Anglican Samizdat

February 20, 2010

Youtube turns five

Filed under: Pop-Culture — David Jenkins @ 11:06 am

Malcolm Muggeridge used to say, “the camera always lies”. His denunciation was frequently made while holding forth in front of a camera – he seemed to enjoy sawing off the branch on which he was perched. According to Muggeridge the camera was a perfect example of what William Blake meant when he wrote:

They ever must believe a lie
Who see with, not through, the eye.

I wonder what he would have made of Youtube; he probably would have hated it.

Like much of the Internet, Youtube has given the common man a means to express himself, wresting it away from the grasp of the elite – who generally are inclined to overindulge man’s natural tendency to lie. This isn’t such a bad thing: with 10 hours of video being uploaded every second, the lies will tend to cancel each other out.

From the Post:

YouTube at five: how its videos became our collective memory.

Chances are, we never would have heard of Susan Boyle without YouTube.

If the frumpy Scottish songstress had blown away a skeptical audience with her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” in April of 2004 rather than April of 2009, no one except those who were watching Britain’s Got Talent on television that evening would know the name Susan Boyle. The more than 120 million people around the world who watched Ms. Boyle’s television debut would likely never have seen the rags-to-riches story.

That’s because five years ago, YouTube didn’t exist.

While it’s hard to imagine a world without YouTube, it was just five years ago last Saturday that a trio of ex-PayPal employees joined forces to register a Web address which would eventually become a site where anyone could post videos to the Internet.

A few months later, the first video, “Me at the Zoo,” was uploaded to YouTube’s servers, kicking off a revolution that would fundamentally change the role video and the Web play in our culture, altering our collective consciousness and helping millions of people understand obscure references from The Simpsons.

Today, YouTube is the world’s largest repository for video clips on the Internet, with a mind-boggling 10 hours of new video uploaded to the site every second and more than 100 million videos watched every day. It is now physically impossible for any human being to watch every video on YouTube in the span of a single lifetime.


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