You don’t usually think of books when you’re on YouTube. But the web is now abuzz with lit enthusiasts pleading for a Literature Category on YouTube, hoping to build a new space for authors and readers on the video sharing site.
Fiction Circus writes in their 14-point manifesto:
“You will note that while Google has made serious, extremely well-organized attempts to purchase and control all out-of-print literature and create a massive online digital library, they have not bothered to create a ‘literature’ category for YouTube, revealing once again that they would be terrible shepherds for the human inheritance of written knowledge. Perhaps it can be argued that literature is ‘entertainment.’ But aligning literature with ‘entertainment’ is disingenuous. Literature is never merely ‘entertainment.'”
Miracle Jones of Fiction Circus says:
“I am not advocating conflict. Institutions such as YouTube are already too powerful; we cannot separate from them. They created the battlefield. Places like Google and YouTube are the circulatory and nervous systems of the American internet.
Therefore, YouTube must be infected with the disease of literature.”
But how would you file or classify videos as literature? Should YouTube just count book reviews and conversations? Is it a place for up and coming authors to launch their book trailers? Already, newly published authors are using the site for free book promos and instant linkbacks to their blogs. (Here are some book trailers on Publishers Weekly.)
Is this category where spoken-word videos are filed? Where short stories and poems dramatically and thoughtfully presented are uploaded?
Do we count book interview with authors? Fan fiction? Lengthy discussions on book characters and plots? How about book spoilers like this video?
What about those quirky stop motion animations like Spike Jonze’s tragicomic Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side)?
The whole point of categorizing videos is to make them more accessible to the readers. With about 35 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute, 490 million unique users worldwide per month (who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views monthly – as of February 2011), and a growth expectancy at US$1.7 billion in 2012, we think it’s time this video portal superpower listened to what its viewers and subscribers are clamoring for. After all, isn’t the site user-centric and user-inspired?
Right now, if you decide to upload your video to YouTube, you can only file it under these categories:
Film and Animation
News and Politics
People and Blogs
Science and Technology
Although some people are saying literature is a sub-category of Art & Entertainment, we still agree with Fiction Circus. It’s just fitting and right that YouTube create a “place to craft and innovate multimedia poetry and fiction videos”.
What do you think? Does Literature deserve its own category on YouTube?
How precise must they be? Or should we just get off YouTube, shut down the pc and start reading a book?
Enough with those cute cats, how-to-dougie videos and 4-year olds singing Adele, right?