Why is Youtube so Addictive?

Miah Duncan, Staff Writer

It’s 12:00 pm and you’re watching a video on Youtube. You just wanted to learn how to make your mother’s favorite dish, but suddenly you’re watching another video, and then you click another, and then another until you realize that it’s 4:00 pm. Where did the time go?

If this has ever happened to you, then you know the pain of getting caught up in Youtube.  

While one doesn’t have to be trying to find a recipe to get sidetracked on Youtube, the point is: if you spend time on Youtube, chances are, something will snatch your attention from what you were originally supposed to be doing and pull you into more and more videos. 

Youtube is a platform where videos get uploaded to entertain and inform people of all ages. On the site you can access millions of videos and create one yourself, if you wish to do so. Youtube is similar to Google in that it has a search feature that allows you to locate videos that cover an amazing number of topics.  According to Mary Bellis from ThoughtCo, Youtube was founded by three men, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim in 2006. The three were all working for PayPal at the time, and, according to Bellis, the inspiration for Youtube came to mind when Jawed was looking for a video clip of Janet Jackson when her breast was accidently exposed during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and he could not locate it on any site. 

According to Amy-Mae Turner from Mashable, Hurley, who was not working in the tech world at the time, designed the PayPal logo, which, in a way, led to Youtube. She writes, “Hurley designed the PayPal logo after reading a Wired article about the online payment company and e-mailing the startup in search of a job.” She adds that “YouTube was initially funded by bonuses received following the eBay buy-out of PayPal. You could argue that if there was no PayPal, there would be no YouTube.”

Hurley met the others at PayPal and this is where they hatched the idea for YouTube. As they began YouTube, Hurley again worked on a logo. Turner reports that Youtube was originally going to be a dating site dubbed “Tune In Hook Up” until they all decided it wasn’t a good idea. Finally launched in 2005, the first video to ever be uploaded to the site was a video titled “Me at the Zoo” which was shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo of Jawed Karim in front of an elephant enclosure. The video got 4,282,497 views. 

Of course, Youtube has evolved over the years to and is now much more than just a video sharing site. In fact, it has become its own television network as YoutubeTV has more than 70 television channels. 

Youtube has certainly grown since its start and is, according to multiple sources, worth over 100 billion dollars, which is quite a jump in its value from 2006 when Google paid 1.6 billion dollars for it. Now that we know how Youtube came about – and how much it is worth – let’s take a look at  how active the platform is and its user data. According to MerchDope, a site that has up to date information about products and other topics, the total number of people who use Youtube daily is around 1.3 billion. They also note that the total number of hours of video that is watched on Youtube each month is around 3.25 billion. Additionally, they note that about 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day! According to a site, Digital Trends, the most-viewed videos are music videos. For example, the music video for “Despacito,” which came out in 2017, is the most popular music video all- time with over 6 billion views. 

So what makes Youtube so popular and, perhaps, addictive? According to Michael Gonchar from The New York Times, You can never get bored on YouTube because there is a video for everything.” Gonchar’s point is valid as a simple topic search on Youtube because it reveals that you can search a specific genre or topic that you want to find, and you will have endless results of that very  genre or topic. This means that you can see whatever it is that you want, whether you’re bored or not, and could possibly be sucked into the world of Youtube and never get out of it (until you no longer are interested, that is). But let’s face it, nobody ever really gets bored of Youtube.