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Happy Birthday, YouTube

By Rich Heldenfels Published: May 20, 2013

YouTube -- which has helped me and many others spend crazy amounts of time browsing for old music clips to watch and post in this blog and on Facebook -- has declared today ts eighth birthday. Some stats from a publicist:

In 2013, more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.* That’s more than four days of video uploaded each minute!  In 2012, it was 72 hours of video uploaded every minute. In 2011, it was 48 hours and in 2010, it was 35 hours.

Every month, more than 1 billion people come to YouTube to access news, answer questions and have a little fun.  That’s almost one out of every two people on the Internet.

That also helps explain why YouTube is a corporate behemoth, a launching pad for entertainers, a place to find trailers for new movies -- and in general not the scrappy, amateur place it once was. That has taken some of the fun out of it, but pleasure can still be found. And it's an extraordinary research. I and my composition students have turned to YouTube for material when discussing various topics, including how best to make an argument. And, if you've been thinking about local anchor Wilma Smith, you can compile a video history of her local TV work via YouTube. I have seen clips going back more than 30 years, like this one:



Much like the Internet generally, YouTube has offered us a way to see our collective history in all its wonders and eccentricities. Sure, some of it is trivial and some of it is blindingly overcommercial. But think how it felt to watch that vintage clip above -- what it said not only about Smith, but about what local news used to be. I am a YouTube addict, and not at all sorry about it.

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