When you think of video sharing websites, YouTube naturally comes to mind. YouTube wasn’t the first video share site, but it has become the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winning video sharing site through a clever mix of functionality and community.
YouTube isn’t just an American favorite; it’s popular throughout the world. At the time this review was written, YouTube was garnering nearly 20 percent of all global traffic on the internet. Its popularity is just one clue that YouTube is the best video sharing site out there.
In fact, YouTube’s take on video sharing and creating a community, has influenced the way that most other video sharing sites work. The best part about YouTube is being able to watch videos, any video, without being a member, but the real strength of YouTube is the community members that interact, comment, and post videos for specific interests. It’s possible to find a video on YouTube for any interest, occupation, hobby or pastime, along with a lot of other videos that anybody can love.
Perhaps the most telling effect of YouTube’s video sharing formula is the fact that YouTube has gone from being the star to creating stars. Chances are good that you’ve heard of at least one of the following: LonelyGirl15, Chocolate Rain, Chris “Leave Britney Alone” Crocker, Lisa Nova, Charlie Bit Me, Evolution of Dance, Lerroooooy Jenkins, David Elswhere, Star Wars Kid, Numa Numa Man, Dramatic Look Gopher. All of these videos or people were made famous because of YouTube.
Now presidential candidates use YouTube as a way to give their debates and speeches a national audience, because YouTube has such a broad user base.
YouTube became so big because it was the first site to make video sharing easy, and it still makes it easy with new innovations and handy features. Combine that with one of the biggest video libraries in the world and it’s easy to see why YouTube is the best.
YouTube does well by offering all the amenities that an audience member needs because the vast majority of people on the site are not contributors, simply spectators. A smart search function makes it easy to identify the video you are looking for, and a category search or other advanced search functions allow you to narrow your search even further. Ratings, descriptions and screenshot previews also make it easier to identify the video you are looking for.
YouTube has a well-established system for collecting and displaying user comments. You must have an account with YouTube to post ratings or comments on any videos, but you don’t necessarily have to be a contributor. The comments system is self-regulated by all the YouTube users, too. If a comment is antagonistic, spam or misinforming, YouTube users can vote down the comment so that it does not show up. Other useful comments can also be voted up. While this power can be abused by a group of like-minded individuals who want to marginalize a specific user, for the most part this comment rating system is very useful at weeding out useless, angry or commercial comments.
YouTube has some great customizable features too. There are the obvious ones, like volume and screen size, but then there are much better ones, like the ability to create a customized playlist of favorite videos. This makes it possible to consistently enjoy the videos you like the way you like. YouTube even has an RSS Feed which allows you to get immediate updates on new videos by a specific user or in a specific category. This ability to customize your content is what makes YouTube such a fan favorite.
Another key feature that has allowed YouTube to become so big is the ability to embed videos on other sites. This means other websites don’t have to host a video file on their own servers; they can simply import the video from YouTube. This has made it far easier and more efficient to share YouTube videos even if you aren’t on the actual YouTube site.
YouTube makes it possible to create and post your videos your way. There are a lot of customizable features when uploading a video. You can specify whether people can comment on your video or post replies, and you can even specify who is allowed to see your video, on the off chance that you aren’t looking for internet fame.
You can even specify where the video was shot when you upload a video into YouTube. This has become a very popular function for people who are fascinated by GoogleEarth and geocaching . Another great feature is the ability to upload videos directly from a cell phone . This is an increasingly popular option since so many people are using the cameras in their cell phones to capture incredible videos.
Posting a video requires you to give the video a title, short description, category and a set of tags that help identify the video; the tags also help the search function know what the video relates to when making suggestions of similar clips. YouTube says that uploading will take 1 to 5 minutes per megabyte to upload a video on a high-speed connection. This sounds like a pretty wide range for a single megabyte, but the main consideration in upload speeds will be your own internet connection. If you are uploading a large file or several files at once, YouTube provides a special upload manager that can help you streamline the process and ultimately cut down on upload times.
All content on YouTube must be shorter than 10 minutes and smaller than 1 gigabyte. This restriction usually poses no problems because the videos on YouTube are usually short. However, some people still post entire episodes of their favorite movies and TV shows by breaking them up into 10 minute segments. Usually this is done without the permission of the TV networks or movie studios, which take them down eventually. But other people post the videos again, later.
YouTube accepts movies in AVI, MOV, WMV and MPG formats. While some other video sharing sites have compatibility with more formats, these four represent the vast majority of amateur videos, making YouTube accessible to all. When you upload your videos, YouTube converts them to the Adobe Flash format. Sometimes this conversion can cause problems, but only rarely. The Flash version is compatible with more computers because most people already have Flash software on their computers.
YouTube contains videos of all sorts, and this includes content that might be offensive to some people. Fortunately, videos with explicit content are not visible to regular viewers; you must be signed into your YouTube account and verify that you are over 18 years old in order to see it. Other viewers can also post warnings about a video’s content.
YouTube is supremely easy to use, which is part of what brings people back. Viewing is as simple as pressing play, and there are easily accessible controls for volume and screen size. Comments are located below the video, description to the right and YouTube makes a list of related videos that pertain to the video you are currently watching, just in case you’re looking for something more. When your video is finished playing YouTube will scroll through some additional suggestions in the viewing pane.
Uploading your own videos is simple and the streamlined process allows you to control comments and add as much information as you wish. We also liked the upload manager that makes it easier and faster to upload large files or multiple files at once.
You’ll find an exceptional support system in YouTube. Most issues you might have are covered in the Knowledge Base/FAQ. You can ask a question or search for a specific term in the help section and relevant results immediately pop up. We found answers to all the questions we searched for.
YouTube also keeps a current list of bugs and fixes, which can help you with issues that might not be covered in the FAQ. And if you don’t know what a term means, YouTube even keeps an up-to-date glossary of all the terms on the site.
One of the best support features on YouTube is the tutorial videos that show you how to upload videos and manage your account, step by step. This only makes sense when you consider that YouTube is a video site and its users are accustomed to watching videos.
YouTube is the most popular video sharing site because it is the best, and that’s why we ranked it number one among video sharing sites. That many people just can’t be wrong. It has all the features you need, both to watch and post videos. It also has a thriving community and the potential to make you a star overnight. What more can you ask from a video sharing site?
Show a man a home video and he’ll laugh for a day. Show that man YouTube and he’ll laugh for the rest of his life. Nor will he ever be bored…
Community features and customization abilities, plus the sheer ubiquity of this site make YouTube a major player.
The service only accepts video in four formats, and upload times can be long depending on network traffic.
YouTube is the standard by which other services are measured. And it comes out on top.