by Rachel Shannon, Co-Administrator

As a community of YouTubers, we traditionally comprised of self-broadcasters but have fantastically expanded to so much more.

A few taps can take you from watching animations to music videos, product reviews to how-to-anything – all from people just like you. I wanted to give us a moment to bask in our incredible mishmash of talent, ideas and energy. What has been born in collaborations, shared thoughts and big dreams is truly terrific.

Can you believe that what is uniting us, allowing us community and growing a culture is essentially a website that we upload onto? This whole global Community has the power to be brought together through the magic of a video-search-engine.

What does this mean for the next generation of Culture, though, on and off-line? I love learning about other cultures. Internet-culture included, I find it fascinating. But this I think is where it gets a little dark. Are our likes and dislikes being more influenced by YouTube than our local influences offline? Is our environment snowballing into ‘same-ness’ of thought and what is considered ‘good’? Can anyone hold a different opinion in online ‘country’ and still have their opinion held as valid or their idea of ‘good’ be what the majority considers bad?

I’m wondering that as the physical distances of land and sea are done away with in this virtual country, will this mean that the differences in cultures will start to disappear too? I think I’m most concerned about ‘the West’ expanding into a gargantuan ugly mono-culture as pedalled by the current majority of YouTubers. We know something of how powerful and widely consumed YouTube is but also how much is coming just from the UK and the US. Perhaps, looking at the vast Asian YouTube Culture, you may say that I am speaking without the view from outside my own ‘bubble’, and that what is happening on the other side of the globe to me here in Britain is arguably more influential.

The flipside of the coin stands. YouTube can be truly terrific. We can literally ‘be’ anywhere through a video.

We can swim the Great Barrier Reef or find ourselves at a club in San Fran. We be part of playing dollies with a French family if we so wish or go and witness poverty through someone else’s first-hand experience in Gambia. This, opportunity and ‘capturing’ of the world’s varied and beautiful cultures I hope will stop the threatened ‘mono-culture’. That the diversity on YouTube will fuel good. That it will promote the same ‘mind-broadening’ that travel is claimed to bring and that we will all be better off for it.

What do you think? Will the Internet-world have beautiful pockets of culture for ‘virtual-tourists’ to explore and learn from or do you believe that we are edging towards a dull-same-ness in YouTube-land. Let us know in the comments or tweet us @LondonSmallYT.

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