The Rapid Rise Of Online Video

The numbers regarding the rapid growth of video sharing websites are nothing short of astounding. In 2009, 170 million Internet users in the United States alone watched online video in the month of November according to comScore, which keeps Internet related statistics as a source of digital marketing intelligence. Just half a decade ago, YouTube was just a baby, a newly created website that provided a stage for people to create and share videos on the web. Today, YouTube reports that it services 1 billion videos per day. For many frequent Internet users, it’s hard to remember the days before YouTube and similar websites put a seemingly infinite amount of media at our fingertips. In 2010, online video has become a large part of our lives, as it has become more than just entertainment and has entered the realms of both politics and news.

The popularity of online videos is easy to spot. Simply visit any news related website (cnn.com, espn.com, philly.com, etc) and you’ll see that online videos have just about replaced front page written news stories. A simple click will initiate a video story for you, eliminating the need to read anything at all. In 2010, The Nielson Company reported that CNN’s Digital Network saw a 30.6% increase in viewers of it’s online video media to a whopping 13.5 million viewers. Other online news websites have seen similar increases which have helped to create a $477 million dollar market for online video advertisements according to The New York Times, which also reports large yearly growth in advertising revenue over the past few years. Statistics have quite simply make it impossible to ignore the fact that more and more internet users are depending on online video for their news, and at the current trends, online video seems poised to become the primary news source for most internet users.

It’s also become clear that online video is now part of the American political landscape. According to a 2008 US News and World Report article, official candidate videos during the 2008 Obama-McCain presidential race received around 200 million views while campaign related videos created by people with no official political affiliation were viewed over 1 billion times. In our most recent presidential elections, YouTube was used in order to allow ordinary people to directly ask candidates questions, putting them on the spot and taking away the control they previously had over political debates. In this way, online video has already started to revolutionize the political scene by allowing more people to ask questions, and holding politicians accountable for what they say by creating an easily accessible online record of their statements as most political speech is now videotaped and uploaded online to video sharing websites.

In addition to the large role online video now has in news and politics, it has provided millions of people with a new tool to share their creativity. Websites like Vimeo have created an online video community for artists to share original music, film and other creative endeavors online, serving as an avenue to expose their work and further their careers. Today, practically anything is available in online video form, from guitar lessons to student created films (like this student created film, winner of best drama from La Salle University in the 2010 Campus Movie Fest ) to how to videos and beyond.

The rapid rise of online video has been nothing less than an absolute phenomenon. Clearly, it is the future of news, politics, art, entertainment, and more. The fact that it provides millions of people with a new way to access so much useful information and a global stage to share their own creations will improve the way we communicate and gather our own information. The numbers show that online video is the future.

Sources:

Online Media Daily

ComScore

New York Times

iMediaConnection

Advertisements

Social Media

To me, social media includes any place online where text (in any form, ranging from a simple tweet to a news story to a long scholarly article or opinion), photos and videos can be posted, viewed and shared amongst an online community. Additionally, these online communities, in order to qualify as a form of social media (in my opinion, of course), must have the ability to discuss any media that is posted in an open, uncensored forum. Websites like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace, etc. are all included in my definition of social media because they all allow user posted content to be shared and discussed in a large online community.

Websites that allow users to post their own content are a valuable journalistic tool for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that they serve as an uncensored news resource, essentially eliminating the possibility that an important event or news story could be ignored, spun incorrectly, or censored in any way by anyone with a certain agenda. This gives people an alternate to large news outlets which may pick and choose stories or spin them in ways that benefit them, rather than providing the truth. Additionally, social media can break news faster than anything we’ve ever known, and it can bring it right into the homes of millions, allowing for easy access and keeping people well informed at all times.

At the same time, with some social media communities growing so large, the flow of information is enormous and constant, creating lots of junk that is either completely untrue, poorly written or stated and confusing, or just plain garbage. This creates the problem of who and what you can trust to believe. Because word can spread so quick through social media, it’s important for us to draw a fine line between content worthy and unworthy of serious consideration. We must be responsible in what we post, making sure it is accurate and respectful of the rights of others. We must also be responsible in what we choose to believe and pass on, to make sure that unworthy media is not circulated throughout online comm communities. If we are responsible in the way we use social media, it can become a quick, dependable, and easy way to get accurate information that we can count on, and it will be an increasingly valuable resource.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Controlling Online Video

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Similar to the way online video has become a factor in American politics is the challenge it has posed for governments relying on strict control of information within their countries. Just like YouTube has begun to undermine the control politicians have had throughout the American political process for quite some time,  countries like China have also found YouTube playing a significant role in politics. The video sharing website presents a new problem for governments wishing to control the flow of information available to their citizens and over the past few years, many countries, most notably China, have had to deal with that problem.

In 2008, China, which has its own State News Agency called Xinhua, blocked YouTube videos of riots in Tibet similar to this one:

The 2008 riots for Independence from China or general anti-China sentiment were considered “deceiving to the international community” by Xinhua, according to this 2008 CNN article . This type of internet censorship, however,  is nothing new in China, which has often blocked many political related online stories from its millions (nearly 300 as of a year ago) of internet users.

Other countries including Pakistan and Turkey have felt the need to block politically related YouTube videos as well. This  shows the power of an uncensored video sharing website like YouTube that gives people access to information, opinions, news, etc. that would otherwise be unavailable. Although China’s foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang stated that “China is not afraid of the internet…we manage the information according to law… to prevent the spread of harmful information,” it is clear that YouTube and other video sharing websites will continue to provide problems for any political group who wants control.

