Monday, October 10, 2022

Why YouTube is Different: A Conversation with Mark Bergen

Social media often seems like an element tacked on to our culture. Its fads come and go. Things like Instagram, Tick Tock, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat are often fungible and subject to the laws of creative destruction.

On the other hand, companies like YouTube and its parent Google feel like they are deeply integrated into our lives. We search on Google, learn, and can be entertained on YouTube. They have become essential utilities to get through life.

As such, YouTube often gets less scrutiny, for both its influence and its business practices. When Andy Warhol said that everyone would be famous for 15 min, he could not have imagined YouTube, that everyone would be able to broadcast themselves to the planet and make money while doing it.

More than an add-on to our culture, in many ways YouTube is our culture. Unlike those other social media whose apps come and go, YouTube is our culture, or at worst as its CEO Susan Wojcicki says, "it’s a mirror of who we are."

Capturing both its history and its cultural role is journalist Mark Bergen in his new book, LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE.

My conversation with Mark Bergen: