YouTube: changing the world one video upload at a time

We recognise a recent milestone reached by YouTube by briefly discussion how this video sharing site has changed the world.

Popular video sharing website, YouTube, is 10 years old, having been launched in February 2005 and its first video clip uploaded on 23 April 2005. Over the past 10 years YouTube has enjoyed considerable success, including the following:

  • 1 billion+ users
  • USD 4 billion in estimated revenue in 2014
  • 4 billion video views per day
  • 6 billion hours of video watched per month
  • 300 hours of new video uploaded every minute (Source: DMR)

Although most of us have viewed more than our fair share of cat and baby videos, and although there might be other video sharing sites that might be considered better or more sophisticated than YouTube, its impact ought not to be underestimated. Below are three ways in which YouTube has changed the world.

Individuals to become content creators

YouTube, like blogs and social networking sites, exist because of Web 2.0, which focusses on user-generated content, usability, and interoperability of websites. As a result, YouTube has become another avenue for individual self-expression. Each account holder can have his/her own channel and can upload video clips, which can be made public and searchable by others, and similar to having followers, persons can subscribe to the channel thus creating a social network.

Supports education, information sharing and capacity building

With over 300 hours of video being uploaded every minute, a broad range of content is available on YouTube. From a learning perspective, the videos range from material to support formal academic courses, to amateur how-to videos, reviews and discussions.

Essentially, YouTube has become a powerful learning resource, which is being used increasingly in the classroom – from kindergarten through to high school. Further, recognising that today’s children appear to learn more by visual stimulation; the growing emphasis on using ICT in the classroom; and school budgets are being cut, the learning experience is still being enhanced by schools accessing YouTube videos on a range of classroom-friendly subjects.

A major source of revenue for content creators

For many people, uploading content to YouTube, and wishing for an audience is just a past time, but for those who are part of YouTube’s “Partner Program” there is the potential to earn a livelihood. The programme is an ad-revenue-sharing arrangement between YouTube and a channel owner that allows Google to place ads in, on, and around video content. Though most YouTube partners make very little money, the top earning partner make over USD 100,000 annually, with a select few earning in the millions.


Image credit: Wikipedia