YouTube releases Community feature, fosters creator-audience interaction

YouTube has always been a staple in the world of social media. Along with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat, it has helped Internet users connect to others all over the globe. YouTube has allowed people around the world to watch any type of video since 2005—from funny clips of people falling down to the latest music videos from popular artists. Over time, however, YouTube has developed into a platform for more than just meaningless videos and popular music.

Nowadays, YouTube is its own separate social media platform. Not only can you watch Ariana Grande’s most recent jaw-dropping music video, but you can also keep up with hilariously entertaining vlogs—or video blogs—or talented cover artists. YouTube has become a space for people to create their own content—with no creative restrictions—and to receive feedback from their peers and followers. Fortunately for those followers, YouTube has finally decided to take it a step further.

Last week, the site released YouTube Community, a new system that allows content creators to interact with their viewers via posts with text, images, gifs and more. Instead of merely commenting on a video and hoping for a response, viewers will now be able to communicate with their favorite YouTube personalities through the Community tab on each account’s page.

YouTube Community has been in the works for the past few months, but so far a select few already love the feature, which is currently in the public beta testing stage. This means that it has only been released to a handful of users who will give feedback on the initial software. Some of these chosen testers include popular YouTube content creators John and Hank Green, AsapSCIENCE, Peter Hollens and Sam Tsui.

On their channel “vlogbrothers,” John and Hank Green explain that they are excited to use their Community page to keep fans up-to-date with their channel and other events. The new feature appears to be a mix between Facebook and Twitter, but for individual YouTube channels. Viewers and fans can leave comments and up-vote or down-vote on posts to interact with their favorite vloggers on a more personal level.

The feature will be available to more users over time, but YouTube has not offered an official release date, as they are currently collecting feedback from its select test users.

Senior Product Manager Kiley McEvoy commented in a blog post that the new addition “is a special release for us because it represents the deepest product collaboration we’ve ever done with creators like you … As creators, your ideas and feedback shape our platform, inspires new features and help us decide what to prioritize. It’s you who ultimately build YouTube, and as the new Community product shows, together, we make YouTube better for everyone.”

YouTube’s constant development over the years has been astounding. It has transformed from a simple video posting website to a tight-knit and collaborative creative community. Social media platforms often make drastic changes, which can ultimately leave users running from the unfamiliarity.

Luckily, YouTube Community seems to be a welcomed change, as audiences and content creators alike will be able to communicate more effectively and directly than ever before.