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YouTube launched in 2005 and has since become the fastest growing social media platform. According to YouTube, they have over 1.8 billion users every month and over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched a day. YouTube’s influence is massive.
So, Why Is YouTube So Popular?
YouTube provides endless content that entertains and educates. From mindless, but funny, cat videos to instructional guides on how to change the oil in your car, you can find almost anything.
According to Google, the top four content categories watched by YouTube users are comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and ‘how-to’.
The how-to videos have changed the way people learn everyday tasks or complicated skills. If you ever think, “I wonder how to…?” just look it up on YouTube. Chances are, there are hundreds or thousands of videos that can teach you.
YouTube is the perfect resource for the 60+ crowd. It provides educational material, entertainment, ideas, and recommendations for anything from retirement planning to cooking, exercise, and travel. YouTube is also an excellent source for learning how to use technology and to stay current on the latest devices, software, or games.
Sorting Through the Clutter
Anyone can upload videos to YouTube – which can be both a good and a bad thing. While there is a lot of helpful, engaging, and entertaining content, not all content is well-presented.
But how do you sort through the billions of videos?
You can find what you want to watch by searching keywords/phrases, topics/categories, what is most popular or trending at any given time. Once you start exploring and watching videos, YouTube will begin to learn your preferences and provide recommendations about new content.
Look at the number of views, subscribers, and ratings to evaluate a producer’s content. The more views and likes, the more likely the quality of the material will be higher. When you find someone you really like, you can ‘subscribe’ to their channel, meaning you will see their content directly on your homepage.
On your homepage, you will see recommended videos that YouTube thinks are within your likes. Make changes to the recommendations by clicking on the little three dots next to the title to choose Not Interested, Add to Watch Later, Add to playlist or Report. This gives YouTube further insights into what you want to see.
YouTube makes It very easy to share content with others via a message on YouTube, email or social media. This is how great content can ‘go viral’ very quickly.
As with anything on the Internet, you need to be aware of what you are sharing. YouTube is a platform that has been used to spread ‘fake news’ numerous times. Always verify the validity of the content before sharing, so you aren’t contributing to the fake news epidemic.
Getting Started with YouTube
YouTube is a free service, though there are pay-to-view elements as well. All Gmail users also have a YouTube account, but it needs to be activated.
If you don’t have Gmail, you can create an account for YouTube using your current email address, but you need a new password as it’s an entirely separate account from your email.
Once logged into YouTube, you have many features available for ease of viewing. Logging in will give you personalized results, allow you to subscribe to channels you are interested in, and comment on videos.
When you activate your account, you can also create your own channel. Channels serve as your homepage and can be customized with your header images and personal information. This is also where all the videos that you upload can be accessed.
If people find your content interesting or relevant, they can subscribe to your channel. If you’ve subscribed to any channels, you can see them under Subscriptions from the menu on the left side of the page.
Be a Video Star
Are you ready to start creating and posting your own videos? That’s a great pastime for those over 60. However, keep in mind that building a robust YouTube channel takes a lot of planning and editing.
Always be cautious about what you post on social media platforms. The visibility settings in YouTube help you control who sees your videos. This can be helpful if you are posting videos of your kids or grandkids that you don’t want to be viewed by the general public. The visibility setting options are:
- Public – anyone can find the video and view it.
- Private – it can be seen by you and only the people you choose.
- Unlisted – the video won’t show up in searches or get posted on your channel, but anyone that has the link is able to view the content.
The Expanding YouTube World
YouTube continues to expand beyond their free video hosting service. Some of the upgraded features aren’t available everywhere so they may not be visible in your area… yet.
YouTube Music Premium provides songs and videos without ads. It also allows you to download music directly to your device, so you can listen without Wi-Fi.
YouTube Premium in addition to the benefits of “music premium,” lets you watch all videos without ads, download videos to your device, and access “YouTube Original” series and movies.
YouTube TV allows you to stream live TV and record shows without DVR storage. It is an alternative to traditional cable and satellite TV. YouTube TV features live sports, news, and shows depending upon your location for a flat fee. Additional channels may be available for added costs.
What are your favorite YouTube channels? Do you watch to learn new stuff or just to be entertained? What’s your YouTube experience to date?
(This article was originally posted on Sixty and Me)