An Analysis of Web 2.0: ‘YouTube’

On: September 21, 2008
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About Ali Balunywa
I have 20 years experience in the print media in Africa and Europe. I am in possession of a Bachelors degree in social sciences from Makerere University in Kampala and a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Media management. I am currently following a Masters of Media in New Media studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Web 2.0 is a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. In short, Web 2.0 emphasizes the idea of the proliferation of interconnectivity and interactivity of web-delivered content. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis and blogs. The term became notable after the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.

web 2.0; Youtube
Youtube turned the passive ‘user’ into an active producer of content and shaper of the ultimate user experience. It is more playful, more participative and often joyful to use. It allows users to store and share personal videos, subsequently, linked, searched and/or rated. Its huge and sudden popularity made it the Internet phenomenon of 2006. You tube might be the best known web 2.0

YouTube turned out to be something quite different than what its creators earlier imagined. It was originally created as a dating website based on videos … It was launched in April 2005 and it didn’t take off. People didn’t use it (YouTube) very much. The founders looked at the product and realized that it should open to any contact. Also, the interface was opened up so you could choose what you wanted to watch, search for videos, link to related videos and give people the ability to ‘tag’ videos so other people could find your video with a keyword. It grew explosively.”

So adaptability to user demand is one key to success in launching a new computer-based system such as YouTube. The computer-dating concept was too limiting. You Tube’s founders tinkered with the product to allow activity that the users wanted. They made it easier to post and locate videos, regardless of use or intent. The product took off.

1.   Statistics
According to Alexa’s website (, YouTube is the third most visited website and the first if we do not include search engines.
Also, if we look at the Web ratings by country, we realize that YouTube is also quite popular, for instance, it is the 5th most accessed site in the US, Portugal and Spain, the 6th in Canada and Japan and the 8th in the UK. Each day, there are 100 million downloads and 65, 000 uploads, that is 1,538 downloads per upload.

Total videos uploaded as of March 17th 2008: 78.3 Million. Videos uploaded per day: over 200,000
YouTube by Category:

Music: 19.8%
Entertainment: 19.0%
People & Blogs: 14.2%
Comedy: 13.4%
Sports: 6.9%
Education: 6.0%
Autos: 5.2%
Film: 4.7%
HowTo: 2.6%
News: 2.6%
Pets: 2.2%
Science: 2.2%
Travel: 1.3%

Most commonly used tags:
video, sexy, sex, music, rock, rap, funny, news, pop, dance, film, short, TV

Average Video Length: 2 minutes 46.17 seconds

Time it would take to view all of the material on YouTube (as of March 17th 2008): 412.3 years

Average Age of Uploader: 26.57

Unambiguously User-Generated (amateur): 80.3%

2. Politics
IT HAS been called the YouTube election. America’s 2008 presidential campaign may be remembered as much for the candidates’ frantic activity on the internet as for their stump speeches and television spots. Pundits, inevitably, are talking of the dawn of a new era—or, more precisely, of the maturing of campaign politics on the internet.

YouTube Has Speech-to-Text Functionality…..and it Works.

Barack Obama released his video announcing his candidacy for nomination of the Presidency on YouTube. A video made by the campaign for Hillary Clinton released on her website and widely watched on YouTube, it was a creative hit. Mrs. Clinton and her would-be First Gentleman sit in a diner, discussing which song she will choose for her campaign theme.

3. Software/ Applications
YouTube’s software allows you to download videos from YouTube and many others and convert them to other video formats. The program is easy to use, just specify the URL for the video you want to download and click the Ok button! It also allows you to convert downloaded videos for Ipod, Iphone, PSP, Cell Phone, Windows Media, XVid and MP3.
4. YouTube Culture
Sarah Mogin of Carnegie University in December 2007 wrote in the Daily Vidette newspaper of Illinois State University that YouTube culture is the greatest thing since sliced bread. With sliced bread you can toast it, you can make a sandwich out of it, and you can spread things on it: peanut butter, jelly, jam, and even Nutella and that like YouTube offers just as much flexibility.

According to Sara, it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and probably greater, for it extends into the worlds of justice, politics, education, and entertainment and also dispelled the myth that celebrities are flawless.

Sarah could not have put it better.

 In my evaluation, Youtube success is based on its users, content and design. Its users are young internet savvy content designers themselves, communicating and socializing via the Web. The content is an aspect of personal broadcasting of a user that wants to communicate and extend him or her via the web.
However, it also has its shortcomings beyond seemingly being a poorly designed, chaotic and cluttered website;
i) Navigation history is lost when the user logs into the system, so, for instance, the loss of videos watched, quick lists, etc;

ii) Comments are frequently chats between users, but as these are not presented over a linear, dated logic, the context and understanding are mislaid.
(iii) Scores of YouTube users post copyrighted clips everyday
iii) Youtube can be addictive



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