Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Re-Post: There's a Website Called YouTube?

This post was originally put on the now defunct "What Was I Thinking?" blog on July 28, 2008. Reposted here for your enjoyment.

So, for a while I have been misunderstanding what YouTube is all about. (Not in the literal sense that I didn't understand how videos appeared on web pages--that part I've got down.) What I didn't get was when people would cite YouTube as one of their favorite websites. The phenomenon of "LonelyGirl15" was lost on me.

I had previously utilized YouTube as a library of clips; they existed to me to serve as supporting evidence for emails/blogs/posts/etc. When I wanted to add a visual component to an otherwise "complete" electronic communication, I would search YouTube for something specific (perhaps the video to Five Iron Frenzy's song "Dandelions," or a commercial for Verizon where a chick is standing in line at the coffee shop and lets somebody listen to her VCast... neither of which I could find at the time that I needed them). Using YouTube as source documentation led to dislike of the website on my part because it didn't meet my needs.

I've since discovered that I was incorrectly accessing the wealth of YouTube. YouTube should be consumed more like an all-you-can-eat buffet (again, something else I don't like, but for wholly different reasons). When you go to a buffet, you don't know what you're going to get specifically, but you're pretty sure there will be enough variety to fill you up (not necessarily requiring four or more trips to the line). That is the philosophy of YouTube... it's not part of Jenny Craig's restricted, "Eat This, Not That," diet; it's a smorgasboard of randomness.

I've found a couple of subscriptions that I like--vlog "directors," who don't disappoint with their content. I can then rely on the "Related Videos" link on their pages to find other (similarly-related) videos that are entertaining. I sometimes still struggle with my urge to fit YouTube into a box, and to understand how some people have huge amounts time to invest in creating the videos. None the less, I have learned to cope and can now watch my episdoes of "Gossip Girl" in segments of five minutes that are in 16 parts.

If you're looking for some vlog channels to get you started, check out those with the highest subscription ratings. Also, ask others for their favorites. I personally love the vlogbrothers channel, and recommend a subscription to them. Anybody else have a particular YouTube channel they really like? (Recommendations welcomed in the comments.)

I'm going to leave you with a random clip from YouTube that might prove slightly entertaining (no promises).

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