Thursday, December 04, 2008

The community OWNZ YouTube

Those who have been paying close attention would know that I christened November "Tube-Vember" due to the large amount of YouTube related activity I had that month. And because I am almost totally unembarrassed by using stupid neologisms.

To summarise: we had a mini-gathering in Melbourne on Nov 15th, I flew to the US for YouTube Live a week later and was in Sydney for the big Australian gathering fo the year the week after that (landed home in Melbourne on Monday). That was a lot crammed into about 2 weeks which ended up feeling like both a long time and a short time.

Long because there was so much activity crammed in there it gave the illusion of much more elapsed time than it really was (this was essentially a year's worth of partying for me crammed into one month). Short because 2 weeks really isn't a very long time. And I would have liked to stretch out the US trip in particular for a month or so.

My one feeling at the end of all this is that it's all about the community. People are fond of bemoaning the lack/death of community in YouTube (I've been know to muse on this myself) but I have to say, the community is alive and well. People who feel like there's no community need to look inwards for the answer rather than outwards. Or better still, piss off as they're clearly part of the problem rather than the solution.

At YouTube Live I met both the high flyers (a significant chunk of the top 20 were there) and the average folk - people I interact with regularly through subscriptions and comments. While it's easy (and a little cheesy) to say the "real" people were the soul of the event I have to say, the "A-listers" I spoke to were universally nice. Even people I didn't "like" were nice. I put "like" in quotes because these were people I didn't actually know but I had formed opinions of them from their activity on YouTube.

I'm still alternately amused, dumbfounded and frustrated with how badly YouTube misses what the community wants. The scale of what they have achieved with a video sharing site would have sounded impossible only a few short years ago and now we take it for granted. They got the hard stuff right and they still don't seem to understand how easy it would be to keep the community happy. And they don't COMMUNICATE! YouTube Live seemed to succeed as a community event despite YouTube rather than because of them.

But still, when I say "OWNZ" I mean the community is the best part of YouTube, not that YouTube has to do whatever some amorphous "community" tells them. YouTube can do whatever they want. Besides, what the community is and what it means will vary from person to person. Communities are like that. It's completely pointless the way some people try to force their interpretation of community on everyone else. Even when they are a part of a community, people remain individuals.

The best advice I can offer is know what you want for yourself and stick to that. If you can't find like minded people then maybe you need to reconsider. Or maybe you simply don't need other people. The idiots who do the bleating about other people not meeting their standards of community behaviour are usually losers that nobody wants to associate with anyway. Leave them to their delusions.

For all its shortcomings, I'll always be grateful for the opportunities YouTube provides. And I know that I'm part of a fucking awesome community.

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