Categories: Politics, YouTube

Sound Slideshow

As an assignment in the Online Journalism class for which I created this blog, we recently had to make a brief sound slide show with our own photos and narrations. The projects were allowed to cover something outside the subject of our blogs. Click on Ben Franklin’s enormous head to see what I came up with for my sound slide project.

"Beer is living proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy"- Ben Franklin

Categories: Miscellaneous

YouTube Changing The Face Of Politics

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

You don’t have to do much research to discover just how much video viewing websites like YouTube have quickly carved out a large role in American politics. Since the 2006 Senate elections, the first vote that YouTube was around for, the website has become a hotbed for political video that is actually having a legitimate impact on American politics. But it’s not only the highly viewed official campaign videos that are changing politics. According to a 2008 US News and World Report article, official candidate videos during the 2008 Obama-McCain presidential race received around 200 million views while campaign related videos created by people with no official political affiliation were viewed over 1 billion times!

The popularity of political related video on YouTube is quickly changing the landscape of the American political game. In our most recent presidential election, “average Joes” were given the opportunity to ask any question from anywhere through YouTube, making it harder for candidates to control the debate. The presence of old debate and speech videos on YouTube increases a politicians chances of contradicting themselves, and helps to hold them accountable for everything that they say.

YouTube has, in fact, already been directly responsible for the failure of political campaigns. Virginia Republican Senator George Allen was expected to handily defeat his opponents in his 2006 re-election campaign until controversial remarks he made were caught on video and quickly posted on YouTube where it was viewed millions of times. Allen subsequently lost the campaign by thousands of votes. Like Allen, other politicians like John McCain, Joe Biden, and Mitt Romney have also had their campaigns damaged by slip-ups caught on tape and circulated on YouTube.

With a growing percentage of voters turning to YouTube for political messages, it seems clear that the YouTube-ification of Politics, as CNN calls it, will continue to reshape American politics. By allowing regular people the ability to really affect campaigns, politicians are slowly losing the control they’ve always enjoyed while vying for office. With the influence YouTube has had over just the last two elections, it’s intriguing to think how it will continue to change the system.

Categories: Politics, YouTube

Stumble Upon Something New With StumbleVideo

If you don’t know about StumbleVideo yet, it’s certainly something you need to check out. Before you click the link, however, I feel obligated to warn you of the site’s addictiveness , and of the inevitable reality that you’ll waste far more time Stumbling than you can spare.

That being said, StumbleVideo is a website/tool that brings online video to you based on your own interests as an alternative to searching the internet yourself. When you register for the website, it asks you to choose from almost 500 different topics in order to establish your specific interests and preferences. After that quick step, you’re ready to click the Stumble button, at which point a video relevant to your specific interests will begin to play. As you Stumble, you can rate the videos with a click of a thumbs up (which saves the video you liked in your favorites for later viewing) or thumbs down (which removes the video you didn’t like from the list of videos recommended for you). Based on the interests you manually check off, and the ratings that you and other Stumblers with similar interests give the same videos, Stumble helps you discover quality content without having to search far and wide on the web. StumbleUpon refers to this process as its “Recommendation Technology,” which, according to their website, looks like this:

Although StumbleVideo is much different from both YouTube and Vimeo, it is still extremely relevant to the subject of online video. Besides being a handy tool that makes finding online video that caters to your specific interests easy, it also “Combats Information Overload.” With thousands of new videos constantly being added to the internet, StumbleUpon has realized how information available on the internet changes so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. Their recommendation technology allows them to filter through much of the content on the internet in order to conveniently bring the content you prefer directly to you, eliminating your need to search for it.

StumbleUpon describes itself as “a dynamic approach to keep on top of this ever-evolving pool of knowledge.” To me, StumbleVideo and it’s use of recommendation technology in order to avoid information overload is a symbol of just how rapid and far reaching the growth of online video has been in the last 5 years or so. At the rate videos were posted in the last decade, its seems as though the approach StumbleVideo has taken will become an even more popular technology as users continue to create and add their content to the internet over the next decade and beyond. If you’re still waiting to start Stumbling, get a move one. If you need more motivation, maybe the New York Times will provide it:

“As you stumble… you will feel as if you are channel-surfing the Internet, or rather, a corner of the Internet that is most relevant to you.” – New York Times, October 7, 2007

For additional information about StumbleUpon, you can visit their About page.

Categories: StumbleUpon

Maybe Matt Never Went Anywhere…

This 2008 YouTube video features a man named Matt dancing in many different places around the world. The video’s info describes it as “14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands. Thanks to everybody who danced with me.” With over 27 million views on YouTube alone, they video seems extremely impressive, and is nothing short of entertaining. Stride gum even picked the video up for advertising purposes… maybe you can see why:

Very inspiring video right? Unfortunately, it’s not real. In this video called “How the hell did Matt get all those people to dance with him?” , we find out that the video was made with a green screen, letting down the thousands of people that the video inspired.

The story of the Where The Hell Is Matt video raises an important question in a time when seemingly legitimate YouTube videos are regularly seen by millions- Is it real? The fact that this particular video fooled so many people into thinking that it was real should teach us all a valuable lesson in skepticism. We should remember that YouTube is not the ultimate truth, and doubting the legitimacy of its user created content is a good thing. Remember to keep this video in mind the next time you find an unbelievable video online.