The Astonishing Power of YouNow

Amanda Hess, Dec 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"That's how it used to be, you created drama and you got a lot of followers, that's what it was originally." This bit of wisdom comes from a 14-year-old on YouNow, a video chatting site that at the same time broadcasts the conversation (and video) live to any number of anonymous viewers. From what I can see, 14 seems to be the average age of broadcasters. Or maybe 18. How new is YouNow? It doesn't have it's own Wikipedia page yet (it redirects to BlogTV (but there's a German page)). What do people do? Pretty much anything, mostly ordinary stuff, like live-streaming themselves as they sleep (more). Sure, you can broadcast yourself, but most seem to broadcast themselves in conversation with guests. This Slate article is about social media producing stars. Irrelevant. As I watch it, I see it being about people making connections. The one weird thing is that people tip the presenters. There are other sites that do that, but I can't discuss them in a family newsletter.

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