Phil Bilbrough: MeTube


By Phil Bilbrough


YouTube is my kind of deal. For me it is more my space than MySpace ever was. Broadcast Myself? On no.

YouTube, LLC

YouTube (need I write this?)  is a social networking site based on digital material and an online platform for delivering video to other sites. It’s great, and a site whose importance stretches beyond its own URL.

YouTube is a special kind of star in cyberspace.  It is both a star and a Svengali. It is Web 2.0.  Uploading video material means more to more people than blog copy ever will. Video is the communication leader. Pen mightier than the sword – so last century – video mightier than the sword. Yes. Particularly if you throw a camera at someone.

This is web challenging TV.  YouTube is only a few years old (three ex-PayPal employees created YouTube in Feb 2005 then in Nov 2006 sold it to Google for US$1.65 billion) and streaked past the geek-only stage of any new online concept going straight into the mainstream and stayed. It then grafted itself to the veins of the internet and harden those cell walls to any other video intrusion.

Its popularity reflected the availability of cheap video cameras, editing software and the ease of recording material from TV and DVDs. But what popularity – YouTube is bigger than than big (every minute, ten hours of video is uploaded to YouTube, 71 million unique users each month) – its brand is synonymous with Web 2.0, and that almost shades it being a portal for everything video. Why think of any other kind of video for your site? Upload video to YouTube and there you have it – take the code – its on offer – slot the code onto you site and hey presto video on your site. It might have taken you 7 minutes, maybe 10.

It’s a star and it makes them. Surprised that there are 61,815,816 views of a guitar solo of classical music piece?  How did we know Paul Potts was good? Because the “UK has got talent” judges said so or because he got over 55 million YouTube views. Paul Potts then, Paul Potts now a career recorded on YouTube. Who was lonelygirl15? And did you see this guy? If you are famous on YouTube you know because you get the views and because you get ripped off.

And as a star it delivers some dark matter – video of a handicap boy being beaten up,  a Holocaust denial, footage of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 football fans were crushed to death, crooks appealing to the public for support, and gang violence, it represents all parts of human condition. Fortunately someone uploads recent Premiership soccer games and for a few moments before they get taken down they are there to enjoy.

And the not quite dark matter, but definitely not grey matter. So YouTube is great, good, weird and bad. And cool.

YouTube a social networking site …. blah blah … connect with friends… blah blah…upload content.. blah blah…create content channels …blah blah … be the convergence messiah of the computer and the Television set. Spare me. YouTube is like my iPod. For 10 minutes when traveling into town, my iPod delivers songs that take me somewhere better than Wellington traffic. And that is YouTube for me. Screw the networking. MyTube has Bert & Ernie, Morcheeba, environmental activism, football, football, football, some cool ads, one ad with women testing bras on a roller coaster, and a duet between Leanne Rimes and Chris Isaak. The sense is mine – I’m not publishing for anyone.  Broadcoast Yourself – more like Mycast Myself.

YouTube keeps surprising me. In the flood of hype about Twitter, speculation about Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo – YouTube has kept on developing. Its very good. There is YouTube Insight for advertising, 3D video (with glasses), YouTube for iPhone, and soon you will be able to sell video content through YouTube.

Everyone is on YouTube. If you are going to do a social media campaign – YouTube needs to be in the mix. If it isn’t some of your target audience will upload material anyway. That’s a problem with social media marketing – the vacuum effect – if its not there – someone will put it there.Zimmers

I don’t truly know how to categorize the Zimmers.  In 2006/07 the documentary-maker Tim Samuels set out to investigate the feelings of isolation suffered by Britain’s elderly. He recruited pensioners from institutions and tower blocks, to air their opinions in the documentary. Somewhere in this process, and it isn’t clear where or why, they decided to make a single.  This isn’t a social media campaign or at least didn’t start out to be one – but it is one and an excellent one.

My 6 year old and my 4 year old create discos from YouTube. Their eclectic choices include Crazy Frog, Britany Spears and a Gummy Bears something. The 6 year old drives YouTube and 4 year old dances and when their friends come around there is a mosh-pit of jumping pink and high-pitched screams.

Congratulations YouTube you entertain me and my kept my kids occupied for 20 minutes.


Phil Bilbrough is a freelance online advertising specialist who has recently begun blogging on the subject for Scoop at He can be contacted at

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