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I Trusted the Internet to Save My Favorite YouTube Channel--The Internet Lost It
By: The Verge
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The other day, while feeling nostalgic, I remembered a YouTube channel I had loved to watch in high school. Created by a teenager from Connecticut, the videos were mostly lo-fi comedy sketches starring their young amateur director and some people I assumed were his closest friends. I wanted to rewatch the videos, to remember the feeling that came with streaming them on a loop from a bedroom I slept in a decade ago, but I couldn't. I don’t remember the creator's name, the name of the channel, or the titles of any of the videos. All I remember are frustratingly insignificant details, like how one clip featured a garden gnome and a song by Belle & Sebastian.

Finding this YouTube channel now feels hopeless, because the internet, as I experience it, has grown from a handful of aisles to a maze curving in endless directions. Unlike when I discovered that YouTube channel for the first time, I can’t hope to stumble upon the missing videos by aimlessly surfing. The number of people using YouTube between then and now has increased substantially — YouTube had an estimated 50 million users in 2006; now it has more than 1 billion. Last year, Tubular Insights estimated over 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. There’s just too much stuff to sift through.

For all of the talk of innovation and disruption, sometimes the internet most closely resembles one of the musty institutions it displaced: the library. Like a library, the internet is an information management system, a bunch of stacked shelves storing images and videos, texts and sounds. As time has passed, these shelves have become increasingly dense with data. Like librarians, companies have intervened to better curate and index all this information. Facebook stores your photos from your birthdays, Twitter holds onto your daily thoughts, Google possesses any concrete knowledge you might have learned in the past or will learn in the future, and each offers some method for finding what you need within their endless corridors. But all these new, complex filing systems create a problem that didn’t exist at the outset: things are now much more likely to get lost in the stacks.


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This article was published on The Verge. A link to the original article can be found after the post.
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