YouTube: Harnessing Collective Intelligence

YouTube: Harnessing Collective Intelligence

This week’s blog is all about YouTube and how it is used as a Web 2.0 Application in Harnessing Collective Intelligence. Before getting into the details, I’d like to ask you a very simple question…

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free online video-sharing service that allows users to broadcast themselves. YouTube is the home for online video. YouTube is a website designed to allow users to interact with people from all over the world by allowing its users to upload videos. YouTube provides its users with a forum to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for originally created content.

Now how is this Web 2.0 Application used to Harness Collective Intelligence?

Harnessing Collective Intelligence is all about creating a platform for users, whereby they are provided with the opportunity to participate that involves them to both implicitly and explicitly add value to an application.

Now, in regards to YouTube and Harnessing Collective Intelligence, YouTube has done this effortlessly by providing its users with a platform to participate and add value to the application. First and foremost, YouTube has added value by allowing its members to upload and share videos across the globe. Secondly, YouTube members are also given the opportunity to participate and add value through commenting on videos, ‘like and dislike’ features, sharing videos across a number of social networking websites such as Facebook, and by also ‘embedding’ videos on one’s personal website.

How does YouTube compare to its competitors?

While there are many other video-sharing websites out there, today I will compare YouTube with DailyMotion. YouTube and DailyMotion are very much the same in regards to commenting on videos, ‘like and dislike’ features, sharing videos across a number of social networking websites such as Facebook, and by also ‘embedding’ videos on one’s personal website.

Although YouTube and DailyMotion offer the same participation and added value, YouTube comes out on top due to its much bigger market which allows its members with a higher chance of receiving responses as far as participation goes. YouTube is also user-friendly, popular and provides users with much quicker ‘loading’ time than DailyMotion.

Legal and Ethical Issues Associated with YouTube

One of the great features that YouTube offers users is the ability to watch videos online for free without having to create an account. Even if a user does create an account, YouTube only asks for a username and password and a valid e-mail address linking it to your account. No further personal details are required unless a users wishes to create a profile. It is however, also up to the user whether they would like to activate any available security / privacy measures that YouTube offers.

Future Direction

The future of YouTube seems bright! In the not too distant future, YouTube is aiming to move from being a site that’s organised around individual videos to one that’s organised around sets of videos. YouTube is also aiming to provide a more personalised platform that will suit what its members are interested in by providing users with their own channels.


Educause Learning Initiative. (2006). 7 Things you Should Know About…YouTube.

Swift, M. (2011). Salar Kamangar, YouTube CEO, Talks About the Video Site’s Future.

YouTube. (2011). About YouTube.

YouTube. (2011). Privacy at YouTube.


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  1. #1 by Fabi on March 15, 2011 - 12:15 pm

    Good blog entry, but I can’t really see how YouTube is harnessing collective intelligence. For me it is just a vast video database, which recommends videos based on your previous queries. It doesn’t create an additional benefit out of the videos.

    • #2 by bkb90 on March 15, 2011 - 10:22 pm

      Hi Fabi. I understand what you are saying, that YouTube is just a vast video database. And it may seem like it, however, harnessing collective intelligence is all about creating an architecture of participation that involves users to both implicitly and explicitly add value to an application. And I think that’s exactly whats happening with YouTube. Users from all over the world are adding value to the application by uploading and sharing videos whether it be ideas, learning experiences, providing advice to others etc. YouTube is used as a forum today to visually display and express themselves to the world.

      • #3 by benry07 on March 16, 2011 - 10:10 am

        Very nice blog, i also agree with you aswell that YouTube harnesses collective intelligence, YouTube has reached out to a wide range of users such as businesses, schools and general users.

  2. #4 by Anonymous on April 7, 2011 - 4:38 pm

    I was taken by the ingenuity of your topic, very interesting!!

  1. Raumluftentfeuchter

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