Mobile capture and browsing of the internet via tablets and mobile phones together with laptops and notebooks and the desktop computer have all helped push video sharing. In fact video watching and sharing in particular has grown enormously to the extent that You Tube uploads 100 hours of video content every minute.
On its 8th anniversary, the popular site has grown beyond expectations to say the least. In 2005 the sharing of personal videos was revolutionary and a relative minority activity. These days You Tube boasts a billion users per month.
But far from being a place to catch merely the weird and wonderful, the pointless and the self-indulgent vanity home movie style nonsense, the site now hosts much useful and frankly liberating content that it has become a first point of reference for many. People don’t just gawp at their Smartphone’s a la Homer Simpson but they interact by teaching themselves how to do things as varied as changing the thermostat of a specific brand and model of fridge, how to do quadratic equations, learning the next belt moves for Karate or Judo .
You Tube hosts a huge bank of content for learning musical instruments, fixing engines, learning to fly. Certainly much dubious, vacuous content remains to entertain and titillate, but overall the YouTube site can serve as a really useful On Demand source to enhance so many of modern life’s necessities.
Is there remaining in the UK a single history teacher who does not link a laptop or tablet to their classroom projector to help with their lessons? What better use of the technology can there be than to have immediate and cost free access to in full colour or stark black and white, the moving images of the historic events, people and places which populate the curriculum. Likewise Geography, Mathematics and English literature, French, Religious Studies and more all are served well by the tremendous choice of content available at the touch of a mouse. The only danger of course, like Wikipedia, is that some content can be of dubious origin, or inaccurate. But in a democracy there are no content editors so the wide array of content does need gate keeping by the individual or perhaps by a trusted teacher.
As advertising models and user patterns segmentation and reselling have become so much a part of our digital lives the potential business advantages so clear, that the You Tube model will continue to develop. The increasing commercialisation of the service has led to ever more professional content being created especially and doubtless these videos will have a strong market. But for some, the historic archived film remains YouTube’s most intriguing and validating aspect.