Opinion: Here’s How YouTube Is Shaping Up as the Perfect Facebook Alternative

Published by Jesse Afolabi on


We all undoubtedly know that video is a big part of the future of media considering that every single media conglomerate, and even traditional hardware manufacturers like Apple together with social networks like Facebook are trying to grab a piece of that pie. Unmistakably, this is all in an effort to safeguard their bottom line and keep investors happy. More importantly, however, this means an intense competition in the media space making it a huge win for consumers. On the downside, it could, unfortunartely mean a fragmented experience for end-users as well.

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Hollywood, LA

Quite confidently,  this is bound to remain the status-quo in the media industry and in order to survive in this era of streamable content, it’s only wise that traditional social networks adapted by offering content that is bound to stand the test of time which is videos.

And as you may know, YouTube has the upper hand when it comes to videos considering YouTube is the single largest video repository in the entire world, so it is no surprise that they are slowly gravitating towards this avenue of a properly established video-first social network.

This is unlike what Facebook has put together which is a Frankenstein monster of a social network, marketplace, videos and just about anything you can throw in the mix.

This is problematic because bringing all these parts of its business together on a single platform kinda makes Facebook’s supposed identity as a social network misplaced/questionable.

On that note, Facebook is increasingly hostile in regards to its unscrupulous data-collection practices with what is an absolute disregard for user privacy.

Thankfully, however, there are still some companies that have respect for user data … we are certainly aware of what’s being done with them but we effectively consented and are not particularly worrisome about data breaches but definitely conscientious. 

YouTube’s Video Prowess:

At this point, overstating YouTube’s significance is basically redundant considering they’re a formidable force in the video space. You could even argue that YouTube was already transitioning from its social media status to that of a social network before Google+ was phased out.

Youtube screengrab showcasing interface

At some point, it had the feature of messages but that was scrapped for what was apparently misplaced priorities. And now, we have the ever-popular stories, status update from creators, community tab et al.

On that note, you could argue that the dwindling interest in Facebook as a social networking platform is giving the social media giant, YouTube, the necessary edge to compete and provide solutions users actually need WITHOUT ruining the traditional YouTube experience.

YouTube VS Facebook

Also, given the ever-increasing popularity of YouTube In the video space, it’s not too hard to see their potential in the long run if they do, in fact, go down the path of a well-established video-centric social media network. 

Ties with Chromebooks:

## unrelated but there’s definitely some potential

Understanding that YouTube’s massive popularity is a given and Stadia is certainly here to stay, Google should effectively harness the potential that these sister platforms bring in order to increase the publicity of Chromebooks.

Now you may ask, what are the possibilities of this initiative and how can it effectively tie to the future of Chrome OS? 

A viable tactic would be pairing Chromebooks with Stadia, YouTube Premium, and Play Pass as a bundle targeted at teenagers (who have used Chromebooks in the past) for an entry-level price and Google might just be on their way to winning a generation of new users. Additionally, such a deal could potentially foster Stadia’s adoption as well.

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Of course, this is by no means me recommending a business approach – I barely understand the economics of it all – but merely suggesting a practical approach from a technical perspective. 

Moreover, This can be a particularly effective sales pitch for consumers in western markets (especially during the fall shopping season craze) which will further increase/encourage the adaptability of Chromebooks.

So, can YouTube really replace Facebook?

It is a known fact that YouTube is a video-first platform but it remains to be seen how continual implementation of traditional social networking features might influence YouTube’s delicate business model.

Perhaps, Google will pull out of the whole shebang in fears that the entire YouTube experiment might go bust? Or we’re already living the reality of a YouTube social network experiment? That’s really up to anyone to decide.

Additionally, taking on the smeared identity of what it means to be a social network might end up being detrimental to the overall perception of YouTube especially if any sort of data breach were to befall the platform.

Pixelbook Go or Pixelbook 2?

A more palatable form of social media networking popular amongst youths is Instagram (owned by Facebook) and there’s (arguably) a bit YouTube could learn from their transitioning from a photo-focused social network to one of a video-centric appeal while still maintaining the inherent nature the networking platform has had from the start.

This is more or less in terms of integration … that is, Instagram integrated video capabilities seamlessly and doesn’t feel like a borrowed element on the platform, unlike Facebook. So far so good, YouTube has integrated some key traditional social-networking features it currently has without much hassle.

Conclusively …

What it means to be a social network is already tainted with the negatives of data breaches [due to recklessly implemented security protocols] an unregulated system of abuse, and wild possibilities.

This, ironically and theoretically works to the advantage of Facebook in regards to increased user-engagement and harvesting user data. Added to this, unscrupulous actors regularly exploit Facebook’s lax data policy to the detriment of its users.

These so-called actors use these exploits to their advantage which inevitably almost-always lead to exposed user data, increased privacy concerns and distrust in big tech.

Perhaps that negative image of social networks can be reversed; perhaps the idea of YouTube as a properly established video-first social network should be laid to rest?

Well, I don’t have an answer to that but I can certainly draw the verdict that if the end product is user-driven, community-oriented, and privacy-focused; profitability won’t be a problem and it could be a win-win for both YouTube and its users alike in the long run. 

Would you entertain the idea of a full-fledged YouTube social experience?

Jesse Afolabi

I founded ItsChromeOS in 2018 to spread the word on the future of Chrome OS with a passionate team of enthusiasts. Care about Chrome OS Flex? We cover that too! ItsChromeOS isn't your average blogging space, it's a Chrome-first space for the everyone using Chrome OS. Support our vision here: donate.itschromeos.com

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