When you think about watching videos online, you probably instantly think of YouTube. You probably find yourself saying things like “I saw it on YouTube” often. While YouTube is not often thought of as a social network, it definitely is one. YouTube lets you share personal videos, view other people’s videos and even make connections. As with most other social networking websites, you can make videos private or public.

YouTube is technically defined as a video-hosting service and was founded in 2005 by three former PayPal employees. Almost two years later, Google purchased it and now operates it as a subsidiary of the company. For Google account users, creating a YouTube account is easy, but unlike with some social networks, you don’t have to have an account to use YouTube’s most popular feature – watching videos. YouTube’s homepage shows you the most popular trending videos first, popular movie trailers, music videos, politics and more. Its homepage also offers the separate Trending tab where you can see a feed of trending and viral videos.

Although you don’t need an account to use YouTube, you get a lot more out of it if you do. For instance, if you’re logged in to your account and watch a video, it saves under your watched videos, so you can quickly find it again if you want to show a friend or family member, or just watch it again anytime. Additionally, an account allows you to grow a network of connections – you can subscribe to other people’s accounts, and people can subscribe to yours.

On every YouTube video you can see how many times it’s been viewed, liked and disliked. You can even subscribe to the video poster’s account and leave comments. Each video has a title and a description. However, a description is not required for it to upload to your account.

Keywords on the title and description of your videos are important and help them be easily found in searches. Searching on YouTube is simple too. You can type in a celebrity’s name, a TV show or movie, or any other topic and you’ll get a slew of video results. Because Google owns YouTube, YouTube videos show up first in Google video searches.

Many people may not think of YouTube as one of the most popular social networking sites, but it definitely is one to consider when you’re looking to join different websites for online socialization. If videos are what you crave, YouTube should be your first stop.