YouTube: Much More Than A Website

While it cannot be physically touched, Youtube can be a valuable tool for many of us. It is a platform where art can be seen, where voices can be heard, where news can be shared. As a video-sharing website, anyone can post and watch a variety of videos ranging in topics and subjects from hip hop music videos to news on the current political climate in eastern Europe. While the platform is just a little over a decade in age, it has found a way to integrate into the heart of modern society. YouTube being world’s largest video platform has helped in social awareness amongst wide audiences and it’s a fact that YouTube has led to social impact on society, culture, world events of so many countries. YouTube has proven that it can be effective at gaining awareness and traction for many social movements that look to fight social injustice.
Let’s start with the basics. YouTube is a website where any registered user with internet access can upload videos for free while also having the ability to watch other videos for free. One also does not have to be a registered user to watch any of the videos on the site, but to become a registered user is completely free. As stated before, videos can be watched and uploaded from any part of the world that has internet access. An individual in Turkey can watch an American made video on BBQ cooking just as easily as a high school student from California can watch a Syrian news channel report on the political situations occurring presently in the Middle East. Essentially one has access to the world with a push of a button. To a certain extent it has made information that much more permeable, allowing it to be easily disseminated and consumed among the world’s population.
The users of this platform have many differing backgrounds and varying purposes for the use of this website. Big companies can use it to advertise their new products on an even grander scale than before, increasing their brand’s global impact. Nike can advertise their new shoe to young people in France just as easily as they advertise the same product to those of us in the states. How about those that would be considered agents of change? Those who want to shed light on a certain social injustice? Activists can post a video to YouTube and in a matter of hours amass millions of views. Effectively they have created a viral movement that transcends borders and spread their message to more people than previously imaginable. Take for example the recent Black Lives Matter movement that has sprung up in American media. Many activists have posted videos depicting police officers treating those of color differently than caucasian individuals, which is an extreme understatement. Often these videos depict unlawful violence and force used by officers of the law. In the past, it would not be unheard of for incidents such as this to be covered up, but now that is nearly impossible. As the majority of the world already has a mobile video camera in the pockets of their pants, YouTube has given them the ability to share any video they record without the interference of any outside parties. Essentially any filter that may have been in place before has been removed.
YouTube has a deeper impact on a cultural and social scale than mindless entertainment. Yes one can choose to spend their time on watching videos on fifty different ways of cooking chicken, but YouTube can also lead to more. As I stated previously, this preconceived notion of national borders has eroded away. Globalization is at fever pitch so to speak. Yes, individuals still have affiliations with their home country and still reside within the jurisdictions of said country, yet they are able to share a connection with others from every part of the world. I feel moving forward, YouTube can play a integral role in uniting the world together. Slowly but surely others will be able to understand the cultures of others instead of displaying ignorance that blindly leads to hate. As we are witnessing presently, others are beginning to chime in on multiple injustices occurring not only in their home countries but around the world. The only way to revolutionize and guarantee change is to have individuals to unite to fight pre-existing institutions and systems that are in place. YouTube is much more than a website, it is a potential incubator of change, waiting to be untapped.

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