On the first of December 2011, YouTube rolled out yet another layout redesign that promised a less confusing, more streamlined interface. Well, as it is so often in life, people were unhappy, really unhappy. In a YouTube blog post announcing the new layout, comments typically read something like, “Very, very stupid thing to do, overhauling the site and making everyone have to navigate their way around something they’re unfamiliar with. But its not like YouTube cares, right? The makers of a site that should be about user content really don’t give a damn about what we want” as said by one anonymous commenter.
It seems like YouTube hit a sweet spot in 2008, as complaints from that point on specifically state that, the layout was perfected in 2008. However, YouTube developers continued changing the layout, spawning Facebook groups that are still, to this day, devoted to eliminating the new layout. In my opinion, starting petitions to try to make Google change anything, is like asking King Kong not to crush you as he scales the Empire State Building, he cares not of your tiny existence. The best we can do as humble small fries is remember better times when YouTube had a place for us in that cold robot heart.
At its core, YouTube is meant to purely be a place for finding videos that you will like. That is the bottom line; the new look seems to focus more on a visually pleasing layout, that in more than a few ways, makes finding new content impossible. YouTube has attempted to make the site more for social media and less for entertainment browsing.
2.Nothing Was Connected
In the past, YouTube was a separate entity. The YouTube community had nothing to do with Google+ or searches. Now my subscription feed is populated by videos posted on Google+ and recommended videos are primarily in response to things I have searched for with Google.
3.The Classic Look
Remember the gold subscribe button? It was classic staples like that, which made YouTube iconic. Users who had spent years getting used to one look are now expected to appreciate a sleek new look that throws out everything that made us fall in love with YouTube in the first place.
4.It Was Not About Money
Once YouTube exploded in popularity, people began to realize that big money could be made from video sharing. Videos used to be about sharing among a community and sharing stuff that was interesting. Now it seems that everyone is just producing clones of successful YouTube videos and channels. I think the Wu-Tang Clan put it best when they said, “Cash rules everything around me. C.R.E.A.M. Get The Money. Dollar, dollar, bill y’all.”
5.Organization Was Way Better
My subscription feed is constantly populated with hundreds of videos every minute. Without the ability to delete videos I have watched or don’t care about, it becomes needlessly difficult to find the videos that I am genuinely interested in.
6.Videos Weren’t Forced On You
Recommended videos used to be things that, based on your interests, you actually would like. Now, recommended content spots only go to partners or sponsored videos. Most of the time I am already subscribed to partnered YouTube channels, by recommending the same channels, YouTube is limiting new content for me to find.
Back in December when YouTube rolled out the new design, the front page came with an aggressively large advertisement for John Carpenter. Since then, YouTube has been pushing ads on users at nearly every turn. It is hard to imagine YouTube as a user driven community when corporations are spending millions of dollars to have their movies promoted constantly.
8.The Possibility of Getting Featured
As a once community driven site, the possibility to get your video featured was very tangible. With enough groundswell, a video from someone with no YouTube clout could be featured. Sneezing panda became famous because it was awesome, not because it was a partner or sponsored.
9.It Was Much Easier To Find Insane Stuff
There are dark corners of YouTube that take a detective’s eye and a boozehound’s stubbornness to find. But when you do find those gems they are everything that makes YouTube so great. Now, with all the sponsored videos and recommended partners, traveling through the looking glass of YouTube is much more difficult.
10.It Was A Community
In the past, YouTube felt like a place where creators could get together, collaborate and share videos. There was less emphasis on making it big and more focus on just having a place to share the stuff you loved. YouTube was a community for helping others promote their work. If something went viral, it stayed at YouTube. Now that YouTube is the giant that it is, if something goes viral, you can guarantee it will be on CNN in the next 30 minutes.