Older people's social sharing practices in YouTube through an ethnographical lens

Sergio Sayago, Paula Forbes, Josep Blat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper reports on a classical, face-to-face ethnographical study of YouTube use and social sharing practices by 32 older people (65-90). The study was conducted in a computer clubhouse in Scotland over an 18-month period. Whereas research on Social Network Sites (SNS) is on the rise, very little is known about how people aged 60+ use them in their everyday lives, despite an ageing population. The study shows that the use of YouTube by this group of older people is occasional and motivated by face-to-face or online conversations in e-mails. They watch videos that they find meaningful, do not upload videos because they do not perceive any benefit in it, and search for videos by writing sentences, instead of clicking on categories, to reduce cognitive load. Online comments in YouTube are seldom read nor made. Instead, they make comments in f2f, and/or e-mails, always with key members of their social circles. They rate videos in these online and offline conversations, and share videos by capitalizing on previously learned strategies, such as copy-and-paste. We argue that these results provide a more complete picture of SNS and older people than that given by previous studies, and enable a discussion on their User Experience. We also discuss some implications for design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th Annual BCS Interaction Specialist Group Conference on People and Computers
Place of PublicationSwindon
PublisherBCS Learning & Development Ltd.
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event26th Annual BCS Interaction Specialist Group Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 201214 Sep 2012
Conference number: 26th


Conference26th Annual BCS Interaction Specialist Group Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Abbreviated titleBCS-HCI '12
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherThis year's conference returns to its foundation theme of 'People and Computers', and so has attracted a wide range of HCI work. The BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction is the leading conference of its type in the UK and is one of the top European conferences in the field. It performs a critical role in supporting the development and success of the UK HCI community. As such, the conference aims to provide opportunities for open dialogue and academic debate that is inclusive of our entire community.

This ethos is reflected in these proceedings, which represent a body of work we hope will broaden your thoughts, develop your ideas, and deepen your understanding of state of the art HCI research.


  • Older people
  • Social network sites
  • You Tube
  • Ethnography
  • User experience


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