YouTube is pretty incredible. Surf from cat video to amateur vlog to high-quality episodic show in just a few clicks, all under one network.
Of course, with billions of hours of video available to chose from, how does one go about tailoring his interests and finding the people who create that great stuff? While extensive YouTube searches can help fix your bike or tie a Windsor knot, a television-like experience that offers a stream of entertaining content requires more work.
If you arrive at the YouTube’s homepage with no clear search goals in mind, it can be difficult to discover something new. The best way around this? Subscribe to several channels and find great YouTubers. But if you’re struggling to start, Mashable will guide you to finding quality video creators, no matter what your tastes.
Start With the Big Names
YouTube has its celebrity set — if you are a frequent reader of Mashable, you probably know some of them — and they are a good place to start. You can check out the 100 most subscribed channels to get an idea of what’s popular on YouTube. The most popular stuff seems to fall under a few categories: comedy, gaming, style and music videos, with strong showings by a few brands and publications.
If you don’t see any from a category that interests you, check out our guides for standout YouTube channels for home improvement, fitness, sketch comedy, travel, beauty and cooking.
Once you’ve found a few you like, check out the sidebar on each channel page. It features channels that user has recommended or subscribed to. You’ll find great suggestions there.
YouTube is a solid community first, and most video creators interact with each other through comments, likes, subscriptions and even video shout-outs.
If you want to get even more granular in the YouTube community, your “My Subscriptions” tab on the left side comes in two categories: “Uploads Only” and “All Activity.” The first shows you the new videos that channel has uploaded, but the “All Activity” tab displays all the comments, likes and new subscriptions from every YouTube channel you follow. Is this overwhelming? Yes, but it’s a great place to find channels and videos you’ve never seen before.
Aside from useful ways to find content within YouTube’s walls, you may also have to explore other social networks to find content you’re interested in.
If you’re already plugged into Twitter, finding your favorite YouTube channels there will ensure you not only stay updated, but also follow who they retweet and share content from. If you’re hooked into Google+, you can see videos your friends share from the “Social” tab on the left side of the page.
There are also a few great YouTube-focused blogs that highlight up-and-comers, including New Media Rockstars and TubeFilter.
Plus, check out the very active r/YouTube subreddit, where creators share videos and talk tips for maintaining their channels.
Watch, Share and Interact
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for finding great YouTube content at the moment, so you’ll have to get your hands dirty and dive in.
Because YouTube is so social, inevitably, watching videos will surface new YouTubers. Plenty of personalities guest star on each other’s channels, across all kinds of interests, and videos can sometimes daisy-chain off each other. Plus, the web produces an infinite number of trends; YouTubers are bound to respond. Take the biographical video trend “Draw My Life.” Once you discover a popular video topic, you’ll find other participants.
The best thing to do is start exploring — there’s no wrong way. And don’t get discouraged by all the content. While there might be a lot of crap on YouTube, you’ll find the best, most relevant stuff by staying active.
What are some of your tips for finding new YouTube channels? Please share them in the comments.
Image: iStockphoto, tomispin