The story of YouTube and the video platform’s vast cultural influence.
Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has grown exponentially from the first video posted by co-founder Jawed Karim of a trip to the zoo to its current state of more than 1 billion active users. Charting the site’s development from early days when it was conceived partly as a way for the developers to meet women, Allocca, the company’s head of culture and trends and “one of the world’s leading experts on viral video,” cites the massively popular “Double Rainbow” upload as one of the key moments in YouTube history. The seemingly innocuous footage of a man witnessing two rainbows and his astonished response would become an early viral hit and is a standout example of how YouTube has grown into a platform that enables everyday users to broadcast their voices. The author also highlights several other YouTube success stories, including Korean pop artist Psy’s 2012 smash hit “Gangnam Style,” which became the first video to reach 1 billion views, the “How-To” video craze, and how uploads have affected political movements in Libya and other hot spots around the world. As a YouTube employee, Allocca has plenty of insider information and access to the company’s research and engineering stars that helped create the content powerhouse. However, his position also means that some of the presentation of YouTube’s value reads like marketing material for the company. Refreshingly, the author offers more than just a history of YouTube; he takes on the role of anthropologist as he riffs on the current state of popular culture and content consumption. With traditional cultural gatekeepers increasingly strained to maintain relevance and more individuals empowered to create and distribute their own content, YouTube will only grow as a major cultural force.
A mostly informative and insightful look into the inner workings of YouTube and its wide-ranging influence.