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YouTube and the flea market!

I learned a lot about YouTube over the course of this semester. I was working with Liz on the emerging technologies section of our wiki and I got to write about YouTube. In the past I had used YouTube mainly to watch video clips that friends had posted on facebook or myspace. When I looked further into YouTube technology and the actual online force it has become, I was blown away. YouTube started as an idea shared between three people, some articles say two while others mention Jawad Karim as the third founder, who wanted to be able to easily share video clips. It is the American dream to think that ingenuity and creativity could lead to the fortune that these ex pay pal employees have achieved.

YouTube mainly started out as a web site for people to easily upload and share their videos using Adobe Flash Player. It ended up evolving into something that has changed the way we watch television, the way we educate ourselves, and the way we advertise. As Bob Garfield points out in his article, YouTube vs Boobtube:

"Lots of people can now watch themselves on sort-of TV, which is pretty fun in itself. The bonus is that others want to watch them, too. Third-millennium humanity has demonstrated an interest in sifting through millions of pieces of crap produced by total strangers to discover a few gems – some accidentally entertaining ("Boom Goes the Dynamite"), some breakout performances from the previously obscure ("Treadmill Dance"), and some explorations of a new art form crackling with genius (Ze Frank, Ask a Ninja, and the guys behind Loneygirl15.)"

YouTube is kind of like being at a giant flea market where you walk from stand to stand, sifting through the junk, while still having faith that you’ll find that rare gem. Sometimes you will find something offensive and keep going back to look at it even though you aren’t sure why and sometimes you’ll find something so cute you can’t stop watching it. I’ve learned that YouTube is also very helpful for educational purposes. I thought that the "In Plain English" YouTube clips were very helpful tools to understanding the new technologies we were to utilize in the class.


What an excellent analogy comparing YouTube to a flea market. It makes perfect sense how you described it. I agree about the "In Plain English" clips. The one we watched for Twitter was really helpful. It’s great how YouTube is a mix of education, fun, music and all kinds of random things. I think that is a reason why it appeals to so many audiences.

I am curious how many YouTube users are avid users and how many just visit the site once in a blue moon (like myself). I wonder if the founders of YouTube have given any thought as to how they can corral those occasional users and make them frequent visitors.

I like how you related YouTube to a flea market, it was very creative, yet truthful. I've never really used YouTube until this class. I'm not really sure how you could use it for fun since you pretty much have to search for a specific topic. You also never really know what you will end up watching and you just start clicking randomly on related items until you find something that appeals to you.

Interesting last paragraph - I feel exactly the same way. I don't enjoy simply going through YouTube just to find something that might eventually be interesting. It's a big time investment to sift through a bunch of videos in hopes that one of them will contain the information you're looking for, which is why I sometimes find the site a little frustrating. When you do find the right clips though, they can definitely benefit your site and should add a lot more to the purposes of our site.