Reflexive essay

May 15th, 2018

I was lucky enough to be born at the time where newer technology, like computers and smart phones, was just starting to take off.   I was able to grow up without having to rely on the internet.  My mom used to tell me that she would have to start writing down all the random questions I was asking her because she wanted to learn the answers too someday.  It surprises me just how easy it is now to get information just by pressing a few buttons.  When we got our first computer, an old Dell, I wasn’t allowed to use it at the time.  Seeing kids today already having their own iPhone and such really shows how times are changing.  When I was finally allowed to use the internet, there was one website that I was obsessed with and I still visit daily.  That website is YouTube.

I started watching YouTube videos back in 2008.  Old YouTube stars like Smosh and Jenna Marbles were just starting to take off and hitting one million subscribers was a huge deal.  I would come home from school every day and used the time I was allowed on the computer to watch YouTube videos.  This became my normal.  I would spend any spare time I could just watching videos.  It started to impact my grades at the time as well because I would stay up very late just to keep watching.  I would stop doing homework or just try to finish it in the morning.  I have developed better watching habits now a day, but I used to be completely addicted to this idea of watching people make videos.  I would watch comedy skits and people making parody videos.  The internet was so new, and people were exploring what they could make to get people to watch.  Viral videos would be cats, people singing silly songs, or just making random things.  It feels like it is much harder to “go viral” currently because of the way our society has changed its views of the internet.

I use YouTube daily.  I enjoy a lot of different content on the site as well.  I stay up to date by watching news related videos, I watch people make compilations of Vines and popular video games that I play, and I even enjoy makeup videos.  I can find something to watch depending on the mood that I am in.  About 60 hours of videos is uploaded every minute, which means that if I want to watch someone decorating a cake, I could easily find over one thousand videos instantly.  YouTube gives anyone the chance to become famous or at least try.  I really love the fact that there is a community for everything on YouTube.  I am a person who plays a lot of video games, loves to DIY, watches anime, and cooks.  There are hundreds if not millions of different channels that I could find for each of those interests.  This site gives people the chance to be involved with all the things they love, conveniently and all in one place.  It also brings communities together that might not have always been.  People who are into skateboarding are now able to find other people interested in skateboarding just by watching videos about skateboarding.  It feels so easy to meet people who have similar interests which is something that was not always possible.

I called my dad, who is 57 right now, on the phone asking him if he knew any famous YouTubers.  After about 5 minutes of him thinking and guessing movie stars instead, he mentioned an interesting change between his and my generation.  He told me about how the tire company, Bridgestone, explains how to change a tire on their website.  There are two diverse ways they do this.  First is a video showing step by step instruction, while the other is it written out step by step.  My dad explained to me that he would much rather print out the written version and have it with him while he did it, while he knew that I would much rather watch the video if I had to change a tire.  It really made a lot of sense and it was interesting to finally notice.  My dad has always been a “let me read the instructions” kind of guy and I used to hate that about him.  Watching videos was always the easier way and I never understood why my dad was so against it.  But it was interesting to realize that younger generations would much rather watch a video, which is kind of the effortless way out, over read them.  This might help explain why DIY videos are so popular online.  It could also help show people if doing the DIY is even worth it or if you should get it done professionally.

The thing I love most about how YouTube has become more mainstream.  People talk about famous YouTubers the same way they would talk about famous movie stars.  The older generation of people don’t always see YouTube as a successful future, but to the younger crowds, YouTube is the platform where anyone can become famous.  I used to get made fun of for being a fan of YouTube, but now, I can mention the name PewDiePie and almost everyone is familiar with that person.

All in all, YouTube is something that I have been heavily involved with for a little over 10 years.  The way the site has changed from a comedy posting site, to the most popular and a well-respected video viewing site, really shows how our society has been changing and how we use modern technology for all types of purposes.





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