YouTube——More Than Just Watching Videos

Picture showing the logo of YouTube Image: Huy Le, SLothparadise, All rights reserved


YouTube has been the most popular website designed video sharing service in recent years. YouTube facilitates its functions of watching videos and uploading videos to satisfy the users’ demands. A critical analysis of Youtube and its transformative effects on the people’s use of internet will be given in this paper. 

The first and second section is going to give an overview of the introduction and the history of YouTube. The third section will talk about the business model of YouTube. The internet ecology of it will also be mentioned in the fourth section. Moreover, a diagram will be provided to help to demonstrating. The last part is an analysis based on how YouTube affects people’s use of internet. 

What is YouTube? 

Picture showing the logo of YouTube 

Image: Huy Le, SLothparadise, All rights reserved  

YouTube is an American website used for video-sharing headquartered in San Bruno, California (“Great debates in YouTube”, n.d.). For a YouTube user, there are a variety of functions for them to explore. They could create their own channel and upload individual and original videos. They can also view, rate, share, add to favorites, report, comment on videos, and subscribe to other users (“Great debates in YouTube”, n.d.). YouTube  is a platform of social network that defined as relations between people who consider other network members as someone important or relevant to them almost to a certain extent (Wellman 1996, p.347). 

Advertisement is the key business of YouTube. YouTube attempts to attract potential customers through showing them TrueView advertisements when they watch and search for videos. When they potential customers shows interests, the owner of the videos with advertisements in front will get benefits (Youtube, 2018). In this way, some people treats their channels as jobs to earn money, which is called YouTuber. 

The history of YouTube:

Three former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim found YouTuber in September 2005. In Burgess and Green’s (2009, p.4-7) book, its original purpose was to get rid of the technical barriers that discouraged the non-expert online users from sharing videos on the web. It was a website with some simple functions like uploading, publishing and viewing streaming videos at the beginning. At that time, there is not limit on the number of videos users could upload. It just provided users with some basic functions to socializing, such as connect with other users as “friends”. the company applied business on YouTube at the very beginning. The company combined the revenues of advertising from users’ activity and fees for premium features. 

However, it is still a long way from becoming the dominant social media platform. In February 2006, there is a key turning point of YouTube. NBC asked YouTube to publish a clip called “Lazy Sunday” from Saturday Night Live. This action attracted a plenty of online users’ attention to YouTube. As a part of the deal with NBC, YouTube would also promote the NBC’s fall TV show, which marked the beginning of some key partnerships of YouTuber (Dickey, 2013).