- Published: Friday, 08 August 2008 21:59
- Written by Jonathan Walker
Would YouTube be successful if users could only post videos anonymously, with nothing to identify the creator?
What if they were also unable to create their own userpage, listing their films and all the people who subscribed to them? If there was no way of knowing how many people had watched the videos, and no way of rating them or leaving comments?
YouTube is not a hit because it has videos. Of course, it wouldn't work without them, or something else to replace them. But it's successful because it provides an opportunity for people to create an identity, and use that identity to say something and to be creative in front of audience. To show off.
In my Seesmic talk about the future of newspapers, I said that our websites should allow people to post or bookmark videos and photos, create their own blogs, create personal profiles and all sorts of other stuff, all on, for example, the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail websites.
I then said that some people might not think reader-submitted videos and pictures were the way forward for newspapers, but, I added, this wasn't the point.
The point is to allow them to create an identity. To express themselves. To communicate with - and show off to - other people, however exactly they do it.
This is one of the reasons people take part in (rather than passively consume) internet media. It allows them to make their mark, and we should do everything we can to allow them to make their mark on our "newspaper", whatever form that newspaper takes.
After all, we are already established as a key part of our local communities. Our brands are still strong - and prestigious. Let's give readers the chance to be a part of them.
(By the way, I have added an example of a video bookmarking component to this website, to illustrate what it means. Hit the "videos" page from the top menu to try it).