It is Youtube, a web platform for publishing and sharing videos, born on February 14, 2005, and acquired by Google the following year. It is the second most visited website in the world, immediately after Google, and has had a gigantic impact, perhaps even greater than Facebook, in the world media landscape.

Youtube at least you have heard of it, but you have almost certainly visited it and spent a lot of time there ...

It is Youtube, a web platform for publishing and sharing videos, born on February 14, 2005, and acquired by Google the following year. It is the second most visited website in the world, immediately after Google, and has had a gigantic impact, perhaps even greater than Facebook, in the world media landscape.

Youtube is not just a site, a tool, but it has become a cultural phenomenon, a gigantic space of the digital continent that deserves to be inhabited.

Of course: Youtube can also be used - but perhaps the more correct term is "inhabited" - by a Christian presence with pastoral purposes. And this is already happening today. In this tutorial, we will not see how Youtube technically works, but we will try to frame its languages ​​and dynamics: only in this way could we live it “as a native speaker”.

What Youtube looks like

You can access Youtube simply by visiting its website, or by downloading and using one of the dozens of apps for each existing device, from phones to tablets, up to smart-TVs, televisions produced in the last 5 or 10 years with Internet access.

Youtube will immediately show us the most popular videos of the moment in our geographical area, but will insistently ask us to log in through our Google account. By turning it on we can both create our channel, upload our videos, and keep lists with our favorite videos. In fact, Youtube tries as much as possible to record our behavior, a useful choice both to improve our experience on Youtube, and to "profile" us better, show us the advertisements most similar to our interests and therefore, make more money.

Some features of Youtube

Youtube doesn't just show us videos. From a technical point of view, over the years Youtube has implemented subtitles - also automatic - 3D videos, videos of different formats, live videos.

The videos can be saved in private or public lists to be kept for later review, they can be shared on social networks. Another decisive feature is the possibility of "embedding", that is, "embedding" Youtube videos into other sites - including our Catholic parish or institutional sites. If we record - or send live - a ceremony, a conference, an activity with young people, we can publish it on Youtube and then “embed” it, copying the code of the single video on our site, so that it is visible to all.

On Youtube, we are always invited to click "like" or "dislike" to rate the video and to comment. But be careful: the comments section of the platform, no one knows why is not exactly one of the most polite places that exist.

Youtube would like us to never breakaway

If Youtube were just a technical video-sharing platform, like there are dozens of them on the web, it would never have had this success. One of the reasons for Youtube's boom is that it has evolved over time both by following happy intuitions and by listening to what users wanted. Many of the innovations are due to the thrust of the base, if we can say so, others instead depend on the impulse that Google gave it after having acquired it and transformed it into one of the flagships of its galaxy.

The true formula of Youtube success is that, literally, "one video leads to another". Through the "suggested" videos selected by the algorithm or the videos that we find on the home page, as already said before, those with the greatest success, more relevant to our tastes or simply more "fresh", Youtube would like us never to take our eyes off him. You enter for a short video, you stay for hours.

What video do we find on Youtube?

Anyone can upload a video to Youtube. The person passing by on the street can literally do it, the giants of world entertainment, the media, celebrities can do it.

But how are these videos made? It can be said that there are dozens of genres of videos on Youtube. There are music videos, excerpts from television programs, summaries of sporting events. In short, things we were already seeing. However, compared to the origins of web 2.0, at the beginning of the 2000s, the connection speed and devices for audio and video recording within everyone's reach, has pushed more and more people, even literally children in their bedroom, to register, to edit videos, upload them and share them. Alongside "traditional" genres, if we can say so, Youtube itself, also thanks to the "contagion" and emulation of tens of thousands of people all over the world, has favored the birth of new languages ​​and ways of making videos.

The most common, which apparently seems the most trivial but which instead requires a lot of expertise to really work, is the "video-selfie" mode: a person, in front of a webcam, who for a few minutes talks to us about a topic: the review of a film just seen at the cinema, a political event, the last Juventus match. These technically simple videos intercept our need for storytelling, to hear someone speak. And in the great sea of ​​Youtube, it is possible to intercept who talks about what interests us and who does it in order to really capture our attention. In the end, the accounts are made in large numbers. There are dozens of variants of the model just described, with the help of images, videos, skits, sketches: all often born "artisanally", but that on Youtube, given the success of the numbers,

The most beautiful or professionally made videos do not always get more views: the dynamics that make a video successful are many, first of all also "technical" reasons, such as the ability of the videos to be "captured" in the recommended video stream. to users, one of the main factors to be able to get more "views"

The Youtuber phenomenon

In the middle of the great sea we were talking about, some small fish have managed to emerge and become bigger and bigger, intercepting the attention of millions of people. This is the case of the Swedish Pewdiepie, or the Italians Yotobi, Shy, or Cicciogamer89, young people who literally started from their bedroom and turned Youtube into a very profitable job.

We often hear the news of these "Youtubers" as a new category of human beings, sometimes with those tones of suspicion and accusation typical of the greatest towards youthful phenomena. In reality, the “Youtuber” is just a person who uploads videos to Youtube and is quite successful. That's all. Thus, there are sports Youtubers, musical Youtubers, gaming Youtubers, political Youtubers, philosophers, doctors and economists of all sexes, ages, social backgrounds, political alignments.

Technical adherence to an instrument is not enough to describe a person. Certainly, however, the "Youtuber" as a category of thought is a novelty, especially as a cultural agent who interacts with his audience without mediation, without editors or directors to direct the editorial line.

Youtube is a money machine

Youtube has acquired a great deal of commercial market, subtracting advertising investments from traditional media such as newspapers and televisions.

But it starts again - at its sole discretion, with rules that can be allowed to change every moment - its “partner” users, that is, the people who upload videos, have a certain number of registered users and views, and the more they are viewed the more they earn. These are also very important figures. So yes. Although the overwhelming majority have some “shortcomings”, there are those who have made millions of dollars. A fraction, however, compared to what Youtube puts in turnover.

'The Algorithm' - How YouTube Search & Discovery Works


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