Friday, February 17, 2012

Youtube: Our Generation in Videos

For my final paper, I want to look at YouTube and the general phenomenon of posting videos to the web for millions of viewers to see. I also want to look at the content of these videos and analyze how and why YouTube came to be and how it has completely changed media on the Internet. YouTube started off as a site that people uploaded videos to for free and has morphed into a central place for music videos, movie and TV clips, video blogs of all sorts and much much more. TV shows have been created around the content of YouTube with programs like Tosh.O and stars have risen to fame through discovery on YouTube (Justin Bieber) and infiltrated every corner of our visual culture today.

I am fascinated by the amount of content that YouTube holds and what this means for our visual culture. I want to look particularly at why people are so drawn to express themselves with videos. What compels them to do this and how has YouTube been able to control the content that is loaded to its site? People of all different ages post things to the site and this poses problems with content and the appropriate nature of certain videos. YouTube provides a unique platform for anyone and everyone with a webcam or a video camera. People have the freedom to create any video they want and this is what draws them to the site. However, this can’t be completely true and I want to look into the content regulation in terms of the First Amendment and the FCC that YouTube is regulated by.

I also want to look at how popular videos on YouTube are circulated and viewed by millions of people. What makes a popular video? How do you get your video to become a sensation? YouTube is so specific to our generation and with all of the social media regulations being instated I am curious to see how YouTube fits into the mix.


  1. Emaline, I think this topic idea is going to be really fascinating and fun for you to explore. Are you going to be focusing on a specific type of Youtube video (music, tutorials, comedy, etc)?
    I found these links to different scholarly journals that I think might be worth taking a look at:
    SEABROOK, JOHN. "Streaming Dreams." New Yorker 87.44 (2012): 24-30. Literary Reference Center. Web.

    Cayari, Christopher. "The Youtube Effect: How Youtube Has Provided New Ways To Consume, Create, And Share Music." International Journal Of Education & The Arts 12.6 (2011): ERIC. Web. 19 Feb. 2012.

    Also, if you go to the "Community Guidelines" section on the actual Youtube website ( The Youtube team lays out some of their rules and guidelines for uploading content.

  2. Emaline I like the idea. I am curious about the extent of the FCC's control over youtube. I also like the idea of looking into why a video would be popular, but I am not so sure how plausible it would be to analyze something like that because there can be so many reasons for a video being popular. I am also curious to know if you have thought at all about looking into the evolution of youtube in terms of now having advertisements at the beginning of the majority of their videos.

  3. Emaline, I think this is a fantastic idea!!! I love that you are looking into not just how a video becomes popular but why youtube gets the exception to not have to follow other social media FCC regulations. I think Nick's idea about looking at the evolution of youtube could be a great addition to your project. I also think maybe it could be interesting to see how posting a video has changed and the rules you must go about to get your video put online.

    I found this video that was conducted by Kansas State University students about the evolution of youtube:

    This is also a great article:

  4. Em, big fan of what you are looking at with this topic. I especially am drawn to your insight about its effect on our visual culture. I have included some advertisement clips that are specifically targeted for youtube only interactions. I think that the visual aspect of YouTube videos are gaining increasing capabilities and it could be interesting to research why this is and how it benefits brands. It also calls into question the regulatory ability of these types of ads as some tend to be more racy than those aired on TV. Here are some examples that might get you thinking about how advertisers are beginning to use YouTube as a way to push the envelope and change their consumers' experience. They may also add as examples of the posting phenomenon. Look at the statistics at the bottom of the videos:
    Tipp Ex Ad:
    Orbit Dirty Shorts Ads: