LOS ANGELES YouTube has officially upped its efforts to become a social network.
The Google-owned video giant on Tuesday announced the beta launch of a new “Community” tab for creators, which will give them the ability to send text, live videos, images and GIFs to their fans in between video uploads, in real time.
“Community is a special release for us because it represents the deepest product collaboration we’ve ever done with creators like you,” YouTube said in its blog. “We started by inviting creators in early to develop, in partnership with us, the tools they wanted to better engage with their fans.”
Among the creators asked to help test it out: VidCon co-creators and Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green.
“YouTube has always thought of itself as being about video but for many of us it’s mostly been about community.”
“YouTube has always thought of itself as being about video but for many of us it’s mostly been about community,” John Green said in a video, timed to the news. “I’d argue the best YouTube channels aren’t just shows you lean back and watch, they are communities you are part of. For a long time, that was seen as YouTube’s great weakness. In the early days YouTube actually released a product called Lean Back that allowed you to watch videos without engaging with them because advertisers, especially back then, thought engaged viewers were bad news…in spite of it all, YouTube has continued to be a community platform and today they have embraced that with the community tab.”
Viewers can see creators’ posts in the Subscriptions feed on their phones, and can also opt into getting a notification anytime their favorite creators post.
Hank said in the video it will allow the brothers to make their channels “the community hubs we want them to be.”
Other creators YouTube enlisted to test out the beta include: AsapSCIENCE, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, The Kloons, Lilly Singh, Peter Hollens, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Sam Tsui,Threadbanger and VSauce3.
John Green said he’s testing out the new feature by starting a new show called “100 Days,” where he and his best friend Chris “try to have the healthiest mid life crisis ever.” The show will include videos, exercise routines, recipes, live shows and text posts.
Venture Beatfirst reported speculation about YouTube’s plans to make its platform more social in late August.
YouTube: Now a “community platform that also hosts videos,” Green said.