YouTube is more than just cheap entertainment


Leea Ivanel/Screenshot of YouTube

When Markiplier, one of the most popular YouTubers, reached six million subscribers his fans made a video showing their appreciation for all of his hard work. This gesture, and the emotional impact it had (with Markiplier quickly ending up in tears), shows the uniqueness of YouTube's audience-creator relationship.

Leea Ivanel, Staff Writer

After being awake since 4 a.m., going through six hours of school, and doing homework till 10 p.m., there’s not much else I want to do at the end of the day apart from curl up with a blanket and watch YouTube.

Still, there are people who don’t quite understand this because YouTube is a relatively new entertainment platform with a different feeling than traditional TV.

It’s YouTube’s uniqueness that makes it special, however.

Unlike TV, where content making is restricted to a few professional news anchors and comedians, anyone can share essentially any video they want on YouTube, leading to an astonishing 300 hours of video being uploaded every minute.

This mass creation of content has made the platform one of the most diverse places on the internet, with a little something for anyone to watch. In the mood for something educational? Watch Ted-Talks or VICE documentaries, or perhaps spend three hours learning about linguistics. Want something funny? Watch Jenna Marbles make her dog fly using 72 balloons or Shane Dawson’s “dumb life hack” videos. Feeling sad? There’s always an unlimited supply of “dog and elephant are best friends” clips which will melt your heart. No matter what someone is looking for, YouTube has got them covered.

No matter what someone is looking for, YouTube has got them covered.”

— Leea Ivanel

However, YouTube is more than just entertainment — after a while, it becomes a routine. No matter how bad things go at school or how frustrated I am, I can always just turn on YouTube and relax for half an hour while watching the new uploads of my favorite YouTubers, setting a pattern of comfortable familiarity.

It’s YouTube’s content creators that make YouTube so special. Unlike TV stars, most YouTubers aren’t tied to big companies or contract deals; they are simply people sitting on their couches and coming up with creative ideas.

I started watching PewDiePie when he had only 3 million subscribers, and now he has 53 million. I remember the days when Jenna Marbles’ videos looked like they were shot with a potato and she uploaded only rants and drunk makeup tutorials. Dan and Phil used to be two awkward friends who met online, with Dan dropping out of university and not really knowing what to do with his life, and now they have published two books and traveled the world together.

Getting the opportunity to see these people grow and find themselves over the years, through good and bad times, has been a truly inspirational experience for many people, including me. Many of these YouTubers have taught us that a positive outlook, the ability to laugh at everything, and simply being yourself can get us all through a lot.

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Most amazingly though, YouTube has brought people together from all over the world, all able to laugh at the same jokes, get scared at the same video game jump scare, and cry at the same sad ending — and that wouldn’t have been possible without YouTube’s existence.

For that, YouTube is a lot more than just another platform for cheap entertainment.