What is YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing platform created in 2005; it has become the dominant platform for user-provided content across the globe. Every smart device has access to YouTube, be it the app or through internet access.
YouTube has garnered an audience in almost every demographic. While the younger generation also greatly favors other platforms such as TikTok, and while the older generation is not as tech-savvy, YouTube’s intuitive features and popular videos have permeated all facets of our society.
Like many users, we use YouTube to seek out entertainment; after all, the platform itself pivoted in that direction by recommending content that fits specific guidelines such as age-friendliness, video length, and the appropriate genres tailored to us. These videos would comprise more casual topics such as fashion, music, celebrity life, clips from shows and movies, gaming channels, etc. This type of content is the most popular by far, raking up to millions of views at a time; in particular, music videos can reach a few billion views. As an increasingly viable alternative to standard television, it is no surprise that traditional media outlets have begun uploading their content to YouTube to pursue greater viewer engagement.
We also go to Youtube for education and information. Perhaps, it is a way to obtain entertainment from deep dives into specific fields, industries, or concepts. We may look for a myriad of topics to upgrade our skills and knowledge, such as finding ways to save or earn more money, learn new recipes to try in their kitchen, or simply know more about the world. Because YouTube can facilitate multimedia learning and how creators blend video editing seamlessly with user-friendly explanations, YouTube can provide an enriching learning experience for anyone looking for one.
My YouTube usage
I primarily use YouTube for entertainment; in fact, it is my go-to source of entertainment. Growing up, my family did not have many TV channels, which meant I would hardly see any shows that piqued my interest. This boredom prompted me to turn to the internet for new avenues, leading me to YouTube. Nowadays, I spend time listening to Dungeons and Dragons podcasts, watching gaming videos that are interesting or help me improve my gameplay, and have even subscribed to YouTube Music. However, as much as I would like to learn more from YouTube content, the allure of entertaining videos is a constant threat, and I still distance myself from YouTube when even when I genuinely want to learn something.
Boon or bust?
My friends and I have a term we call ‘YouTube-time-travelling.’ We use it to describe when we decide to take a short break and watch one video on YouTube. One video quickly turns into two, then three, then four. Before we know it, hours have passed, and we are way off track.
YouTube has been steadily increasing viewer engagement since its inception. It implemented features such as autoplay and subscriptions to ensure that you would always have something to watch. Since introducing algorithmic recommendations, it became even easier to be lost in a barrage of trivia or entertaining content. YouTube’s features are particularly problematic for my productivity; without enough discipline, YouTube itself becomes a distraction. Nonetheless, we should not dismiss the wealth of information on YouTube that can be a great source of education and improvement for ourselves, so long as we know how to harness it.
Tips for YouTube usage
A few things to consider when on YouTube:
- Try to set limits on how long you watch YouTube videos. Having the discipline to step away is crucial in maintaining your work ethic and productivity and developing your time-management skills.
- Manage the content you are watching. There’s nothing wrong with consuming entertaining content but try to filter in some educational content as well. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time on YouTube, you may as well learn something while you’re at it.
- For parents, you can help your children understand the power of the immense video database at their fingertips. Enforce watch time if necessary but use this opportunity to enrich your child’s life with exciting and educational videos.
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