Is YouTube interested in their community?

YouTube (Image Credit: Rego Korosi)
YouTube (Image Credit: Rego Korosi)

I’ve been watching (and occasionally making) videos on YouTube since I found the Vlogbrothers in early 2007. I go in and out of phases in which I comment on videos regularly, but since I do regularly like and favorite videos or put them into playlists, I consider myself part of the YouTube community. I’m one of the people who was wary, but decided to see wonderful possibilities when Google bought YouTube. I mean, there is so much more that Google’s power can do than even YouTube could have done before that.

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing that YT is doing good things with their new power though.

Back on September 12, YouTube removed the option to leave a video response if a viewer wanted to do more than leave a text comment on a video. Many content creators would use that feature to gather submissions from viewers to use in future videos. While they gave clear instructions on how users will be able to find these types of videos through tagging, a simple typo would prevent these from being seen, not to mention the fact that now it’s a whole different process to use a feature that’s been available for a long time and allowed viewers to connect more with the creators of the content they are watching.

Then there was the YouTube Music Awards on November 3. The whole show was a spotlight for already established artists who bring in tons of views (or ad revenue) for the site. There was a slight nod to creators who originated on YouTube with DeStorm winning as well as Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, but other than those voted-in wins, Lindsey’s performance was the only one that really showed what a YouTube creator can do. The entire rest of the show seemed like it was meant for people who don’t already watch YT.

YouTube got hosts who are decently popular, but definitely not known for anything they’ve on the video hosting site. Both twitter and my subscription box (which was actually working!) were pretty full on Monday of suggestions of other hosts who may have done a better job and who may have represented the community on YT a bit more.

One of my favorite things to see from my favorite YouTubers is covers of popular songs. Actually, in my own personal experience, I tend to hear the covers before I hear the original. I think it would have been really awesome if the show had combined popular YouTube artists who had covered big artists like Lady Gaga with those big names to create truly unique live performances. With all of the creative minds available to reach out to, I can’t imagine that it would actually be very difficult to figure out.

It seems that the only way in which the community was represented in the show was by their votes. I understand that YT was trying to bring in even more audience, but to bring them in and not show them the kind of things that are unique to the platform seems like a waste of time to me. Why not show them that there are all sorts of other people on this site, just waiting to be found by more people? This would lead views to grow across the site as a whole, nothing but good for YouTube, right?

Just a few days after the hour and a half live show disaster, YouTube finally forced integration with G+, which they’ve been threatening us all with for months. Active users in the community were widely against the change, some wary of it because they were untrusting of algorithms that would be used to decide what the top comments would be, others simply not wanting to have to deal with change. It’s hard. The real verdict on the new comment system is still out, but with things like Hank Green’s Tumblr post laying out the trouble, I hope that Google and YouTube are paying attention.

There’s still so much that could be done for the community, and I’ve chosen to remain optimistic about it. Are you a member of the YouTube community? What is it that you would like to see for the community? Let us know below and maybe Google will actually be listening!


Image Courtesy of Rego Korosi
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I'm a displaced Californian constantly craving In-n-Out. I lip sync and dance a bit on the bus as part of my life mission to decrease world suck. DFTBA.

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