YouTube. The word itself may spark memories of cat videos and a biting baby named Charlie; however, within the past six years, YouTube has become one of the most influential social media platforms of our time.
The now multi-billion-dollar company has over one billion registered and active users, who watch and upload video content each month. Included in this enormous number are hundreds of ‘YouTubers’ – people who create and film their own footage on their YouTube channel for the entertainment of others.
These videos range from pop culture, tutorials, gaming, pranks, lifestyle and all in between. These one billion users are tuning into their favourite YouTubers’ videos each week.
So why has it become so popular? What is it that makes people want to watch more? As an avid YouTube watcher myself and being currently subscribed to over 80 channels, it is fair to say I enjoy watching these average human beings like you and I, talk about their lives, experiences and perspectives on different aspects of today’s society.
YouTube has enabled myself to interact with teenagers online who watch and support the same YouTubers as myself. Since joining social media to share my love of YouTube with thousands of teens, I realised we all watch YouTube for the same reasons. The people we watch have contagious laughs and smiles, they are very relatable and share important life advice that many of us will treasure forever.
On the 13th of February, I posted this particular question on Twitter: ‘Has YouTube changed your life in a positive way?’ Within 48 hours, I received an overwhelming 283 votes. A staggering 94% of those individuals replied ‘Yes’. This poll shows just how much YouTube matters to so many people of any age, race, religion, gender or sexuality. Despite our differences, each one of us share one thing in common: We watch YouTube because it makes us happy.
A few months ago in religious studies, our grade watched and listened to author J.K. Rowling give her inspiring speech to the Harvard University graduates of 2008. In one part of her speech she stated: ‘...we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.’ The second she said those words, I instantly thought of YouTubers. These normal people are just creating online videos, yet at the same time are positively impacting our lives in some shape or form.
The love and support expressed to them online and offline by their viewers is so genuine. Correspondingly, this level of passion continues to spread across the Internet long after the YouTubers have hit ‘Log off’.
And it is all for the people who have somehow touched and impacted our lives simply by existing.
They are always there for us. A click away. No matter what.
Written by Sophie Ryder