Psy knows going viral is good – YouTube and the new democracy.

A couple of weeks ago Lynsey Dolan and I spoke on Sunshine Radio’s technology segment about using some technology to enhance the discussion we have every week on what’s new in technology. Tuesday night last, for the first time we broadcast our technology segment live, via Google Hangouts and YouTube.

A few people watched – we enjoyed it – it was a fun first for us. No special preparation; I arrived at the studio, opened my MacBook Pro, logged in to YouTube, hit the Live Broadcast button on my YouTube channel and that, was pretty much that. Cleverly, Hangouts offers an ’embed’ link, so I copied that, posted it on this page, hit save and this website’s homepage displayed a ‘This Live Event will begin shortly’ message. And it did. Simple. Fast. And most importantly, accessible. That’s part of the beauty of YouTube & Hangouts: its accessibility.

A few months ago I did a radio piece all about YouTube. Whilst researching that, I read Megan O’Neills piece on ‘5 ways YouTube has changed the world’. She articulcates her points well – the world is smaller now (try being a YouTube Tourist for 20 minutes one evening – where would you go?), artists can get discovered, entertainment and education have been revolutionised, and YouTube can be a tool for inciting change. I think it’s done more than than revolutionise entrtainmentand news though – it has democratised them.

Social media website, and the broader web generally have their share – a big share – of innanity. YouTube has some too. But there really is a wealth of quality material on YouTube that I’m happy to browse past silly pet tricks to get to it. I browse the popular and recommended videos often. I look for amateur performances of plays I like. I’ve discovered accoustic versions of old favourites – I’ve been mesmerised by the talent of Amy Walker and her 21 accents. I’m struck by the starkness of Rachael Halliwell’s Deirdre & Me extracts from her one-woman show. I took up trying to draw manga – I’m not good at it – but thanks to Mark Crilley’s brilliant instructional videos, I’m getting better. We ‘ve learned that YouTube are spending $100 million on orignal content generation, and we can see a new phase in the evolution of YouTube. It’s good right now, the potential for it to be great is overwhelming, and can’t be ignored. AppleTV allows you to access it right from your TV – Sony and Samsung TVs and a host of other set-top boxes do the same. Manufacturers were quick to this – broadcasters slower. A little like the music industry, perhaps broadcasters felt threatened by YouTube’s genie like emergence. Most broadcasters are now using YouTube – some more than others are doing it well, seeing YouTube as a method of augmentation for their broadcast programming, whilst meeting the ‘content-digest’ needs of mobile users.

If you’re a YouTube content creator the tools and user experience have improved dramatically recently. There’s potential to earn revenue if you publish your own videos and you really do have access to a global audience for your music, your acting, your knowledge or indeed, your truth. Someone tell me that isn’t a force for good?

  1.  Google Hangouts
  2. YouTube Content Creator Hub
  3. YouTube’s up & coming: NextUp 2013
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