With a host of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) challenging YouTube with ever-expanding video capabilities, it makes sense that YouTube would fight back with its own imitation game. Today, it did just that, launching a beta version of YouTube Community, a new feature that enables creators to engage with their viewers through text, animated GIFs, images and other non-video posts, as well as live video.
Viewers will be able to see Community posts in the subscription feed on their phones, and they can opt to get post notifications from the channels they subscribe to, just like they do with videos.
Community will be accessible via a tab on creators’ YouTube channels. At the moment, it is only available to a group of select creators who helped YouTube develop the feature over the last several months, including John & Hank Green, AsapSCIENCE, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, The Kloons, Lilly Singh, Peter Hollens, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Sam Tsui,Threadbanger, and VSauce3.
“We are launching the Community beta today with these creators, but we look forward to bringing more of you onboard,” wrote Kiley McEvoy, senior product manager for YouTube, in a blog published today announcing YouTube Community. “This is a first step and, with creator and fan feedback, we look forward to rolling out new features and functions as well as including more creators in the months ahead.”
McEvoy explained that Community gives creators “easier, lightweight ways to engage with your fans more often in between uploads, in real time.”
“As creators, your ideas and feedback shape our platform, inspire new features, and help us decide what to prioritize,” he continued. “It’s you who ultimately build YouTube and as the newCommunity product shows, together, we make YouTube better for everyone.