Every social network must pass the parental test. Could you explain to your parents why they should care about a network? For almost every social network out there, the answer is going to be a resounding “no” at least some of the time. Some people just prefer to do their socializing in person, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc., simply have no allure for some people.
YouTube is the exception. Social video is a force so powerful that it doesn’t need an explanation. Just show a person any one of hundreds of now-classic YouTube videos and they get it. It makes sense that Adam Ostrow would proclaim YouTube the “social media innovation of the decade,” because not only is it the most enduring social network, it’s the easiest to get into.
Some folks will say YouTube doesn’t count as a social network because the emphasis isn’t on profiles and personal information — though the ability to connect with Facebook is changing that. But if you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube that made another person’s day, you’ve undoubtedly made a connection. As exciting as LinkedIn or Gowalla can be, video is a visceral, immediate, persuasive format. And we ignore it at our peril.
Is YouTube really top dog? Will another video site come along and dethrone it? How will Facebook integration affect the YouTube experience?