YouTube made a profound impact on digital culture owing to its vast number of users, and enormous and continuous repository of on-demand-video. Commentators praised it as democratizing media use, facilitating the revolution that turns the user into the producer and changes everything, or condemned it for the same or many other reasons. The popular discourse has often simultaneously overestimated and underestimated YouTube in the many often hasty and superficial statements. Few attempts have been made so far to approach YouTube critically and analytically. A first collection of articles has been provided by Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer in their 2008 publication Video Vortext Reader: Responses to YouTube.
With the recently published YouTube Reader, edited by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, a comprehensive book is available that attempts to go beyond mere description to theorize an emerging media phenomenon from different perspectives. The entire book is available as free download (.pdf).