When YouTube was created in 2005, it became the first video-sharing website on the Internet. The purpose of the site was explained in its original slogan “Broadcast Yourself.” Anyone can join YouTube and upload videos; whether you are a member or not, you can find videos on just about any topic you want. YouTube was such a sensation that the year after it was created, it was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion. As of May 2019, over 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and the company has $15 billion in annual revenues. With the stay-at-home and social distancing practices brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, usage of YouTube has grown even more.

If you own a computer or smartphone, chances are that you’ve watched YouTube videos at some point in your online experience. But aside from being a source of entertainment, YouTube is a great source for older Americans to keep their minds active and to stay social in these times of social distancing.

How YouTube works

YouTube allows users to upload, view, rate, share, report, and comment on videos and also to subscribe to other users. It contains an endless variety of video content created by everyday people and by corporations, including video clips, TV show clips, music videos, films, movie trailers, live streams, video blogs and educational videos. Unregistered users can only watch but not upload videos on the site, while registered users can upload an unlimited amount of videos and add comments to the videos of others. For more information on how YouTube works, visit  Youtube.com

What you can do on YouTube

Learn something: You can find a tutorial on YouTube for practically any topic. Just type the topic in the search bar and you’ll be served up a whole list of videos that can teach you anything from crocheting to astrophysics, and anything in between.
Share your expertise: If you register on YouTube (it’s free), you can upload your own videos. Is there something you’re particularly good at? You can share your knowledge with others by creating and uploading your own videos. As a registered user, you can also provide feedback to the videos uploaded by others.
Get social: Through its social media-based Community feature, YouTube allows users to post text, images and live videos in a separate Community tab on their YouTube channel. You can subscribe to channels on YouTube that cater to your interests so that content on that subject matter is readily available to you, and then you’ll have the opportunity to get to know fellow subscribers who have the same interests as you.
Get some laughs: If you’re looking for some lighthearted laughter to boost your mood, YouTube has a wealth of comedic content for your enjoyment. You can watch stand-up comedians or compilations of funny candid videos uploaded by everyday people. And you can even narrow your search to find comedy that is geared toward an older audience.
Sanatoga Ridge on YouTube: If you want to know more about Sanatoga Ridge, an independent senior living community, you can visit them on their YouTubeChannel. Take a walk along the nature trail, drive through the community, or take one of several tours of the properties.

As you begin exploring YouTube, you’ll find that it can become quite addictive. And since it’s never healthy to spend all your time on one activity, be sure to set aside a specific amount of time for your YouTube activities so that you leave time for other pursuits as well.

Remember to always follow the guidelines of staying safe online, such as not sharing personal and financial information with strangers, etc. Have fun!