From Comments to Shorts: YouTube’s New Way to Express Yourself

Similar to competitors TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, YouTube Shorts offers an endless stream of content delivered in a vertical feed. To further engage users, YouTube is constantly testing new features. One of the latest experiments involves turning YouTube Shorts comments into separate Shorts videos.

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Illustration: Lenka T.

This new experiment is currently being tested with a select group of Android and iOS users. It allows viewers to take a comment from a clip they’re watching and use it to create a Viewer-created Short.  

However, there are some limitations to this test. Creators cannot control which comment is turned into a Short. Plus, they won’t be notified when viewers create new Shorts from their uploaded videos. Additionally, the original commenter will also not be notified. 

Viewers who create a new Short from a comment will find it on their channel’s home page, apart from the standard YouTube Shorts feed. But only a small percentage of Android and iOS viewers will have access to this test. As of now, there are no screenshots available, so the exact appearance of this feature remains uncertain. 

What if you don’t want Shorts? 

Creators who wish to avoid having their comments turned into Shorts can disable comments on their videos, according to the YouTube support team. The broader availability of this experimental feature is still unknown, as YouTube doesn’t publicize all of its experiments. Nevertheless, the fact that this one is being publicized could hint at potential future expansion. 

YouTube continues to run exciting experiments to enhance the user experience on both YouTube and YouTube Music platforms. For instance, select YouTube Premium subscribers recently saw longer previews when scrubbing through the seek bar on the web. While some of these tests have been well-received, others have been seen as fixing things that weren’t broken. 

Although YouTube Shorts may have joined the short-form video content trend relatively late, it has capitalized on the popularity of vertical videos, as seen in TikTok, and adapted it for its own platform. YouTube already boasts a large user base for various content, such as music videos, gaming streams, educational materials, podcasts, and more, making the inclusion of Shorts a natural evolution for the service. 

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