It is hard to imagine that up until 8 years ago YouTube did not exist. For many alike, there was a time when they can’t remember life without YouTube as it has become such a key resource in social and digital media marketing today. YouTube as we know originally started as a video-sharing website, but has expanded since and now continues to grow as a site with many and for many uses for both businesses and individuals.
YouTube today has become much more than a video-sharing website, as its purpose and role has expanded as a whole. I will outline some of the many things YouTube has taught us; us being both businesses and individuals in the last 8 years..
Marketing has become a key feature in the YouTube scene by both businesses and ordinary individuals. YouTube has allowed businesses and individuals to promote and advertise themselves on the World Wide Web and as a result increase and expand awareness of that business or individual. YouTube allows for new ways of promoting goods/services/events, etc. This form of YouTube marketing can be considered different to traditional means of advertising in that YouTube clips are both visual and allow you to hear, i.e., allow for customers to see vivid demonstrations for goods/services. For example the most commonly searched “how to” on YouTube are make-up tutorials, hair-style tutorials and cooking demonstrations. This allows for customers/viewers to experience a new means of learning and carrying out tasks. Marketing is continuously evolving and YouTube has contributed to this evolution and new mediums of carrying out marketing and marketing promotions.
Moving away from the marketing aspect, YouTube has now allowed for a new medium of listening to music and even watching television. You can see the music video as well as hear the music, which has moved on from the traditional radio or CD means of listening to music and just being able to hear the song. The most viewed video on YouTube was the “Gangnam Style” by PSY, which accumulated a whopping 1 billion views plus, which in turn resulted in the song receiving more publicity and promotion. More recently YouTube has moved to having certain TV programmes on its site. For example, I watch the soap-opera Emmerdale on YouTube as I don’t have TV3 player on my mobile phone, so YouTube serves as a useful purpose for me in that aspect.
YouTube today acts as a “voice”, as it allows people to share their views, opinions, music, home-videos, etc online. For example, Justin Bieber – now one of the biggest names in the music industry in the last number of years, first put his songs and singing on a clip and uploaded it to YouTube, where the artist Usher spotted him and later signed him to a record label and as a result Bieber is now one of the biggest male artists of the 21st century, due to him uploading a simple personal clip of him singing onto YouTube. Video blogging and educational videos have also become common uploads on YouTube in the last number of years, as it is seen in colleges and universities across the country YouTube is used as a common source to display examples and information to students during lectures.
YouTube in the past number of years has also taught us about how videos that go viral can ruin an individual’s reputation. This is seen in many instances today as a result of a video uploaded to YouTube, then viewed many times and as a result shared on Facebook and Twitter resulting in the video going viral. These videos are usually clips that should not have been uploaded onto the internet in the first place. For example, the most recent viral YouTube clip “going wrong” was a clip of a young girl from an affluent background who was out in Dublin, talking about her father being a former partner in KPMG and having a high paid salary. This video was broadcasted all over the country, and as a result it reflected poorly on both the girl who clearly had consumed too much alcohol, and her father’s former employer.
YouTube has taught us many things, has opened our eyes to new mediums of advertising and ways of doing things. Time Magazine (Dec 2006) described YouTube as “YouTube is to video browsing what Walmart super-center is to shopping: everything is there, and all you have to do is walk in the door”, which shows the extent of just how far YouTube has come in 8 short years. YouTube is a phenomenon that has resulted in a new means of listening to music, downloading music, viewing clips, TV, viral videos, etc. YouTube has grown significantly in the past number of years and will continue to grow in the coming years as YouTube has become a key element in the social media scene as well as the music downloading scene. We can only hope YouTube will continue to be our Wal-Mart!!