YouTube’s success as a video platform was built on three things: unlicensed music videos, clips of cats doing funny things, and vloggers. The latter group has always been powerful because it builds fanbases and communities, interacting with viewers and offering the sort of intimacy TV will never be able match. Now, to enhance the bonds between videomakers and the fans who love ‘em, YouTube has announced a clutch of new social networking features under the title of YouTube Community.
The main component is a new Community tab that appears on every YouTube channel. This basically functions as a News Feed for that particular video creator, letting them post text updates, live videos, GIFs, images, and more to their subscribers. The posts will show up in fans’ Subscription feeds, or they can opt-in to get a notification when there’s a new post.
As far as social networking tools go it’s pretty basic — not much more than a timeline feature — but it does let YouTube compete a little better with rival platforms who already have these features. YouTube Community is currently in beta, and is being tested by a number of well-known vloggers including John & Hank Green, AsapSCIENCE, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, Threadbanger, and Vsauce3. You can watch John Green explain the new feature to his fans below: