YouTube platform changes the net (again) for hobbyists

When I was in high school, one of my hobbies was building plastic models. My focus was WWII armor (tanks, jeeps, etc.) and I got marginally good at it. Not great, but good. At that point, there was no internet (that normal people used, anyway) and the only connection I’d make to other modelers was when I’d go to the infrequent IPMS events. The only way I’d be able to shop for cool new or exclusive products is when I found a hobby shop somewhere in my travels that stocked them, or when I could talk my parents into lending me a credit card for catalog orders. Neither of those things happened very often.

This process, in some form, was replicated across countless niche hobbies. Finding goods, exchanging ideas, and connecting with those who didn’t think we were “weird” for our interests was a huge longing. Along comes the internet and hobbies are revolutionized. Suddenly every need, whether ideas, products, or meetups could be instantly fulfilled. Yesterday was a good time to be a hobbyist. Today is even better.

YouTube announced that they’re opening up their site’s platform to allow anyone to tap into the power of YouTube itself.

For users, the exciting news is that they will be able to actively participate in the YouTube community from just about anywhere, including the online destinations and web communities they already love and visit regularly. For partners and developers, YouTube has grown into much more than a website. It has become an open, general purpose, video services platform, available for use by just about any third-party website, desktop application, or consumer device. We now provide a complete set of (CRUD) capabilities for uploading, managing, searching, and playing back user videos and metadata from the YouTube “cloud,” managed by us. We do all of the hard work of transcoding and hosting and streaming and thumbnailing your videos, and we provide open access to our sizable global audience, enabling you to generate traffic for your site, visibility for your brand, or support for your cause. Meanwhile, we provide full access to our substantial video library, enabling you to attract users and enhance the experience on your site. It’s all free, and it’s available to everyone, starting now.

It’s already easy for a local user group to install an open source forum, pull photos from Flickr into their site, and now they’ll be able to do some fantastic things around video as well.

Mashable has a similar take:

There is already a large number of niche content sites around the web that host communities interested in everything from knitting to urban drag racing. Many of those sites receive millions of monthly visitors, even though they aren’t widely talked about outside their respective niches.

YouTube, on the other hand, is the place to go to find video about anything. Website owners couldn’t ask for a better way to make their sites discoverable than this system wherein their existing community can upload video from a niche site but new users can discover the video and links back to those sites from inside the public square that is YouTube.

Meanwhile, YouTube becomes all the more important. If niche site owners have an easy way to publish to YouTube without directing their users off site then those niche communities will be publishing more high quality content to YouTube.

Any way you slice it, this is great news!