Untangling Web 2.0

An aspiring information professional shedding light on the Web 2.0 phenomenon

YouTube – Is it really all about you?

on March 17, 2013

I hadn’t  ever really given much thought to the name YouTube before. But after analysing YouTube against one of Tim O Reilly’s patterns ‘Data is the next Intel Inside’, YouTube couldn’t have chosen a better name. Because it really is all about YOU, the user… and your data of course. This concept is all about data as the commodity, rather than a web application’s function.

YouTube - created by us

YouTube – created by us

                       YouTube icon [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurgenappelo/7749081576/

YouTube are experts in using your data and then making sure you or we continue to interact with it.

Think about it.

You Tube owns a unique, hard to recreate source of data. All of the site’s content is generated by users and there’s something exciting about knowing I can post my own content on YouTube right now and that if it weren’t for people like me uploading videos, YouTube wouldn’t exist. That I can watch pretty much any music video I want at any time, when not too long ago I had to wait every weekend for Video Hits and hope that I hadn’t missed my favourite artist of the month, is mind blowing. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think YouTube and its users are solely responsible for the revolutionised way we access music.

And boy, does YouTube enhance the core data or what?

Firstly the opportunity to comment is genius. After all, who doesn’t want to put their two cents in? If I am watching something really controversial or just a bit pathetic (such as YouTubers who think their ‘singing’ is going to be their ticket to fame) I want to see if people agree with my point of view and I love it when people are having a disagreement in the comment box!  In his blog, Jason Van Dyk observes that on websites such as YouTube, ‘there is a far greater focus on the conversations between users, as opposed to providing a place for advertisers to promote brands’.

I agree with Jason – yes there is a greater focus but that doesn’t mean that there is not a focus on the dollar sign – there has to be. When YouTube started streaming ads at the beginning of videos, I was surprised but I quickly got over it because at the end of the day, there are all those great enhancements for the users.

On many an occasion, YouTube has suggested videos I might be interested in based on the videos I watched on my last visit and it’s sort of embarrassing to know that what I’ve been watching for hours on end, is stored somewhere. You can also see how many likes and dislikes a video has had, and detailed statistics on how many people have watched it and how they found it.  So it’s pretty obvious that YouTube have data on you and us.


The Matrix [Image] (n.d.) Retrieved from http://crimsondiabolics.deviantart.com/art/The-Matrix-136586049

I think it’s a two-way street. In return for our data, YouTube lets users control their own data. We can embed videos into our blogs, email them to anyone and share them on other applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, Bebo and Digg. We can modify videos that we have uploaded, add links to other videos, only allow certain people to see them and we can remove our videos from the site. I really appreciate that freedom – to undo something that has been done. I used to seethe with anger when Facebook required me to explain why I wanted to be untagged from a photo, to the person who tagged me, before my request could be granted.

Am I being too kind to YouTube? I would love to hear your thoughts!


13 responses to “YouTube – Is it really all about you?

  1. Maria says:

    I completely agree! It’s great that anyone can share anything on YouTube and then others share their thoughts on it. It’s an amazing source of videos, film clips, beauty tips… the list goes on. If you want to find any funny scene from a movie…done. In fact you can find pretty much ansolutely anything! Personally I don’t think there’s anything about YouTube that I don’t like, and I’m pretty sure almost everyone would agree there.

  2. Helen says:

    Well said! Enjoyed reading and agree with you

  3. James says:

    I too enjoy the freedom of being able to ‘control’ my YouTube videos but funnily enough, I didn’t realise I had that freedom – maybe it’s just something I expect with applications. Score 1 to YouTube!

  4. sukhshans says:


    I agree with you that one of the main success of Youtube is the large collection videos posted by users. Some users upload videos to share moments, fame, or even just entertainment. Do you think that youtube has the rights to use the videos that we uploaded?


    • evecrithary says:

      I think they do have the rights because we have chosen to put the videos up there but it depends what they want to use them for. They should clear it with the uploader of the video first.

  5. bronwynsc says:

    Great information, Eve. I agree about this revolutionising how we use videos and music – and I think they have set the bar for other applications to follow.

    I am not very clear on where Copyright sits for any of the content. Do you know?

  6. evecrithary says:

    YouTube are transparent and helpful with regards to copyright. These two links tell it all, but basically you can choose whether your videos have a creative commons licence or not, but if your video is monetized — it can’t be classed as creative commons. 🙂



  7. Guy Richards says:

    Good article!

    You mentioned the focus on the bottom line and ad revenue. What is your opinion on ad blockers and would you (or do you) use one without thinking about the possible ‘damage’ you could be doing to the revenue of Youtube?

    • evecrithary says:

      Hi Guy! Thanks for the comment! Even though I find the ads annoying I haven’t considered an ad blocker because I feel as if I am getting this amazing service for free so I have no real right to deprive YouTube of their bottom line.

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