"Like, Comment, Subscribe" by Mark Bergen

Review by Borodutch

"Subscribe to PewDiePie" was the real thing when I was developing as a personality. YouTube affected me in more ways than I can count as I grew up with it. I had a very peculiar feeling listening to this book because the historical events that the author described happened right before me — all the good things and all the wrong things. It is like reading a Roman history book but while being a Roman who lived through the events.

Nowadays, I subscribe to only half a dozen channels — all of them are educational. However, I remember when YouTube was a real issue, and I had to limit viewing it with special tools like browser plugins. It's no surprise that the author repeatedly puts YouTube in opposition to TV — because that's what it is in the end, especially with the autoplay feature and ads.

YouTube started as a straightforward video-sharing service but grew disproportionally and exponentially into a whole new industry, surpassing the rivals that laughed at its unseriousness before. I also vaguely remember how YouTube Kids was created, but the true story behind it — as told by the author — was full of unexpected turns.

From the issues with funding resulting in personal credit card charges to the AI-powered moderation of 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute — the story has it all. I also thoroughly enjoyed the juxtaposition of YouTube with Google and how Google eventually penetrated everything the media company does.

If you watch YouTube — and you certainly are — checking out the behind-the-scenes story of how it all started and got where it is right now is a must. It's like reading a manual to the car you've purchased. Sure, you can skip it — but if issues arise, you better know what to do and how it all came to be.