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How We Think About Social

By Brian Glick and James Phillips

Product Manager

Social features like commenting, rating, video responses and even just emailing or IMing a video's link have always been a part of the YouTube experience. So that's why we spend a lot of time here thinking about how to make the site an even more social place. We're especially focused on wanting to make it as easy as possible for you to find the people you know on YouTube and to follow their activity (what videos are they rating? favoriting? commenting on?) by subscribing to their channel; it's a great way to stay up on what they're into as well as discover new content yourself. As you consume these videos and start sharing your own, you in turn "feed" your friends a tasty helping of video goodness. It breaks into this virtuous distribution cycle:

As we've built these tools directly into YouTube itself, with things like friend suggestions based on your Gmail address book and connecting your YouTube account to social networks via our AutoShare feature, we've started to see people becoming even more social. Some of this activity is hard to quantify -- every day millions of YouTube links are sent via email, IM, Twitter and other communication methods -- but we can tell you that:

  • Over one million people are AutoSharing videos to Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader
  • Each AutoShared Tweet you send out from YouTube turns into an average of seven new sessions on
  • Over a million people have found and subscribed to at least one friend on YouTube based on our Friend Suggest feature
  • Most Tweeted video yesterday? Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
  • More than one million new subscriptions are created every day

We hope these numbers will only rise as we focus on giving you the tools you need to connect with the people who matter most to you. In the process, expect to be entertained and informed by the videos circulating amongst your most trusted friends, subscribers and networks. You can get started today by ensuring that you're discoverable on YouTube (click here and check off "Let others find my channel on YouTube if they have my email address") and by connecting your account to your external networks via AutoShare (click here to set that up).

What do you think "social" on YouTube means, and where would you like to see it go? Leave a comment below.