YouTube is reportedly in the midst of building a social network of sorts — a project internally called Backstage that will enable creators and subscribers to communicate with one another via photos, polls, links, text, and videos. The feature, first reported by VentureBeat, could launch as soon as this fall among select popular channels.
Backstage would fill a void on YouTube that has led creators to migrate to more visceral and communicative platforms in order to interact with their subscribers, including Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. A Backstage tab would live alongside the ‘Home’, ‘Videos’, and ‘Playlists’ tabs that appear at the top of individual channel pages, and would function as a newsfeed of sorts. Posts by creators would appear in reverse chronological order, according to VentureBeat, and would also show up in subscribers’ feeds and notifications.
This means that new kinds of content formats — beyond videos — would be proliferating within the YouTube ethos. According to VentureBeat, users will be able to create Backstage-only videos — different than traditional YouTube videos as a more intimate and ephemeral means of sharing and responding. YouTube subscribers will also be able to reply to creators’ posts using videos, photos, and text, and will reportedly be able to share Backstage posts on other social networks, like Facebook.
Last year, YouTube uncoupled its service from Google+, its parent company’s unpopular social network, after many users complained about the integration’s impact on commenting. Backstage could mark yet another attempt by YouTube to move in a more interactive direction by bringing social capabilities directly inside the platform.
A Google spokesperson told VentureBeat that the company “doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.”