As it becomes increasingly obvious a sea change is occurring at YouTube with respect to how the company conducts business and governs its user base, it’s time we had a meaningful conversation about the use of third-party content aggregation platforms and the long-term effects of putting too many eggs into the same basket.
Only a few generations have been lucky enough to witness the birth of the World Wide Web (and mass commercialization of the Internet proper) and still have the privilege of living a reasonable number of years on both sides of that flashbulb moment in history. Mine is one of them: together, we’ve grown with it, nurtured it, augmented our lives with it, watched it evolve — and we’ve drawn incredible benefit from the technological revolution that followed. Today all manner of computer systems cross paths with our lives hundreds of times on a daily basis, and most times, it rarely elicits a thought.
We’ve become so intimately tied to our technology that invisible design has become an exquisitely refined, and generally expected, norm. Where once the sharing of content on the Web was an intellectually expensive and fairly time-consuming undertaking — often requiring an individual to learn various back-end technologies and programming languages as well as visual design and its attendant software — nowadays, most people rely on a multitude of turn-key solutions that do much of the thinking and heavy lifting for us, offering decent integration with very little downtime.
Well, at least until that service changes the rules, limits its features, crashes, or liquidates its assets.
Then we have a problem.