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YouTube: What Is It?

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YouTube: What Is It?

Background

Founded in 2005, YouTube is one of the most popular video sites on the Web today. Millions of videos have been uploaded and shared here, ranging from movie trailers to amateur videos of cats. Anyone with an Internet connection can share content on YouTube, whether they be organizations with large budgets or an individual with a video camera.

Getting Started

In order to get personalized results, create playlists, or comment on other videos, users must create a YouTube account or associate their YouTube account with their global Google account.

Finding and Watching Videos

There are multiple ways you can find what you want to watch on YouTube, including:

  • Browse via keyword or keyword phrase
  • Find videos in topics and categories
  • Filter results by date and popularity
  • View the charts ranking the Most Popular videos in any given category
  • Read the trending topics word cloud found at the bottom of most category pages

Most videos have a comments section where you can leave your thoughts, as well as a thumbs up or thumbs down icon to record your support (or lack of).

Sharing

Users have multiple options for sharing something they enjoy with friends and family. Email, along with every major social networking service, is offered, as well as the ability to embed the video or share the URL.

Keeping Track of Your Favorites

Because there is such a wealth of content on YouTube, they've given you a number of options for saving videos you especially enjoy. You can make playlists of videos easily, therefore making an uninterrupted stream, add a video to your Favorites list (found again by clicking on your account dashboard), or subscribe to any video user's account to make sure every time that they upload something you are notified.

Uploading a Video

YouTube has made every effort to make sure that the uploading process is as intuitive as possible. All you need to do is find the video on your computer, fill out the necessary fields (topic, keywords, description), and click upload. You will receive an email notification once the video is completely uploaded.

The Most Popular Videos

As of June 2012, some of the most watched videos on YouTube include:

(list via ReadWriteWeb)

Impact on the Web

YouTube was the first large-scale video sharing site on the Web. Acquired by Google in 2006, it is available in nearly every country and over fifty different languages. Anyone can upload content here, which makes for an utterly astonishing array of watchable content.

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