YouTube by Jean Burgess and Joshua Green

I’ve discovered in my re-involvement in academia that books are hard to come by. To some extent that is a function of the extortionist practices of academic publishers which force university libraries into spending enormous amounts of money on subscriptions to journals and on a certain kind of text/reference book. They are priced at hundreds of dollars for no good reason and as a consequence they are not available to ordinary people who wish to purchase a – let’s face it, likely ordinary – book.

Polity Press is a happy exception, churning out accessible, useful books at a price which is not beyond consideration. Happily, even when they are doing rather contemporary subjects, such as the Internet, the books nonetheless have a comfortingly conventional appearance with a readable layout and typeface. Yay for Polity.

YouTube is one of theirs. If you are like me and know nothing about this site, you can mend your ways with this account of how YouTube works behind the scenes. I had no idea, for example, that there is a ‘community’ on YouTube and that it developed from the very beginnings of the site and bitterly fought the changes that began taking place after Google bought it, presaging its commercialisation. Since then an uneasy relationship has developed between YouTubers and the provider, with the notion of  doing it for money filtering down from the big business interests that kicked this off in the early days.

I’m especially interested in the ways in which online social network platforms are established and how that impacts upon the relationship between provider and user and from this point of view the book’s super informative. In fact it would be a really interesting exercise to compare the first and second editions of this, published 2009 and 2018 respectively, so much changed over this period. However, I’ve noticed how much I love – really LOVE – rabbit holes and I can’t figure out how to justify this one. 😦

Burgess, Jean, and Joshua Green. 2018. YouTube. Second edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

PS: I had no idea just how huge YouTube is. A list here gives its present worldwide monthly traffic, not only at number one, but with the same number of hits as numbers 2-5, that is in order: Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter and Amazon.

6 thoughts on “YouTube by Jean Burgess and Joshua Green

  1. Cathy: I’m always up for hearing about a new to me publisher, especially one that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg (do people still use this expression, or am I dating myself?) for books, so many thanks for the review (I’ll definitely check them out). As for YouTube itself — I had never really thought about the platform, so I find your review very interesting (I really must educate myself BTW).

    • I intuitively wanted to ignore platforms like this partly because it didn’t feel like there was a meaningful ‘community’ so it was an interesting discovery. The thing is that all these mega online social media sites start somewhere and that’s with person one. This isn’t necessarily something you think about when you come to a place like this when it’s already very large and very chaotic.

  2. Agree with you, it would be a fascinating project to compare the two editions of the book. There was a time when if you wanted to know anything, you turned to Google. Increasingly though I go straight to You Tube. It’s helped me grow aubergines, sew celebration bunting and fix a washing machine!

    • Yes, BookerTalk, I find that too. For me it started with knitting, so many mostly women proffering solutions or explanations of everything.

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