From Time Magazine, Monday January 30, 2012

By Lev Grossman 

For every minute that passes in real time, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.

You can turn that number over in your mind as much as you want; at no point will it stop being incredible. Sixty hours every minute. That’s five months of video every hour. That’s 10 years of video every day. More video is uploaded to YouTube every month than has been broadcast by the three big TV networks in the past 60 years. And the pace is accelerating: last year the rate was only 48 hours per minute. William Blake once wrote something about seeing a world in a grain of sand and holding eternity in an hour. YouTube hasn’t reached that point yet, but it’s well on its way.

There’s never been an object like YouTube in human history. It gets 4,000,000,000 page views a day, which adds up to 1,000,000,000,000–that’s a trillion–a year. It has 800,000,000 users (about the same as Facebook) who watch 3,000,000,000 hours of video a month (that’s 340,000 years). Human civilization now generates massive quantities of video footage simply as a by-product of its daily functioning, much as some industrial processes generate toxic slurry. Before YouTube there was no central catchment for all that video; now it drains into a single reservoir, where we as a species can pan through it and wallow in it endlessly.

 The complete article.


Filed under: News


  1. Wow. But I always took Blake to be saying the opposite. YouTube is a billion grains of sand that despite their number give no coherent picture of the world.

    Comment by Geof — 1.25.2012 @ 3:56 pm

  2. When I think of Blake, I think of “Tyger, tyger, burning bright”, or some such.

    Comment by Bernie — 1.25.2012 @ 11:42 pm

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