Why YouTube has replaced TV for me (and many teens)

YouTube vs TV

YouTube vs. Television

In November of 2009 YouTube surpassed Yahoo to take the #2 place of total search queries in the U.S., right next to it’s #1 owner, Google. It’s no wonder because YouTube can show you a lot of things that Google can’t. In fact, many years ago I learned to tie a tie by watching a “how to” on YouTube. I also learned to levitate like Criss Angel (before the video was removed) and I have developed my skills on several software programs by watching tutorials on YouTube.

But unlike Google, YouTube has a community of users who “follow” each other’s content, similar to Twitter or Facebook Pages. Since Dana and I canceled our TV service a while back to save money, YouTube has surprisingly replaced that medium for me. I don’t get all the same content on there as I would on Dish Network (most of which can be found on anyway), but now I actually prefer YouTube over TV because I can interact with the people I’m watching. It’s like watching your friends (or people who become your friends) on television.

Most of the time these are people who regularly update their YouTube channels, as I’m trying to do more and more often with mine. My favorite channels are the people who post a variety of videos, often including ones about their life, their thoughts, their careers, their families, their challenges and things that make them laugh. Because that’s what I value, I’ve found I tend to post similar videos to my channel… and the interaction begins.

Subscribing to YouTube channels

YouTube SubscribeIf you’re only used to YouTube being a place where you make an occasional search query or see the latest viral video, you’re missing the real gem of community behind this social network. And if you’re thinking, “Oh man, I don’t have time for yet another social network,” relax — it’s nothing like Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Create a YouTube account if you don’t already have one. If you have a Google/Gmail account, you’re already set.
  2. Spice up your account a bit with some information and a profile image. Maybe even upload a quick one or two minute video introducing yourself. (A webcam is perfect for this. It doesn’t have to be fancy.)
  3. As you find users on YouTube who’s videos and personalities you enjoy, click the yellow “Subscribe” button above their video or at the top of their profile/channel page. You can watch the latest videos of people you subscribe to on your subscriptions page. You can also customize YouTube’s home page with modules to display your subscribed videos, too.
  4. Interact with videos by using the thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system and leave comments. While it’s not required, it helps the video owner know what you, the audience, likes and doesn’t like and what you’re thinking as you watch the video. This leads to better videos in the future and helps YouTube know what’s good and what’s not.


Right now there’s a giveaway happening on my YouTube channel for new subscribers and comments! Check it out!

YouTube channels to check out

Of course, first you want to subscribe to my channel. ;) Then here are some other channels you can look at pertaining to youth ministry. Note that some of these links are of Christians and some are not.

  • Internet Killed Television – Charles Trippy has been vlogging his daily life for a while now, becoming one of the most popular personalities on YouTube. With a likable personality, teens connect to his life and love interacting with his internet reality show.
  • David Crowder Band – I love the creativity these guys have in front of the camera. It’s not just band performances — it’s behind the scenes, it’s short skits, and it’s always goofy.
  • Fail Blog – Short little clips of people doing ridiculous things that end in a major FAIL. Good for laughs!
  • FlowerDust – I’ve been following Anne Jackson since visiting Haiti with her in February. She doesn’t update YouTube nearly enough, but when she does it’s refreshing to see her authenticity and realness about life and ministry.
  • JazTrumpett – Claire is a high school student in my youth group and I love seeing her fun videos and how she expresses herself in video.
  • HailsForever – Hailey is a girl who occasionally visits my youth group with a couple friends. She’s very creative and put a lot of time into her two videos. I’m looking forward to more from her.
  • – This is what you’d expect from — high quality videos of sermon illustrations, promos and message clips.
  • Adam McLane – You guys know him from Youth Specialties and his uber online presence. This is his personal YouTube channel, mostly stuff from his iPhone.
  • Mars Hill Church – Great message clips from sermons by Mark Driscoll.
  • Nalts – Kevin Nalty is who’s responsible for tipping me off to the YouTube community and has been my inspiration for contributing to it, although, honestly I originally started watching his videos because I enjoyed seeing his video shows around my hometown in Pennsylvania. He also has a daily vlog channel here.
  • NewSpring Church – They unfortunately haven’t updated their channel for about 2 months, but when they were updating it, it was again of message clips from Perry Noble, sermon intros, and stuff like that.
  • Ruthie Babes – She’s a youth worker in Northern Ireland who gets the YouTube community and contributes to it. She’s got a fun personality to watch and the Irish accent is easy to listen to.
  • Shane Dawson – This guy probably has one of the top followings on YouTube. He does regular skits that are very creative and usually include just himself. (Be forewarned of foul language and inappropriate content.)
  • ShayTards – Like Charles Trippy, Carl daily vlogs his family’s life and has earned quite a following at it. His personality is engaging and his kids are cute, so it’s easy to watch.
  • SuperMac18 – Another popular YouTuber, especially with teens. If you watch any of his videos you’ll see why. He used to post a video almost every day, but his channel has been mostly inactive recently for some reason. How’d you do youth ministry with this kid in your group?! lol
  • tfneditor – You guys know him as Joshua Griffin, the high school pastor at Saddleback Church.
  • What The Buck Show – Personally, this isn’t a channel that I watch, but it’s one of the most popular channels on YouTube. Buck covers celebrity gossip and has grown to have appearances on network television.
  • YouthSpecialties – Promos, interviews, and announcements from Youth Specialties.

There are obviously hundreds of thousands of channels on YouTube, but this should be enough to get you started.

Calling all youth workers!

YouTube seriously needs more active youth ministry channels, so if you’re a youth pastor vlogging your life in ministry or just sharing thoughts and ideas, post your channel in the comments below. (Tip: Don’t just record a video in a monotone voice telling me about what you did all day — actually show me. Take me on the journey with you.)

What channels do you recommend?

Posted on August 9, 2010

  • Adam Lehman

    Um. Television watching is rising at an unprecedented level. While online media is definitely impacting culture, it isn't REPLACING television by any stretch of the imagination. There has never been more eyeballs locked in to television sets in all of history.

    • On a national level, you're probably right, but for some people like me, I'd rather sit down and catch up on my YouTube subscriptions than sit down and watch TV (now that LOST is over anyway). ;) Once you start becoming a part of the YouTube community and social network there, it becomes pretty apparent that there are many teens who feel the same way. This blog post is an attempt to show why and to let youth workers know that this is happening on some level, even if it's a small level compared to what the rest of the country is doing.

      • AHHHHH I cant believe Im reading this!! Thank you so much, Ive been looking for some useful tips for Christian YouTube videos! But let me intorduce myself…my name is Ben and I am part of the Youth Ministry @ ITSC located in Las Vegas. But our Youth JUST setup our own YouTube channel called ITSC Veracity and we released our first of many broadcast videos about young people living saved in Las Vegas and holding up the standard of holiness! Heres our story…

        More than 2 years ago a group of young people (which included me;) picked up everything they had and moved from Lansing MI to Las Vegas NV to help their Bishop and Elect Lady start another church (One church but now 2 locations) And let me tell you its been the most exciting time of my life! So we decided to start a Youtube broadcast to spread the Word and make a difference in this world…starting in Las Vegas!!!

        ITSC Veracity

        Or just go to YouTube and type in "itsc veracity"

        Come check it out, id luv ur input since it seems like you know alot about the subject:)

        – Ben

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