Pondering the length of the Tube

I do enjoy YouTube. I’m conscious that more and more of my time is spent consuming content from there, and creating content which is uploaded there.

Some of the material I’ve created appears on my channel, for general consumption, and those videos are usually linked from here, but quite a lot of it is not publicly listed, and is family, university, business stuff you can only find if you have the right links. At the time of writing, I have about 160 videos uploaded. Some have had just a couple of views. Some have had a couple of hundred thousand.

Hovering in the back of my mind, though, is the long-term danger of being so dependent on a platform I don’t control. I’m not too worried that YouTube will go away any time soon, though Google do have a tendency to cancel products on a pretty regular basis. This blog used to contain quite a few links to content on Google Video, for example. Remember that?

No, YouTube is too big just to vanish now. But it’s very possible that, at some point, there will be a significant change in the way it works: in the licensing, the amount of advertising, or, more worryingly, in how long they are willing to keep archiving material. We’ve seen other sites, like Flickr, decide that they can’t keep holding on to all your stuff forever. Or they may decide to start charging, and perhaps charging too much, to hang on to it for you.

So I have to assume that, at some point, everything I’ve done on YouTube will need to be shifted somewhere else. I used to ensure that anything I uploaded there was also on Vimeo, but I haven’t been quite that diligent recently. Nor could I easily lay my hands on the original masters of all the videos I’ve created.

No, a big item for my to-do list – perhaps a New Year’s resolution for 2021 – is to catalog all my videos and make sure that, for every YouTube video ID, I can create a URL to an equivalent hosted somewhere else. (Remember the golden ‘3-2-1’ rule of backups: You should have at least 3 copies of everything, using at least 2 different methods, and at least 1 should be off-site. Off-site may mean “off somebody else’s site” if they have the primary copy!)

Anyway, I don’t think this will happen soon, but I’m pretty sure it will happen eventually. What will you do with YourTube then?

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4 Comments

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

One blogger I follow is quite worried about lock-in. He self-hosts videos on a peertube instance. https://danq.me/2019/07/15/danq-ecosystem/

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