In our current day and age online video content is ubiquitous. Yet, to date, a limited body of research has examined patterns on online media consumption. This study attempts to understand why people consume online video content; what factors influence their consumption; and, what people receive from said consumption. To examine these questions, I conducted in-depth interviews with 7 respondents and performed a content analysis of the comments sections under eight videos on YouTube. Results indicate that friend/family influence, view count, resonance with subject matter, admiration for and connection to content creators, and beliefs and values all shape patterns of content consumption and reception of the videos on YouTube. These findings show that algorithms and paid promotion are not the only thing one should look at when attempting to understand consumption. Equally important are personal and social interaction.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Matthew Grace, Stephen Ellingson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.