Hello again! I am very excited for those of you who are about to discover YouTube, a video hosting and sharing website, for the first time. And for those who have already spent more time than you care to admit exploring YouTube, you now have permission to indulge some more!
Before we get started, here’s a little background information. Online video has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years – there’s more of it, but the quality is much higher (bigger screen sizes, fewer pauses when watching). This change is largely about improvements in technology – digital video cameras are much more common (including on standard digitial cameras and mobile phones), high-speed internet access is more common (important for watching videos but also for uploading them to the internet), video editing software has become far less expensive (often free online or pre-installed on newly purchased computers), and online storage (server space) has dropped dramatically in price.
That last one, the price of online storage, has been revolutionary – without it, companies like YouTube and Google video would not be able to host videos from millions of users without charging them a cent. Note: Google video hosts longer videos than YouTube which has 10 minute cap. The (relative) ease of creating video, uploading it to the web, and storing it in an easy-to-access environment is starting to have an impact on the way our society gets its news. Anyone with a digital camera can capture a news event on their mobile phone video camera and save it to an online video account.
YouTube is a popular video hosting & sharing service founded in 2005, and bought by Google in 2006. There are other places to find videos on the internet, but YouTube has become the most popular. Without installing software or even setting up an account, you can view videos and embed them on your blog or website (they don’t have to be yours – you can embed any video you find on YouTube). For those who register for a free account, YouTube provides additional features turning it into a social networking service.
These features include the ability to…
- create a profile
- customize your profile with favorites, playlists, and subscriptions to channels & tags
- upload & tag your videos
- “friend” other YouTube users
- send messages, and even broadcast messages to all your YouTube friends
- rate and add comments to videos
A social site like YouTube democratizes film making, the way that blogs democratize publishing. The videos vary in length, and they run the gamut of subjects. You might find personal ramblings, amateur TV shows, people’s weddings, cute pets, and other personal videos that people upload to share with friends and family. You can also find famous scenes from movies, music performances, comedy bits, videos of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the first moon landing, and John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” speech from his 1961 inaugural address. You might even run across library dominoes. Basically, there is something for everyone, and you can search it just like Google to find something specific. (Of course, like any free site you’ll also find a lot stuff not worth watching, too.)
In a January 2008 Pew Internet Project data memo Lee Rainie reports, “The audience for YouTube and other internet video sites has risen sharply the past year. Nearly half of online adults now say they have visited such sites.”
Here are some examples of creative ways libraries are using YouTube:
- Calgary Public Library Story Time (no, it’s not the kind of storytime you’re thinking of!)
- Tour the Harper College Library (this one is a hoot!)
- iACPL 4.0 (Allen County Public Library’s homage to the “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC” commercials)
- QandANJ: Now Your Library is Open Late Night Too! (this ad originally aired during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards)
- The Best of Library 2.0 Playlist on YouTube
Other libraries have created YouTube contests (you might, too!) Here are some examples:
- OWLSnet ran their InfoSoup YouTube Contest in January 2008, and you can see all the entries at http://info.infosoup.org/youtube/
- AskAway is planning a YouTube contest as part of the Fall 2008. To see details click on AskAway Awareness Week
- The Director’s Chair video contest to promote Florida’s Ask a Librarian service
- Denver Public Library Evolver
- I Love My Library video contest top five finalists
There’s an entire section of YouTube just for Contests.
Other popular video hosting sites:
Wikipedia’s list of video sharing websites.
- Watch a few (or all) of the clips on this page. Now that you know how to comment, if you like, you can comment on the YouTube clips.
- Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer.
- Browse some of the videos suggested on the YouTube home page.
- Search any topic that interests you and watch the videos that come up. There are lots of music videos to watch. You might try looking for your favorite artist.
- Find videos tagged “libraries”.
- Explore YouTube & find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog. You can do this by clicking “share” under the video window.
- Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting if they were applied to library websites? What possibilities can you think of for your organization?
Optional assignment: Sign up for your own YouTube account at http://www.youtube.com/signup. Create some playlists, “favorite” some videos, subscribe to some tags, explore & have fun! If you are feeling brave, why not go ahead and share your videos with your friends, family, maybe even us!
Here’s the scoop on creating a video to share on YouTube: First, you’ll need a device to record your movie. This could be a camcorder, a digital camera, and even a cell phone that has this capability. YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG. Then, you’ll copy the movie to your computer and upload it to YouTube; or you could edit it with software like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie (for Macs) to add titles or special effects before uploading it. For details, visit YouTube’s help center and Video Toolbox. This 3 minute video explains it all (and is especially funny if you’ve seen an episode of the 1983-1995 Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” TV show.)
Enjoy some book/library/literary YouTube videos: