Youtube: A Game Changer

In a matter of years, Youtube has come to be a part of our everyday lives. We now live in a world where, at a relatively low price, news can be made and seen by millions. It’s decentralized journalism as we know it, and much like the blogosphere, it comes with a lot of useless fluff. But the fluff does not belittle the hard-hitting side of Youtube.

Indeed, through all the phases of the Egyptian revolution, the world was able to watch on youtube. Many have even gone so far as to argue that social media, youtube included, is one of the driving forces behind the Arab Spring. It’s important to note that Youtube does have a huge impact, but we must not lose sight of the fact that people start revolutions. Youtube has changed the game, maybe even served as a catalyst, but without people-power there would have been no Arab-Spring.

All that being said, it’s impossible to ignore the youtube phenomenon. For some, it’s even become a lucrative business. Brian Stelter of the New York Times writes: 

One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become “partners” and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site. 


This very clearly hi lights the fact that citizen journalists, entertainers and others could easily making a living off of Youtube, but it also raises a critical question: how is advertising going to affect the content?

The answer may lie in the numbers: most of Youtube’s high-earners, as the New York Times article demonstrates, are purely of entertainment value. I don’t hear as many success stories of investigative journalists making livings off of Youtube, though the Young Turks have witnessed relative success.

The most important thing, in my opinion, to remember is that Youtube is still a new tool. We can discuss it, its impact and role in the world but there is still plenty of room for growth and change. The Youtube we know now could be completely different in a years time, whether it be through new funding mechanisms for journalists on the site, or if a revolution comes along that Youtube tries to censor. Any number of factors could change, so be wary before putting all your eggs in the Youtube basket.


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