CEO Susan Wojcicki Shares Fascinating Insights, Highlighting YouTube’s 2020 Lessons, And Mapping The Search Engine's 2021 Direction

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently wrote an open letter, published to the YouTube blog, establishing what the company had gleaned from 2020, and what it hoped to work towards in 2021.

The letter starts out, as almost any blog post from a major company in 2021 will, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the world, particularly pertaining to YouTube’s userbase. Harkening back to other tragedies such as the BLM movement, and the Australian & Californian wildfires, Wojcicki remains optimistic that YouTube was a uniting factor for people to come under and temporarily forget the world’s problems with. Utilizing the virtual social media space, stars such as Miley Cyrus and The Roots came together for the Save our Stages initiative, raising $1.8 million to help fund independent ventures. YouTube even saw a 25% increase in watch time, with gaming itself accounting for over 100 billion hours of that content.

In a time of uncertainty and hardship, Wojcicki’s letter emphasizes the importance of taking care of your own. The YouTube Partner Program, for fresh channels looking to monetize their content more effectively, saw a more than double increase in accounts as opposed to 2019. YouTube and its extensive list of content creators contributed over $16 billion in GDP to the US government, and £1.4 billion to the UK GDP, as noted by Oxford Economics. The open letter even highlights the moving tale of Brandon Reed, a single father struggling to make ends meet, who learned animation from YouTube, made it into the Partner Program, and is overseeing smooth sailings with over 250 million views from his animation gigs on the platform.

Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Other points of note from the open letter pertained to YouTube’s future policies and responsibilities, as well as the success of its short-form video features, Shorts. Addressing the former first, the company vows to uphold a strong stance regarding the dissemination of accurate information. Particularly mentioning the COVID-19 vaccinations, content will be geared towards interviews with medical professionals, as well as videos and infomercials from the likes of the WHO. Racial tolerance will also be an active working point for YouTube in 2021, as developers work on better attuned algorithms to identify hate speech. Along with this, content from the #YouTubeBlackVoices fund as well as Originals during Black History Month will work towards much-needed discourse and narratives from the very voices that the USA sadly failed in 2020.

YouTube Shorts also seems to be doing rather well for itself. Beta testing of the feature, which is a rather obvious competitor to the Gen Z favorite TikTok, has already begun in India, an already popular and burgeoning market for YouTube. Shorts are also receiving a whopping 3.5 billion views per day, although it should be noted that this number is self reported and users should probably wait on more telling statistics from outside sources as well.

All in all, YouTube seems to have a clear and confident outlook towards the future. All this author is happy about is that the platform decided to forego Rewind 2020.

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