Today is Youtube’s five year anniversary, a lot of celebration is going on all over the web for this historic milestone in the social media era. It was amazing how quick the growth of social media was, and it was accelerated by the development of emerging communication technologies. And in the short time since social media has hit the mainstream, several brands have quickly established themselves as leaders in their respective categories: Facebook dominates social networking, while Youtube has been crowned the absolute destination for people to share online videos. I have also seen people commemorating this day by reviewing many “firsts” within Youtube: the first Youtube video to be uploaded, the first commenters on Youtube, and all sorts of other remarkable Youtube videos being dug out and marveled in this special day.
With what it has achieved in the past, Youtube is ambitiously transforming itself from being an incubator and host of seconds-long amateur videos, to being the hub of future web TV by trying to host more professional and also monetizable video content. I previously wrote a post about this topic when Youtube announced several months ago its new expansion plan to host more professional video content.
For a generation growing up on the web, the line between watching video content hosted on TVs and content hosted on web platforms have been quite blurred. Like most of my peers, I get my daily dose of video content, amateur or professional, online. My professor Zach has also disabled his cable subscription after he got used to watching all his desired TV shows on Hulu. As long as Youtube can tackle copyright issues and find a way to live with professional content producers, I am positive it will have a bright future to be everyone’s new TV in coming years. Especially given that its parent company Google has ambitions and has taken action to bring the web to traditional TV boxes, Youtube will almost surely be the platform that will bridge computers and TV sets.
For example, Financial Times yesterday just reported that Google, Intel and Sony were going to work together to bring “a significant breakthrough into consumer electronics and the broadcast industry this week with the launch of a “Smart TV” platform.” On the wings of this irreversible web invasion of the television, Youtube, while absorbing all the traditional TV content into its platform, can now build a path to the TV box and become the most popular channel there!
Youtube has been one of the most important inventions on the web in the 21st century, and the changes Youtube have brought to the web and to our lives are truly revolutionary. It smashed the distance and power hierarchy in video production, and it has turned video into a new global language that everybody could use to speak to each other. While Youtube has unleashed the power from professional storytellers to the crowd, it has brought even more opportunities to the professional storytellers for years to come.
And finally, I want to use director Jon M. Chu’s story with Youtube to end this post. Jon’s story is about how a professional storyteller took the challenges and opportunities brought by Youtube, and invited Miley Cyrus and people all over the world to speak the same language about dance on this new platform. It is a one of the many great stories happening on Youtube everyday, and makes me confident that Youtube will see even greater success in the next five years.