YouTube has finally introduced Community, the new set of features it’s rolling out to the site’s most fervent and prolific creators. Community will let them more actively build and nurture their…well…community of fans by not just posting videos but creating more of a profile mixing videos, photos, GIFs and text posts, all of which the audience can engage with and comment on and all of which is designed to make YouTube *the* place for the talent to broadcast and publish.
There’s a lot that’s super-interesting about this announcement, which was rumored a short while ago. Based on the report, Community basically turns YouTube into a full-fledged publishing platform since it can handle a variety of content types, including long form “blog” posts and other media. So it kind of brings in the best elements of not just YouTube but also Blogger and Google+. That’s pretty big and is some smart thinking by the company, especially if it leads to more of a melding of those three platforms into a single product that is flexible to accommodate whatever someone wants to do online without all sorts of unnecessary restrictions and splits.
More than that, this is a good way for Alphabet to keep the creators that are being wooed by Facebook, Twitch, Vine and other networks with cash happy by appealing not to their base monetary interests but by the promise that all the hard work they’ve done to build up their audiences has not been in vain. YouTube as a product has stagnated for a long while (save for clunky Google+ coupling and decoupling), so showing a commitment to the service should keep all this creative talent happy for a while, assuming the user experience for fans isn’t horrific.