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Oprah to pay homage to YouTube

Sharing a couch with one of the world's most influential women is proof the video-sharing site is now a mainstream icon.

How deeply has YouTube seeped into our collective consciousness and commandeered our culture? Who better to answer that than Oprah Winfrey?

The talk show host on Tuesday is scheduled to interview YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, according to a story in Variety. The Hollywood trade publication reports that characters from popular YouTube videos will also be featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Sure, you techies understand YouTube's cultural significance, but there are still plenty of newbies in this country who need Oprah to boil it down.

Anybody that has ever seen Hurley or Chen speak in public will understand that the pair won't make for thrilling television. Who cares? They have always been a minor sideshow anyway. Their contribution was creating a digital stage for other people to perform on. Upon completing that, they were smart enough to get out of the way.

Still, at this point they deserve to take a few bows. Consider that in the two years since the site launched, their stage has emerged as a vital campaign stump for politicians. Warring countries have launched propaganda campaigns against one other from the site. University students at UC Berkeley log on to view class lectures. Law enforcement from all over the world has used YouTube to try to find missing persons or wanted criminals.

One macabre trend saw mobsters in Mexico taping themselves murdering rivals and then in an attempt to terrorize others, went to the site to post the grizzly scenes.

Celebrities caught on camera misbehaving have seen their careers derailed once the clips made YouTube's Most Popular section. And there's no overlooking the scores of talented singers, comedians and performers who appear on the site daily.

Love it or hate it, who could argue against the fact that YouTube has become a hurricane force in communication and is often the most compelling show on the Web?

Winfrey is apparently convinced. Variety reports that she is launching her own YouTube channel that will include backstage and preview material from her show.