YouTube: About Findability or Futility

February 21, 2020

I am a librarian. My view is that YouTube search is not too good. When I was in library school, one of my professors used the technical term “stinks” when describing some retrieval systems. Maybe that term works in this post’s context?

Let’s try it out, “YouTube search stinks.” Would my former professor agree? I don’t know.

YouTube wants to improve its search function and Make Use Of reports on how, “Searching For The Right YouTube Channel Gets Easier With These 5 Sites.” It is difficult to find specific channels or even decent recommendations on YouTube, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. You can spend time mastering YouTube search or you can use Web sites that do the work for you.

The first useful tool is actually on the YouTube Web site. The YouTube Trends page update every fifteen minutes and highlights the most popular videos of the day. It is not catered for individuals, but it does show what is trending with other viewers. More specific categories can be selected showing what is popular in selected area.

Channels Stacks is another choice if you are searching for educational videos. YouTube has always been an excellent platform for free educational content. Alexander Olssen created Channel Stacks to curate educational content by topic. There are currently four categories: technology, creative, business, and lifestyle.

With the rise of streaming TV channel surfing should be a thing of the past, but organic discovery still exists on YouTube. If you do not know what to watch, check out Neverthink which does the task thinking for you. All one needs to do is select download the Neverthink app, pick a theme, and zone out. Neverthink curates videos based on the them, they will be good quality, and can lead you to a creator’s other work.

CreatorSpot is the new YouTubers best friend:

“CreatorSpot is quite like ProductHunt for creators on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. The site features eight new creators every day and that gives you a window to discover a fledgling YouTuber to follow. With thousands of videos uploaded every day, it’s difficult for a new content producer to come to everyone’s attention on platforms like YouTube. The bigger names benefit from YouTube’s algorithm while the fresh creators just about try to survive. This site attempts to help them get some limelight. The platform relies on user submissions, to begin with. The creators are evaluated on quality, originality, attention, and frequency. You can use the site to not only discover new videos and content creators behind them but also recommend photographers, YouTubers, writers, influencers, and producers you know who are doing great work.”

Walnut TV literally combines YouTube and Reddit into one, which is great because Reddit’s search feature is a millions times better than YouTube. Walnut TV is exactly like Reddit with Subreddits, except everything is videos.

PocketTube is a subscription manager service that helps you organize your videos and channels. With PocketTube you can organize subscriptions into groups, personalize them with icons, and change the layout. This makes it easier to search, add, and delete videos.

YouTube may not conform to my professor’s definition of “stinks,” but the online ad giant has an opportunity to improve. YouTube may deliver futility, not findability.

Whitney Grace, February 21, 2020


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