YouTube changed the game

Let’s be frank… when most of us discovered YouTube, it was quaint and quickly filling-up with cute clips of baby’s first walk. Funny to be sure, but perhaps another internet fad.

Five years ago, the social web was largely an outpost for the young or the tech savvy. Facebook was restricted to college students and email and instant messages were the norm. Today, a web user expects the sites he or she interacts with to be fully interactive and social. You can create and comment on all manner of content.

The convergence of inexpensive cameras and easy-to-use editing software helped rush-in a new mindset: I can create and control content. People will come and enjoy my videos.

Natch, if I can create and comment on all these videos, why not everywhere else? The YouTube phenomenon democratized the Web. Everyone could claim a piece of it. Everyone from Barack Obama to Fred Figglehorn. The entertainment networks flirted with unique content and shuddered at the “loss” of revenue from uploads of last night’s SNL skits.

Were it not for the YouTube phenomenon, Dr. Horrible might not have sung his blog nor would sites like Hulu come to provide on-demand television from anywhere. The idea of “viral” campaigns owes a lot to YouTube and in-turn to our love of interacting online and often anonymously. User-generated content and the comments it generates thrust this phenomenon into the mainstream.

A new creative class has emerged and online marketers are using the power of YouTube to connect with all of us.

Celebrate.

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