YouTube is a Thousand Times More Interesting than Television

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I stopped watching television about three years ago. It's not worth my time. I find far more interesting and diverse content on YouTube. And I can communicate directly with each and every producer on YouTube.

Last year I blogged here in the Community Voices blog that YouTube now gets more than a billion video views per day. One of the reasons YouTube is so popular is the incredible talent of people you would never see on television. Ken Middleton is a ukulele player from Newcastle under Lyme, in England. He recently uploaded his ukulele version of The Rolling Stones classic, "As Tears Go By." This song stopped me in my tracks. Johann Sebastian Bach could not exceed Ken Middleton in his ability to interpret all the subtleties of this song.

Not only is the musical performance of this song flawless, the video production quality is equally high. I adore Ken's use of black and white video to give this video the feel that it was made in the same year this song was composed, back in the mid-1960's.

After watching Ken's performance, with great relish I explored the other videos he has uploaded to YouTube, including his fantastic ukulele reviews. Next I'm going to explore Ken's favorited videos on YouTube. I'll surely find some treasures there. And after that I'm going to explore the videos created by his subscribers because anyone who subscribes to Ken Middleton on YouTube has exceedingly good taste.

If you currently spend time watching television, I should remind you that television has 500 channels, with nothing worth watching on any of the channels. YouTube has more than a million channels with some real treasures hidden in there. Pinpointing those treasures is something the Internet is good at. Witness this blog posting itself.

Send the universe a signal by canceling your cable television subscription. By putting down your remote control and picking up your mouse, you're voting for a future of more diverse entertainment content. It's a simple, powerful act to do. It's the best way I know of to tell television producers that you're expecting better quality content from them. Whether they rise to the challenge is becoming increasingly irrelevant, though. Exit left, mass media - enter right, personal media.

Phil Shapiro

The author is an adjunct professor of education and a technology commentator in the Washington DC-area. He can be reached at

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This story, "YouTube is a Thousand Times More Interesting than Television" was originally published by PCWorld.

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