YouTube: A digital craft and content creation phenomenon

In regards to the topic of craft and digital making, I created a podcast discussing the advancement of YouTube as a media platform for content creation, as I feel one of the best forms of digital craft is video making and YouTube has solidified itself as the best medium for uploading video content to the internet.

The progression of YouTube has been quite astonishing, if someone 30 years ago had stated that in the future it would be possible to become a millionaire by frequently uploading videos to the internet, they would’ve been shut down and laughed at. My podcast examines the numbers behind the YouTube medium, the emergence of YouTube as a career path, and the comparison of online video creation to a more traditional movie studio type concept of video production.

In relation to the topic of ‘The medium is the message‘, I feel YouTube as a medium shows the non-linear aspect of digital making as it often recognised as a platform where popularity on the site is gained very unexpectedly and a trial and error type approach is taken towards the content creation, finding out what processes do and don’t work in terms of video production and engaging with a potential audience.

Feel free to listen to my podcast below:

Attached is also the text version of the podcast so you can read along:

The online media platform of YouTube has become a phenomenon for digital content creation over the past 10 years. YouTube allows for the uploading of video content to the internet and has developed from being a site filled with random, stupid videos, To one of the largest digital companies in the world where thousands of its content creators use their YouTube channel as a full time job.
The stats from YouTube show that in July 2006, 65,000 videos were being uploaded per day. But in 2017, 300 hours’ worth of videos are uploaded every minute. These are striking figures and they demonstrate the evolution of the platform in the last decade.
Digital making in the form of video has been prominent on the internet since the 1990’s, with the site being founded in 1997. But it has only been very recently that the act of video making has had a significant impact on the culture of the internet. In the past few years, there have been countless articles, videos and social media discussions relating to the money behind the content creation industry and YouTube in particular.
The most subscribed channel on YouTube is PewDiePie. The Swedish gaming personality has over 54 million subscribers and during 2015 earned 12 million USD annual revenue from his YouTube videos. This type of high level earning just from creating YouTube videos has become quite common in recent years and it’s interesting to think that YouTube content varies extremely, there are countless genres of YouTube videos including gaming, vlogs, news and music, all with their own respective high earning content creators.
This concept of production within the YouTube video framework differs greatly than the traditional industrial style ‘assembly line’ concept of production, as the creation of digitized video content and uploading it to the internet is very post industrial and greatly consists of customization and overall craftsmanship of video content.
The idea of craftsmanship was explained by David Pye in his book, ‘The Nature of Art and Workmanship’ as “The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making” (Pye, D 1968, p. 2). When relating this impression of craft to video production, we can look at traditional movie studio production as manufacturing, or “production of certainty” (Mitew, T 2017), and untraditional video production such as YouTube content creation as craftsmanship, or “production of risk” (Mitew, T 2017).
This is due to that the common nature of running a YouTube channel involves countless trial and error, experimentation and the constant change of the methodology surrounding their ideas. Even the most successful YouTubers created videos that were then deleted, and were constantly practicing their production skills. This pathway of creation would often never be followed in a traditional “movie studio” esc form of video production.
It is also interesting to point out that most successful YouTubers gained popularity quite unexpectedly, it seems fitting due to how non-linear the process of digital creation can be at times.

Reference list:

Donchev, D 2017, 36 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts,  Figures and Statistics – 2017, fortunelords, viewed 22 March,

Geraldes, J 2010, 2005-2010 YouTube Facts and Figures (History and Statistics), weblog post, viewed 22 March,

Mandle, C 2015, ‘Forbes names PewDiePie as highest-earning YouTuber with annual income reaching @12m’, Independent, 15 October, viewed 22 March,

Mitew, T 2017, The Medium is the Message II: craft, and the logic of digital making [BCM112], viewed 20 March,

Header image source

12 thoughts on “YouTube: A digital craft and content creation phenomenon

  1. Hey Alex. I enjoyed listening to your podcast – gave my eyes a good rest. Those statistics are pretty incredible. I totally agree with you when you said “in the future it would be possible to become a millionaire by frequently uploading videos to the internet, they would’ve been shut down and laughed at”… Makes me think that if someone told me as little as 10 years ago, that i would be able to access the internet, banking, calls & texts, GPS & music through one hand held device, i would have laughed in their face also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I like how you allowed readers to reate and easily understand through including the example of youtube and your exploration of its history and advancement. I also liked how you mentioned the ‘trial and error’ that is emergeing a a trend. It was also very convenient for you to provide the text of your podcast. Looking forward to reading more of your blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alex,
    This was a really cool post. I also found YouTube a really intriguing viewpoint for this week’s topic and I think the way you went about it was really well done. Whilst I do agree with the ‘trial and error’ aspect of becoming popular on YouTube, I also think that the beauty of YouTube is seen within a creators ability to post whatever they want to freely and the people that are drawn to this particular content will enjoy it and those that don’t care will click out.
    Again, really cool post and look forward to seeing more!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To start, I have to commend you on the blog post it definitely was one of my favourites! The adding of hyperlinks was very useful as it’s very easy and efficient for the audience to be able to click on the link if they weren’t sure who PewDiePie is etc. The use of SoundCloud and the podcast was very clever as it gave the overall blog a more ‘conversational’ vibe to it, while also adding the text which as you said, was so the audience can follow along. Using Youtube as an example was very different but you once again were able to back your examples up effectively. Although, personally I would’ve enjoyed you to also touch base on the other examples that were spoken about in the lecture (glitch, hyper kawaii etc.) It was still a well planned and thought out blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post, podcast specifically is so informative! I had never thought that deeply into you-tube and all the facts and number behind it but now you have provided an insight i’m certainly intrigued to find out more. The script and hyperlinks were especially helpful. So thank-you for sparking that interest. My only critique would be that perhaps the blog post relies too much on the podcast, making it central to the post rather than just an addition to back up or expand upon other points. I’d also really love to hear your personal thoughts on the topic! You have so much knowledge surrounding it i’m certain you have so many ideas and opinions everyone would love to hear. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Thats the benefit of this platform, you can express your every thought and idea whilst backing it up in fact. Again, thank you for a great read and listen! Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Alex, another great post its crazy the amount of content being created on youtube the lucrative benefits you can get from it, such as pew die pie and the wealth his generating. Plus nice hyperlink of Ted. My only recommendation for you is to use more examples of the stuff we went through the lecture. Like talk about twitch and its craft and relate to youtube as well, because they both share a lot of similarities in regards to the ‘trial and error’ you mentioned in your podcast. Overall really great

    Liked by 1 person

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