The Basics of YouTube
n the simplest sense, YouTube is a website designed for sharing video. Before YouTube’s founding in 2005, posting and sharing a video online was difficult: The bandwidth and storage needed to stream video were expensive, and many copyright risks were involved in letting people upload whatever they wanted. Because YouTube was willing to absorb the costs and ignore the risks, it provided, for free, the infrastructure for users to upload and view as much video as they
want. This proposition turned out to be a popular one.
Google acquired YouTube in 2006, and YouTube’s growth continued. As of 2019, viewers watch more than a billion hours of video per day, and more than 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
Let us say that last part again: 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Given that amount of content, you, as an individual, could never watch everything that’s available on YouTube. For every minute of video you watch, you’re 500 hours behind. For every work of genius, such as “Cat in a shark costume chases a duck while riding a Roomba,” YouTube has literally tens of thousands of poorly shot, poorly edited videos of family vacations, dance recitals, and bad jokes that could possibly be of interest only to the uploader. This chapter serves as your (essential) guide to finding the good parts while skipping the bad. (Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it, and that somebody was us.) We help you
navigate the YouTube interface, establish an account, and start looking ahead to planning a channel. If you’re new to YouTube or you need to dig a bit deeper as a user, this is the chapter for you.