YouTube's Importance and How the Internet Shapes the YouTube Experience

YouTube's Importance and How the Internet Shapes the YouTube Experience

Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9855-0.ch001
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Abstract

YouTube is more than cute pet videos and aspiring musicians. Fully understanding YouTube and how it influences, reproduces, and changes our culture begins with accepting the role of media technologies inside and outside of YouTube. The history of the Internet and its core technologies provides one foundational proposition in this book. Two other propositions, regarding YouTube's reliance on Internet-based technology and historically relevant communication theories, specifically Cultural Studies and Medium Theory, are discussed, as well. In consideration of important historical and theoretical perspectives, YouTube is transformed in our minds from a simple user-generated content repository to a cultural change agent. The tools and technology associated with the Internet, richly integrated and manifest in YouTube, allow us to change the world around us. Understanding the function and design of Internet-specific technology and how we experience social networking can contextualize current trends and influences in our daily online experience. Essential to our understanding and ultimately our power over the technology that we create (in this case, YouTube) is informed through understanding the technologies presented as part of our shared history. Finally, grasping the technological concepts and terminology reveals a deeper perspective on our cultural and participatory experience with the Internet and YouTube far beyond cute pet videos.
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The Propositions

This book presents three main propositions to help the reader negotiate the technological, theoretical, and intellectual viewpoints presented. While all of these propositions are interrelated, the first is the most technical: that YouTube’s technologies parallel the historical development of Internet technologies, particularly video sharing, compression, bandwidth, and streaming technologies.

Human beings create Internet technologies; thus, certain designs and technological functions are privileged over others. Sometimes, designers are unaware of this privileging and its consequences but sometimes these consequences occur in purposeful ways through design. For instance, it’s not an accident that YouTube requires YouTubers to choose from only three possible Privacy settings before uploading a video; also, there is the design presumption that you are a Google+ subscriber and have a Gmail account, or that privacy settings exist at all.

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