YouTube is a video-sharing and social media platform owned by internet behemoth Google and holds first place amongst many video-sharing websites, and is well ahead of its competitors in viewership. The platform is estimated to generate billions of dollars every year. It started in 2005, nearly two decades ago and is still relevant, sometimes even setting trends that reflect on all other social media. Even though YouTube has been getting bad press from its users and creators, it is an inevitable part of entertainment for people from different countries and backgrounds. YouTube is like King Midas: it creates multimillionaires out of ordinary people and raises them to an extraordinary level, making them highly celebrated stars like PewDiePie, Mr. Beast, David Dobrik, Paul Brothers, and Yuya. India majorly missed YouTube in its early stages but picked its pace and made its mark in the platform once the internet became cheap and readily available. One such ascent to fame is the rise of the channel ‘T-Series’. It started getting hundreds and thousands of followers every day during the internet boom and surpassed PewDiePie, the most subscribed channel of that time. Currently, T-series sits at 201 million subscribers as the most subscribed channel.
Between 2015-2020, YouTube saw a steady increase of Indian audiences and content creators among the youth. When the nationwide lockdown came around, constraining millions of people in their homes. Even though online streaming services were growing, the medium that saw the maximum growth was YouTube. The time users spent on YouTube drastically increased. A new influx of people: both viewers and creators, entered the social platform to share their time and talent with millions of people. It also became a source of income for those who lost their jobs during the pandemic period. In recent times, YouTube has grown from a mere video-sharing platform to a viable paying job. People starting channels for extra income has become the new normal. YouTube has introduced us to new talents like JC Hari Baskar, Madan Gowri and Rishipedia, whom we cherish and celebrate. The Village Cooking channel’s portrayal of the Tamil rural side has earned them the title of the first Tamil channel to cross the 10 million subscriber count, earning them nationwide recognition. LMES (Let’s Make Engineering Simple), which started as a YouTube channel explaining science and engineering concepts, is now LMES Academy, which aims in educating students and move towards a better education system.
However, this isn’t the end, and many more people will grow along with YouTube. Recent times saw people shifting towards the short video trend that pushed YouTube and Instagram to deliver their bite-sized video platforms, namely Shorts and Reels. Like any other social media, YouTube is a victim of both the good and bad. It is a place for education and misinformation at the same time. Hence, it’s better to tread carefully and engage in limited periods.