What is YouTube and How Does it Work?

There are very few apps in this age of technology that equally connects the boomers, millennials, and the Gen-Z’s, and one of these is YouTube.

YouTube is a popular video-streaming platform that has constantly reimagined itself to appeal to all sections of society.

Whether you’re a traveler, chef, artist, musician, or simply like to divulge the latest and most interesting bits of gossip or current affairs, you’ve your niche in YouTube.

Who else remembers listening to the latest music on YouTube and rushing to convert the video to its MP3 version so that you could listen to it on your iPod later?

If you don’t, no worries. This guide is here to educate you on the best way you can use this interactive platform the way it was meant to be.

What is YouTube?

It is a portal that provides people a way to store videos online and share them with others. You can also comment and share these videos. YouTube videos can be accessed on devices like PCs, Laptops mobile phones, TV, etc.

This open video platform was first launched in 2005 and it quickly rose to its fame. It is now one of the best destinations where you can see different kinds of videos, be it educational or for entertainment.

YouTube, which is now a Google-owned website, focuses mainly on the freedom of expression and information of its users. It also allows us to join communities that we are passionate about topics like food, art, culture, entertainment, fashion, etc. 

Another reason why it has become a popular video viewing platform is because of how easy it is to use and upload videos. You can upload videos in any file format and it will convert these videos to “.FLV” format (also known as YouTube’s Adobe Flash Video Player).

It also gives you the ability to embed the videos into other websites. You just need to copy and paste the URL of the video and this enables your audience to view the video on another website of your choice.

It is not just a platform where you only search and see videos – there is a wide range of features that makes it a unique platform. Let’s delve deeper into the features provided by YouTube so that we can utilize the platform to its full capacity:

How to use the features provided by YouTube?

These are some of the main functions that YouTube users do while they are using this video platform:

  1. Search and Watch videos.
  2. Create a personal YouTube channel.
  3. Upload videos to your channel.
  4. Like/ Comment/ Share other videos.
  5. Subscribe/Follow other channels and users.
  6. Creating playlists that organize videos together according to the tastes of different people.

Working of YouTube algorithms while search videos

Now let’s look at the first function – searching and watching videos. Let’s say there is a music video that you would like to watch. To help its audience find a video, YouTube uses a complex algorithm.

This algorithm displays the results in an order using the keywords that you have used to enter in the search tab. The algorithm finds these keywords from the title, description, thumbnail, and tags that were created at the time the video was uploaded for the audience to view.

Creating your video

Would you like to share your thoughts about a topic like fashion? Or would you like to share special moments like your baby’s first steps or words with your loved ones? Well, YouTube is here to make it easy for you.

To help video-making enthusiasts share their thoughts and emotions through videos, it also provides its users with a Studio to create and publish videos on your channel. All you need is:

  • a Google account or a Gmail; 
  • a device with a video camera; and
  • a mind-blowing channel art for your YouTube channel. 

Yes, it is indeed as simple as the above list says. It doesn’t just stop here either! As an open video platform, it also provides video creators the chance to earn some money once your channel meets the requirements as stated by YouTube.

Here are some steps that you could follow for uploading a video:

  1. Upload a video file onto your channel from any of your devices like a computer or phone.
  2. Add a description for the video file. Before you publish your video, make sure you add information like a title, description, and thumbnail.
  3. Getting viewers for your video. YouTube’s search and discovery algorithm tries to match its viewers to the video they would like to watch. This process is done by checking the description, title, and thumbnail of the video, therefore make sure to put relevant keywords that make sure would be searched for by viewers.
  4. Going Viral: Once when someone likes your video, they will share it with family and friends. These viewers may even comment on your videos and you can interact back with them.

Boosting your Channel

After you have set up your channel and videos for your viewers, you can try these steps to boost up your popularity so that more of your videos could be recommended to other viewers in two ways. 

One way is through your viewers or your community members sharing the videos and another way is when YouTube’s search and discover algorithm recommends your videos to be watched by other viewers.

But, this is possible only by generating good content and engaging your community members. You can also try out these strategies to post your channel videos:

  • Scheduling when to upload new content: try to find a permanent scheduling time when your audience can expect new content so that they can tune in to your channel during that time. You can announce your schedule in your channel trailers or by reminding your viewers through your videos.
  • Creating sections and playlists: when you organize your videos in an ordered list, it is called creating a playlist. Usually, you categorize these videos under a specific theme. A section is created when you categorize the group of videos or playlists in your channel.
  • Making cash: As mentioned earlier, YouTube now helps some users to make money once the required conditions are met. You can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program to earn money from your videos. To find more about the program, you can click on this link: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/72851
  • Checking your YouTube Dashboard: Last but not least, keep a lookout on your dashboard for your channel’s status and tips.

This is how your dashboard will look like when you start creating a channel:


Some common terms on YouTube

When you become a YouTuber, you might come across some of these terms. Let us learn what some of these terms mean:

  1. Watch time: It’s a term used for how long viewers watch content. When you upload your videos, you will be able to find the watch time report for each video given to you by YouTube Analytics in your dashboard.

    Watch time is an important aspect that you need to look out for as the YouTube algorithm may suggest your videos to watch to other viewers depending on the viewer’s viewing pattern.
  1. Subscribers: This is a term referred to the viewers of your channel. Becoming a channel’s subscriber indicates that you wish to see more content of the person leading that channel.

    Subscribers play a major role in making your videos go viral as the more time they spend watching your channel the more increase there will be in the watch time rate.

    You will be able to see the “Subscribe” button below every video. Once you click on it, then you will receive a notification wherever for favorite YouTuber posts a video on their channel.
  1. Community: this term refers to your most loyal audience on another level. They subscribe to your channel, give you recommendations on how to improve your videos, and advertise your video to their friends and family.

    They are the most valuable asset you can get as a YouTuber. The best thing you can do for them is by engaging in conversations with your audience in the Comments section of your videos.

    You can even sometimes host live videos and make videos upon your community members’ request.

How YouTube stores its videos?

Here is an amazing fact: approximately 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and approximately 1 billion people watch regularly use this powerful video platform to watch and upload videos.

Every time a video gets uploaded, it is stored in one of the 14 Google data centers that are spread across the entire world. So every time you upload a video, it gets stored inside the nearest data center in your area.

But when someone else is trying to watch your video who is miles away from you, then the video gets copied into the data center nearest to him and it is then played on screen. This is also to ensure that in case if one of the data centers malfunctions then the data is sent to the next center so that it wouldn’t be lost or corrupted.

That’s just how technology is – amazing in the way it can connect the most farthest living humans possible. With this, we have come to the end of how to use your YouTube guide – have fun browsing and creating!

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