More than two billion people visit YouTube every month. But is YouTube social media? Over the years, like any other platform, YouTube has picked up features from many social media platforms. Let's break down the aspects of YouTube that determine whether it's a social media site.
Tip: make sure you know how to secure all of your social media profiles, including YouTube.
1. YouTube Offers User-Generated Content
One of the key features of any social media platform is the ability to post your content. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all share this feature. With YouTube, anyone can create a channel, edit videos using YouTube Studio, and post content on the site, making it identify with the aforementioned platforms.
YouTube also introduced "Shorts" as its foray into short-form content, making it similar to Instagram and TikTok.
2. YouTube's Content Is Interactive
User-generated content alone won't make a platform part of social media. The content must be interactive, meaning people can like, comment, and interplay with it in other ways. Therefore, when wondering whether YouTube is considered social media," let's consider how people interact with the content they watch.
You can like or dislike a video on YouTube, comment on it, and even share it outside the platform. You can even subscribe to a channel to receive more of its content on your feed. Furthermore, YouTube features community posts that allow creators to share posts, images, polls, and more with their community. This is yet another feature that makes the site similar to the Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn platforms.
Good to know: you can pause and clear your YouTube history.
3. YouTube Allows Networking
Another critical aspect of any social media "network" is connecting with others with similar interests. By joining a creator's community, interacting with other followers in comments, and using features like YouTube Live, people can network with like-minded people. Like Facebook and Instagram, the user experience on YouTube is enhanced by being part of the community, as opposed to simply consuming content from the creators you follow.
YouTube has also moved one step closer to marketing itself as a social media platform by introducing the concept of handles in October 2022. Handles give you a unique name to go by on the platform. Many people use the same handle across all forms of social media, as it builds a sense of community and connection.
4. YouTube Has Personalization and Can Go Viral
YouTube isn't just a free video streaming site anymore. Using intelligent algorithms and user intent analysis, the site allows users to personalize their feeds, another quality that makes it comparable to Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. People can see exactly the kind of content they like, whether it's video essays, tech reviews, cooking tutorials, nature content, sports videos, or anything else.
Another aspect of YouTube that makes it a social media site is the presence of viral content. Based on the popularity of a video, it can quickly go viral and reach exponentially more users.
Also helpful: if you are trying to monetize your YouTube account, knowing the best social media posting times may help.
5. YouTube Enables Advertising
Like any other social media platform, YouTube also supports social media advertising. Creators and brands alike can create and run ads on YouTube, promoting their content. Through Google's ad network, YouTube ads also allow creators to get their content monetized whenever someone watches an ad during their video.
While YouTube ads may differ from those on other platforms because they don't appear on users' feeds (yet), they can still target relevant users based on Google's powerful search and ad platform. YouTube is even planning to start showing ads when you pause YouTube videos.
Is YouTube Social Media? Yes!
YouTube exhibits many characteristics that make the site part of the social media landscape. It allows interactive and user-generated content, lets people connect, features personalized feeds, and has advertising. For these reasons, YouTube is a social media site. It's primarily a video-sharing platform similar to TikTok and Instagram Reels, but it also shares similarities with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, due to its engagement and community features.
If you enjoy using YouTube and other forms of social media, you may want to back up your social media data so that you do not lose it.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Tanveer Singh.
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