The Real YouTube

Eva Lucchino '15, Editor-in-Chief

The media today, whether it be Twitter or KDKA, is a continually changing landscape, and as more nontraditional forms of media become more accepted people look to YouTube as opposed to their televisions to learn about what is happening in the world.  YouTube, which was invented in 2005 and purchased by Google in 2006, was an Internet revolution.  People used the site to share videos and post whatever content they wished; it still operates very similarly today, but not only are videos like Charlie bit my finger getting millions of views, but so are educational videos like those posted by Vsauce and Veritasium.  As YouTube becomes more accepted by traditional media who knows where the future will lead?  YouTube could eventually become the accepted platform for news or it could be recognized for providing entertainment beyond the slapstick.

YouTube has millions of creators across the planet from the lovely John and Hank Green of vlogbrothers to the largely popular Hikakin of Japan.  People produce videos about gaming, education, beauty, lifestyle, cooking and so much more, and it is these videos that the average person does not first think of when talking about YouTube, which is a shame.  Those who make their living on YouTube desire that the site be seen for what it is a place of entertainment, like all television, but also as a place for people to express themselves intelligently. No, I am not referring to the comments, but those creators that are trying to provide the world with better resources through their videos.  The hypocrisy is that YouTube is known mainly for its hilarious, but dumb videos while TV, which is full to the brim of the dumb and unnecessary is not branded solely as that.  It is respected because it is where one can learn more about the world through educational resources, which are also available on YouTube.  Learn more about politics and the news, which can be found on YouTube.  The YouTube stereotype, while at times accurate, is on the whole not an accurate portrayal of the wonderfulness that is YouTube.

Late January of this year three YouTubers were able to interview President Obama at the White House for approximately ten minutes each.  Hank Green, GloZell Green (no relation), and Bethany Mota were those invited to interview our Commander-in-Chief.  They all asked him questions that were somewhat relative to the State of the Union which had been earlier that week.  Google, which owns YouTube, is who made this happen and that is meaningful to the YouTube community because sometimes people feel that Google does not respect its creators as much as they could.  It also allowed YouTubers to demonstrate that they are an intelligent and conscientious population that is concerned with national affairs.

Unfortunately, not everyone was as willing to be as accepting of YouTubers.  For example, Rob Lowe of Parks and Rec fame criticized GloZell Green and asked why she was qualified to interview the President because she had done a challenge where she bathed in cereal.  This then prompts the question, what right does Rob Lowe, who acts in ridiculous commercials, to criticize another entertainer?  It seems to me that he is unfairly judging her because he probably didn’t understand the context of the video or that challenges are an aspect of YouTube that make it amazing because they provide comic relief.  Other journalists were also less than accepting of the YouTube Interviews, but Hank Green made a valid point saying that at least they did not ask scripted questions, as opposed to the White House Corp, and created a connection between more people and the President.

The hypocrisy of how YouTube is viewed is probably the most infuriating because there are ridiculous television shows (Keeping Up With the Kardashians, anyone?) which most definitely has an equivalent on YouTube, but news shows, like MSNBC or Fox News are, seemingly, the only places where one can learn more about current events.  YouTube could never be a place for people to learn more about the world around them, which is entirely wrong.  While this is still an issue, television is facing a future crisis because the Millennials generation does not regularly watch television programs, like NBC Nightly News or even TV shows, because everything is online and YouTube is at the forefront of online video.  In fifty years, television may be a thing of the past, while sites like YouTube are what people use for everything from entertainment to education.