How Historical Storytelling Works on YouTube: An Analysis Project Poster + Final Draft

Hi everyone! Here is my poster:

For my print project, it was very interesting to look back on some of the YouTube channels I’m familiar with a new and analytical perspective. I enjoyed analyzing the comment sections of the videos and sensing the audience’s reaction towards the content. I found that the “living history” and historical reenactment videos often bring a more intimate and personable experience to the audience, and that more people will share their stories of their own family history in the comment sections. The audience also responds very well to well researched history contents; the more historical details and references are given in the video, the more likely people will leave comments sharing their own historical knowledge and resources. I also learned a lot about YouTube as a platform from the project by reflecting on its roles in the development of history-related channels. Both “The YouTube Reader” and “YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture” gave fascinating accounts on the evolution of YouTube itself and how people gradually perceived it as a legitimate social media platform. From this analysis, I see great value in creating educational history content on YouTube and the potential impact these videos have on the wider public. 

I really enjoyed learning about digital history together with everyone in the class this semester! This course gave me so much insight into different digital platforms and tools to present and analyze history. After looking through everyone’s digital projects utilizing tools such as TimelineJS and Storymap, I feel very inspired to explore these tools deeper in the future! I learned a lot from the conversations we had in class over the semester. Many of them gave me new ideas and made me think more about my own project. I began to reflect on the importance of historical accuracy on entertainment platforms discussed in the Video Games Week, and I think back on what kind of historical content is being archived on YouTube from the discussion on what is accessible online from the Digital Archives Week. Overall, I think this class provided me with useful resources and information on how to reflect, analyze, and appreciate the processes that go into digital history in the future!

Here’s my final print project:

4 Replies to “How Historical Storytelling Works on YouTube: An Analysis Project Poster + Final Draft”

  1. Mengshu — I am so excited to see this project coming together! As someone who is utterly addicted to YouTube, including some of the channels you looked at for your project, I couldn’t wait to see what you found. It is so fun to see what smaller channels are able to do without the constraints of an institution — how much they can accomplish when not bogged down by bureaucracy. Looking forward to seeing your final paper on this project!

  2. Great project, Mengshu! I’ve always been curious about historical Youtube channels and how educational or accurate they actually are. Looking at comments seems like a great way to get a read on how viewers feel about the videos themselves. Moving forward, I wonder if trying to get into contact with the creators behind these channels and finding out their feelings could be a good extension on this project. Looking forward to seeing your results!

  3. Mengshu, historical Youtube channels seems like a project idea that I would have chosen myself. I think this is a great way to show what digital media is like and it ties in nicely with history because it is specifically about history-based channels. Clever choice.

  4. Mengshu, I really liked your project, especially considering how it studies a digital medium for history-making that tends to get overshadowed by podcasts. Although your project focuses on “living-history” channels, a study of animated history channels, especially ones that employ a minimalistic art style, would probably yield interesting findings as well.

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