About 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, but very few videos are seen by a large audience very quickly, according to YouTube’s website.
Nicholas Riali, a university studies major, said one video on his YouTube channel has gone viral.
Riali said he has been uploading his own political commentary as a hobby to his YouTube channel, R11110000, for several years. He uploaded a video on the media coverage of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign one night, and was surprised to awaken to more than 100,000 views.
“It was a really shocking experience,” he said. “I just made a video to express my views — express myself.”
Since then, the video has garnered 748,640 views and Riali said he has gained a large subscription base on his YouTube channel. As of now, more than 7,000,000 people have watched his videos.
Communications professor Marco Briziarelli said that in order to analyze the social significance of a new medium like YouTube, the relationship between that medium and society must be considered.
“Whatever message resonates with a collective feeling or sensibility of society may potentially become viral,” he said. “It is no longer normal to be passive spectators — watching TV from the couch or reading an article written by someone in New York.”
The type of platform YouTube offers is popular because it potentially allows anyone the public visibility that once belonged only to politicians and celebrities, he said. Social movements now have a platform for messages that can be appropriated and interpreted by many people.
“That message can have political, social, cultural and economic consequences,” Briziarelli said. “There is a potential for that type of power where there wasn’t before.”
What was once a hobby is now a powerful medium for Riali.
“Imagine 100,000 people standing there and you on a megaphone promoting your ideas,” he said. “That’s a lot of influence.”
Riali said mass communication through social media has become a powerful tool, especially in politics.
“My channel and political views have reached Turkey,” he said. “The fact that a Christian in the desert by the Sandia Mountains can influence Turkey is pretty big. You don’t even have to talk to somebody; I just show them through my videos. This is the new frontier.”
Briziarelli said an important aspect of YouTube is self-identity, and that new media are analogous to individual agency.
“Because of the easy access to the media, anyone can share an idea or message. That is going to be their own expression,” he said. “It offers a platform for almost limitless self-expression.”