YouTube: Time Invention of the Year

Yes, the writers at Time do know the actual site went live last year. But they are celebrating the sheer power of the people who have made the site their own.

“But even though they built it, they didn’t really understand it. They thought they’d built a useful tool for people to share their travel videos. They thought people might use it to pitch auction items on eBay. They had no idea. They had opened a portal into another dimension.”

They identify three trends that lead to its success:

1. cheap video recorders and cameraphones gave far more the ability to make videos

2. The changes in the web that lets people connect, create and share

3. The cultural shift that means people no-longer care for top-down controlled messages. The removal of the filters is here.

YouTube is ultimately more interesting as a community and a culture, however, than as a cash cow. It’s the fulfillment of the promise that Web 1.0 made 15 years ago. The way blogs made regular folks into journalists, YouTube makes them into celebrities. The real challenge old media face isn’t protecting their precious copyrighted material. It’s figuring out what to do when the rest of us make something better. As Hurley puts it, “How do you stay relevant when people can entertain themselves?” He and his partners may have started YouTube, but the rest of us, in our basements and bedrooms, with our broadband and our webcams, invented it.

So we are all winners here, the people who add the 70k videos a day and the rest of us who watch 100m a day. We are the ones that made the difference.

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