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Seeing Red : YouTube-101

Beneath the slick interface of the world’s largest video sharing service lies a trove of stories and information. On the 20th of January, members of Blank-101 brought some of these into the spotlight with YouTube-101.

The turnout was low, especially considering that the talk was about a service as widely used as YouTube. When asked if the size of the audience, that consisted of around twenty-five people, was a disappointment, Blank-101 member Anish said they had expected more people. A large chunk of the audience, he explained, would usually be from the students walking in after their 5:30 lectures. With the afternoon classes cancelled in lieu of Shashi Tharoor’s speech, attendance to their event took a hit.

The event started off with a history of YouTube and the stories of its founder. A few major YouTube channels with interesting origins were talked about. The comedy duo Smosh, for instance, were persuaded by their friends to upload a Pokémon video they’d recorded. The profane and popular Indian channel ‘BB Ki Vines’ came into existence by accident when its multi-role playing comedian Bhuvan Bam was testing out the front-camera on his new Nexus phone.

While YouTube is just another form of entertainment for a lot of us, it is the sole source of income to many of the content providers. Like all other free services, YouTube relies on ad-revenue to sustain itself and its channels. The next speaker of the evening talked about the monetization of the channels and some of its richest YouTubers. This was followed by a coverage of YouTube’s fair-use policy.

While the presentation occasionally evoked laughs with some remarks that hit home, the event was quite unlively. A couple of the presenters seemed over-rehearsed, which seemed like delivering a memorized but insincere speech.  The audience remained passive observers with no attempts at interaction. However, a lot of interesting information was disseminated, and it served satisfactorily as the basic introduction it was meant to be.

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