You Tube: the emblem of the “participatory culture”

You Tube is a simple website for sharing video, as there are many others, but, thanks to rapid growth and variety of content, has earned a position of supremacy in the world. This also doing emerge as the value of the site is the result of three concurrent forces: You Tube Inc, users who upload video content and the public that uses them. So, different groups of participants contribute, shaping the site as a cultural, fluid and dynamic system, very essence of participatory culture.

It therefore goes beyond the original vision of You Tube as a simple video sharing platform, expressed by the slogan “Broadcast Yourself”, to embrace, instead, its informative purposes within popular culture. By analyzing the relationship between You Tube and the mainstream media, You Tube is seen both as a space for the flow of amateur content, whether as a significant player in the new economy, raising copyright issues and the business media.

You Tube is therefore the digital revenge, the hybrid media space, showcase of the desire to do (tutorial of all kinds) and to show (the bedroom culture). The alternative window to the commercial world.

All this helps to create a culture of participation that regulates and directs itself. For example, many important YouTubers are reluctant to moderate or delete comments because such controls are unethical and far from the values  that should distinguish participatory culture.

You Tube is the mature fruit of modern cyber culture, with its roots in comics, in free radio, in home movies: for this is not a revolution, but a convergence.

Written by Nardos Maffia


Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.

Burgess, J. Green, J. (2009). YouTube. Milano: Egea.


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