In 2010, Youtube announced a 2 billion daily video circulation for 1 billion subscribers. Online video websites completely transformed our relation with the video media, creating a new language and offering us a freedom that TV wasn’t able to get.
Cinema is 115 years old, television 84 and Youtube 6! Each one of them created a massive revolution in the way people behave, learn and communicate. During 109 years, communication direction has only been in one way. There was the emitter and the receptor. People didn’t really have the opportunity to watch what they wanted. The program was fixed, the news always at the same time, the TV always in the same room. 6 years ago, following a huge movement of interactivity, Youtube was born thanks to three former Paypal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen et Jawed Karim. They had the idea to create a sharing video platform as Flickr.com did with pictures the previous year. Now, Youtube is a worldwide website translated in 24 languages that exceeds 2 billion views a day. More video is uploaded to Youtube in 60 days than all three US major networks in 60 years! Such a huge change in video consumption affects our relation with the whole video media deeper than cinema or television did in their early years because of one single powerful element: commitment.
Freedom of choice
Internet is the real release mechanism of interactivity. It allows everyone to write and share whatever they want. Due to technological progresses, download speed increased a lot these last years and permitted the web to open itself on the video media. Writing being what it is, a huge branch of the population wasn’t concerned by this deep change, but when Youtube was created, interactivity reached his next level. Since that moment, everyone had the ability to post a glimpse vision of his own world. And the effect was immediate. With multiples emitters all around the world, the amount of content became amazingly huge. Every passionate individual could share his movies and find news ones on the same subject created by others users. For the first time in History, the viewer decides what He wants to see. The video became regional, private, and dedicated to every single occupation. Even the slightest, most anonymous moment in someone’s life could be accessible all over the globe.
On the BBC forum, the debate “How has YouTube changed your world?” contained a lot of interesting comments about how and when people watch Youtube videos. In 24 hours, 345 comments were written and most of them were focused on entertainment and learning. But the meta-conclusion is that they could watch precisely what they intended to watch! Their choices are not dictated any more by a distant and foreign authority. Emitters and receptors become the same person.
A new language
But the really interesting aspect is not who uses the medium and what interest they have. The real interest comes from how people use this new media. They’re actually creating a new language. Take MadV, a Youtube user wearing a Fawkes mask and performing magic tricks. He created a short clip with his hand in front of the camera. It was only written: “One World”. Then he urged viewers to react. It inspired more than 2’000 video answers! Everyone could give his mute opinion. Marshall McLuhan pointed out that we tend to use every new media the way we use the previous ones. It is the same with today’s webcam video, most of the people use it to watch what they really want, but they do it the same way they watch TV. MadV and others like him create a new approach of online video culture. A new language is born.