestone for both new media and YouTube’s role as a bridge between mainstream media, which promoted the ideology of online users also can be participant as voters towards to politicians. On the hand, Benson also uses Musser’s research on the difference between 2008 US election and 2004 US election, which he founds out that for 2008 US election, thousands of the Obama music videos has been virally spread out in online community. (Benson,2017) Furthermore, the YouTube released election channel called “YouChoose08” to that provide an official platform to further encouraged their users to participants into the election event, although according Towner and Dulio’s statement that these users shows more cynicism for the US government and the election event, but the users feels more they actually being participated the election and they were impact on the result of election. (Burgess,2013)

On the other hand, YouTube and other social media are particularly emphasis on the personal freedom of speech, because it creates the valuable communication framework that encouraged people sharing their ideas, and more importantly to generate content during this process to sustain the activeness for the community. Yet many sociologists has been always criticizes on social media’s uncensored comments and views, that they believes that it promotes, as Hal refers to McCosker and Johns’s points on the issue of abuse the right of freedom of speech might bring negative effects such as racism, offensive comment, and cyber-bully that form a toxic community. (Hal,2018 ) Again Arthurs agues the statement of democratizing participatory culture, he insisted that comments regulation for social media like YouTube should be accounted. (Arthurs,2018) Moreover, YouTube’s user-generated content quickly displacing live news due to the video shots spread very fast in social network nowadays, Dehghani argues that theses citizen journalism changed the mainstream TV news system, that people can share their views and comments as a participant. Yet, it also can be potentially exploited by marginalized groups in social networks. For example, the violent uprising event of Arab Spring videos were uploaded to YouTube channel and causes numbers of users’ account being shut down due to the terrorist speech. (Dehghani,2016)

How YouTube going to survive

YouTube now is highly relying on user generate contents, if there has no Youtuber upload videos, there will be no more YouTube exist, yet as long as content creator want their content being commented and viewed in this participatory culture, so that they can builds their own brand to earn revenue from whether YouTube or MCNs, the whole YouTube economic ecology will not collapse. Also, YouTube provided a new genre of communication that allows people to participant into the event or uses YouTube as a platform to exposure the layers in social and cultural fields, users can express and shares their views as the part of the society rather than passively receiving information from TV or newspaper, YouTube has no doubt promoting the civic engagement. However, YouTube facing the challenge from abusing right of freedom speech, and more importantly the movement that how YouTube will impact the globe political stages.





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Election Night 2008 (CNN HD) p.1 – Obama Wins, McCain Concedes, Theleeoverstreet,2017,

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About kylejia 5 Articles
Majoring sociology. Currently interesting in social media and video game research.

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