This week, YouTube rolled out a beta test of YouTube Community — this new product, nested within a tab on creators’ channels, introduces more social capabilities to the video platform, allowing creators to share text, images, GIFs, and live video with their audiences.
YouTube’s rich creator and fan communities are its chief asset, and this new product gives creators an easier and more extensive method of sustaining their audiences, and gives fans more access to creators. These updates appear within the subscriptions tab of the mobile app, and users can opt-in for push notifications to be kept up-to-the-minute on their favorite creators.
Currently limited to 12 prominent creators, YouTube Community will be rolling out to all channels in the coming months. The feature is a key addition to YouTube’s social capabilities, and means creators will no longer have to rely on other social platforms like Facebook or Twitter to engage in real-time conversations with their audiences. And as promised at VidCon, creators now have easy access to mobile livestreaming — a highly anticipated feature that brings YouTube’s live product more directly in competition with Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope.
As the battle for ad revenue and audience viewership continues, social video platforms are increasingly beginning to resemble each other with similar features. Facebook admits that the social network is moving toward becoming all video, and Twitter has signed deals to livestream video from news, sports, and finance partners.
While YouTube Community unlocks new social capabilities on YouTube, the platform still places video at the forefront of the user experience, relegating social functions to a supplementary role. In light of Facebook and Twitter’s recent moves to position themselves as video-first, we’ll see if all the social video platforms will follow suit.