The Prevalence of User-Generated Content

A study from by Jean Burgess et al. found that user-created videos accounted for over half of the most popular content (in favorites, views, discussed and responded). To illustrate the high-profile presence of some amateur YouTube videos, the All Time Most Viewed video, with 171,789,691 views, was a user-generated clip:' Charlie bit my finger - again !' circa late March 2010. However, Lady GaGa's 'Bad Romance' video actually overtook Charlie bit my finger, due partially to fan motivation to bring Lady GaGa to the top of this list, garnering quite a bit of mainstream media attention.

Emblematic of YouTube's user-created content is the conversational vlog genre. Out of the 2,117 videos in the study by Burgess et al. that were user created, 40% were vlogs. The next most popular genres were user created music videos, accounting for 15% of the user-produced content, followed by live material with 13%, and scripted material with 8%.

Below are my observations regarding vlog prevalence according to YouTube's own measures of popularity:

-Among the All Time Most Discussed videos, vlogs by juicystar07 are ranked 1st and 4th with 1,009,916 and 609,954 comments respectively. However, these videos are actually advertising a prize give-away from American Express, placing them in the ever-growing middle territory between the commercial and amateur on YouTube. The next Most Discussed vlog style video is 'LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!' by itschriscrocker with 465,079 comments. Its dubious authenticity has been the subject of thousands of response videos and comments, however the creator maintains its veracity and executed all of the previous videos in the same stereotypical vlog style.

-The video with the 4th most video responses of all time (6,259), is a vlog by modernoracle in which the user proposes that YouTube viewers create an 'original music database' by uploading their own songs as a response to his video.

-The video with the second highest rating of all time was a vlog by BrittaniLouiseTaylor called 'SHOUT OUT SUNDAY #15'. However, this has changed drastically with the new rating system of thumbs up/down, rather than stars: Vlogs are still at the top of the new rating list, but the top rated vlog, published much more recently is now actually 'Stadium Explosion' by kevjumba.

-At least two-thirds of the top 25 YouTube channels with the most subscriptions are primarily vlog style videos, while the top 25 most viewed YouTube channel includes only about three explicitly vlog-centric channels.

-The first vlog to appear on the All Time Most Viewed list, in 21st place with 69,688,120 views, was video by the user kicesie called Relationship Perfection.

-Among the top 25 Most Favorited Videos of All Time, there were no vlogs to be found.

From all of this information, it is evident that people interact with user-created content, especially the vlog, differently from professional content like music videos and commercially produced entertainment. While vlogs are not "most viewed" or "most favorited", they do tend to rank high on the "most commented", "most responded" and "most subscribed" lists. This implies that viewers do not intend on viewing vlogs multiple times by saving them to their favorites, or increase viewership by watching them multiple times and sending links to others. My informal observations, in concordance with the information by Burgess et al., highlights the function of the vlog as a social token, used primarily for communication and interaction, rather than pure visual/passive consumption.

.txt - home