Back when I was a marketing student (about a hundred years ago), we studied product life-cycles with womens fashion as an example. I remember it was said back then that a fashion style hit the mature point in its life-cycle when conservative and cautious people were seen wearing the fashion. Say, someone like your grandmother or the Queen of England. (seriously – thats what the instructor said!) Have we seen the same maturing occur this last week with YouTube when the President of the United States and the Pope of the Catholic Church start making use of the technology to communicate?
YouTube and the web 2.0 culture that it represents has been around for a few years now (since 2005 according to YouTube about page). In the tech world this is forever even though it has evolved and grown along the way. Now that two long standing institutions – US presidency/200+ years, Catholic church/2000 years – have adopted online video as a communications tool does it mean that YouTube is now the equivalent of your grandmother wearing what the teen-agers were wearing last year? I don’t think so. We live in a different time from when I was a marketing student. What we are seeing now is more of an acceptance and recognition of the positive communication value online media represents.
Geeks and early adopters are moving on to other online services such as Twitter (though it’s starting to get a little too popular for some). The rest of us are just catching up and realizing the value technologies like YouTube can bring to our lives. When mainstream messengers start using this technology, mainstream audiences start using it as well. Traditional channels of communication will continue to exist because there are still hundreds of millions of people in the world that do not have access to the internet. It’s just that the traditional channel message popularity and influence will decrease in markets that enjoy regular and consistent web connections.
BTW: the Queen of England started the Royal Channel on YouTube in October 2007.