Who really knew what online networking social communities would become? First it seemed like kid stuff with vanity pages on MySpace and silly but then it grew alarming parents, high schools and later corporations. Along came Facebook for the college crowd and there was Second Life for those who wanted to interact socially in faux character.
Frankly that was all beyond me, it didn't interest me then, I had my reasons. I was an original blogger in the 90's on a major national magazine and I interacted on their forum and the magazine went on the web all the wrong ways. They're now a shell of what they were in their glory days as a magazine, because they handled the web so badly in the beginning, treating the new concept of forums and blogging on the cheap...it was a gimmick to them. It's now so laughable, they're still trying to sell a subscription version of their online magazine.
The web for me in the early part of this decade, after being an early adopter of computers and the internet, became a functional device to get information, pay bills, mildly entertain myself. I wrote for a niche website on a topic I loved and didn't have to worry about haters, trolls, critics or creeps. My readers were in love with the antiquity of telephony and the history of it, they were telephone buffs. I loved them, even those that dug into the most obscure of trivia, they were peaceful.
Then I discovered YouTube quite by accident. I wanted to see a political clip I had missed on tv and ended up spending hours on music clips and then old tv clips. It is the typical story of how hundreds of thousands of people started on YouTube. That at the end of November 2005 and in February 2006 I created my first channel composed of letters and numbers that meant something only to me. I wasn't ready to commit to this thing yet but I wanted to be able to "favorite" and comment on videos. I started poking around more and more...
Soon I was hooked on the vloggers and the drama, lurking and not commenting. Then I started commenting swift one-liners I was sure no one would pay attention to. It escalated. A year later I decided I wanted to become "for real" and I closed that channel and created my current one with the intentions of making videos with a specific purpose in mind. A purpose I might add that never happened but just as well!
Who really knew that during that time an online networking social community would develop on YouTube as a product of commenting on videos put out by vloggers? That Chad and Steve would giggle when receiving a billion dollars for YouTube from Google?
The online social community was a byproduct of a video sharing site and not the the purpose of the video sharing site unlike MySpace or Facebook. The community has been a tremendous asset to YouTube and actually had a great deal to do with building YouTube into what it is.
I'm not sure people who have MBA degrees and dollar signs in their eyes really understand human behavior and that if handled properly, there is value in that also calculates in the profit margin.
The online networking communities on various sites have taken root I believe and are beginning to form their own kinship. Similar to towns and neighborhoods and when the corporations who host the technical platforms they reside on do dumb things with terms of service, changes in the way pages operate, users rebel. It may be a free service in the sense the community users don't pay to be on the site but the community host is dependent on advertising revenue.
So what happens if online social communities revolt against YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook and say "we don't like the way things are going around here!"? The website can kick them off, shut the site down, suspend malcontents...what if the community has bonded so much and they decide to do something as a group about that?