In what appears to be a site wide change today, YouTube channels no longer have a ‘Add as Friend‘ option available.
This was a large yellow button similar to the ‘Subscribe’ button when looking at a YouTube users channel page. There is a certain level of speculation amongst posters in the help channels which normally accompanies changes like this. Is it a bug? A temporary functional change while part of the system is being tested or upgraded? Or have YouTube decided to do away with the friend mechanism?
It will be interesting to see what happens during the next week but its a change that will not affect that many users. Most people don’t approach YouTube as a social site in the same way that they view Facebook or Twitter. If you look further into it though then YouTube has many of the same features – (until today) it has ability to add friends, a fully functioning messaging system with inbox and address book, users can post video replies and text comments to carry on conversations and users can share and vote(‘like’) videos just as they would a Facebook update. YouTube is very much a social network.
For this reason I don’t think the powers that be will remove the Friends functionality – time will tell. The Friends system is also used as a filter system for leaving comments on videos. One of the options is to limit video comments to friends of the user.
You can’t under estimate the ingenuity of some people though. A work around has already been posted by a user “epontius”
‘Ok, we’ve verified a work around:
Go to your Inbox
click Address Book.
Click New, then contact, enter their username.
Then click the Add to friends, button.’
I decided to give it a go and picked ‘hickster999′ purely on the grounds that their channel came up in a search result for helicopter videos. Sure enough it does work and you can see in the image that a friend request has been sent.
Again, this is probably going to affect and be of concern to a small percentage of readers however it does highlight that things in the social media world are always changing – something which is of much broader importance to how we all approach these platforms.