'Popular' On YouTube? Well, Why? : Blog Of The Nation How in the world does YouTube define "Popular?" David Sarno can tell you what it's not...
NPR logo 'Popular' On YouTube? Well, Why?

'Popular' On YouTube? Well, Why?

I guess I'm on some sort of middle school kick. Maybe it's all the old friends popping up on Facebook? Anyway, yesterday I defended Tom Daschle's glasses, and today, it's an article about popularity that caught my eye. Apparently, YouTube has very quietly added a new filter, called "Popular," and made it the default over the more plebeian "Most Viewed." What's weird is that YouTube isn't talking about how it defines "Popular," according to David Sarno of the Los Angeles Times.

YouTube has posted no blog entry about the change, and nowhere does it define or explain what "Popular" means (This we know: It doesn't mean Most Viewed). In December, when YouTube first introduced what was originally called the "Most Popular" tab, a spokesman wrote vaguely that, "Most Popular incorporates more signals about video related to freshness and activity beyond just a view count."

But the site will not specify what those signals are. As for freshness, there's already a "Rising Videos" filter, which tracks up-and-coming clips -- so it's more than just that. And there are already filters for most comments, highest rating and most favorited. Is this mysterious new "Popular" some kind of hybrid of the above -- or something else completely?

Huh... Kind of like middle school, I still have no idea what "Popular" means.