The Functionality of Paratexts on YouTube

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This chapter investigates paratexts and their functionality on YouTube. It is argued that YouTube content is in fact characterized by its dependence and usage of paratexts as part of YouTube's infrastructure. Paratexts are presented as being either auto-generated by YouTube or created by its users. They are furthermore identified through a distinction between spatial and temporal relationships. Based on these distinctions, a small survey of some of the most popular videos on YouTube is conducted in order to examine the appearance and functionality of paratexts. A principal argument of the chapter is that the functionality of the paratexts can be explained by what Genette characterizes as the paratext's illocutionary force, which is examined in relationship to YouTube's paratexts and, more specifically, the site's implementation of links. The chapter also argues that paratexts may be characterized as a necessary tool for creators on YouTube to apply to what is being described as a culture of visibility in which paratexts serve both a promotional and a social purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExamining Paratextual Theory and its Applications in Digital Culture
EditorsNadine Desrochers, Daniel Apollon
Number of pages26
PublisherIGI global
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)9781466660021
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Seriesadvances in human and social aspects of techonology

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