I remember being in junior high school and taking a trip to the Museum of Television and Radio. There, we basically had access to any television program ever produced. My friends and I thought this was the coolest museum ever! We were totally in control and had thousands and thousands of television shows, mini-series, and TV movies at our fingertips. Fifteen years later, YouTube is king. Within seconds, from the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can access anything at any time, free of charge.
YouTube affects our lives on a daily basis, in terms of how regularly and to what extent we interact with the internet. The site is also shaping our culture as a whole. People want to watch what their friends, family, co-workers and neighbors are watching, enjoying and taking about. And they want to be able to see this material IMMEDIATELY. I think that this sense of immediacy is a big part of YouTube's appeal.
YouTube is great- it gives a voice to a population of individuals who now have the freedom and venue to showcase their art and express themselves. However, I can’t say that everything posted on YouTube qualifies as art. And that’s okay too. While I go to YouTube on a fairly regular basis, I couldn’t help but laugh at Garfield’s comment: “Third millennium humanity has demonstrated an interest in sifting through millions of pieces of crap produced by total strangers to discover a few gems”. That kind of sums it up.