What is You Tube?
YouTube is a website that lets anyone upload and host videos. These videos can be made public on YouTube for everyone to see and shared via social media (such as Facebook and Twitter), or can be embedded in other websites. Videos can also be shared more privately among friends and family by email. Individuals and organisations can upload all types of visual content, from professionally made videos to those filmed on mobile phones and uploaded straight to the site via an app. Just as Google makes it possible to search just for images via the Images tab, YouTube provides a way to search just for videos, using certain keywords or topics. In fact, it is the second most popular website after Google for searching. People can share, like, and comment on YouTube videos, providing their creators with instant feedback.
Why do people look on YouTube?
People may look for content on YouTube for a number of reasons:
•Entertainment – such as film, TV, music videos, and funny home-made videos
•Information – such as details of products and services, as well as news reports and interviews
•Instructional – there are how-to guides for a wide range of topics, from ‘how to tie a tie’, to ‘how to use Photoshop’
How to use YouTube
If you have a Gmail address, it is easy to start using YouTube, as you can log-in using your Gmail details. Your YouTube account will provide you with a personal page, where you can subscribe to other channels that interest you, as well as ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ on specific videos. YouTube will use this information to suggest other content you might like, making it easy to find videos that are relevant to you. Your account also provides you with a public ‘channel’, and it is here that you can upload your own content, and share the content of others.
Most people who are familiar with YouTube will know that a lot of the content is made up of live action videos, of varying lengths and quality. However, there are other types of content that might be simpler if you are planning to create your own videos. You can use screen recording tools (such as CamStudio) to make PowerPoint slideshows with audio commentary over the top, which can then be easily uploaded to YouTube. You can also create photo slideshows easily within YouTube itself, using your own PowerPoint slides and photos, and add a music soundtrack. However, as well as making your own videos, you can use the wealth of video content added by others to create playlists on your channel of videos that you think would be of interest to others, e.g. libraries might include book trailers by publishers that make great reading ideas, or how-to guides from online reference providers that help customers use library resources.
Why do organisations use YouTube?
Businesses and services have identified ways in which YouTube is beneficial to them:
•Provides a visual representation of what they have to offer
•Innovative way of promoting products
•Quick and easy way of hosting video content to use on their own website
•Can be used to gauge customer opinion and feedback
Why should libraries use YouTube?
There are several key reasons why libraries should start using YouTube:
•It allows libraries to get information to their customers in a visual and engaging way, raising awareness of the range of services on offer
•It improves the customer experience, and can encourage people to interact with their library service
•By having a YouTube channel, which is linked to Google, your service will appear higher in search results on both YouTube and Google
Video content has been shown to engage customers in a different way than text or image based information, so using YouTube videos on library websites or social media channels can increase the reach of your message. A number of library authorities have already started to use YouTube in several different ways. Some have created videos to advertise their overall service; others have made videos to promote specific projects, or to highlight services to a certain section of the community. Some libraries are also using video content for training purposes to help staff and volunteers Some examples of YouTube content by Libraries includes:
•Video exploring the underground stacks of Manchester Central Library
•The New York Public Library regularly uploads videos from their events
•Essex Libraries demonstrates how to make a playlist from other people’s videos
•How-to guides for using the British Library’s services
1. Use YouTube as a search engine
You do not need a YouTube account for this activity. Look up a subject you are interested in and find a relevant video. If you don’t know what to look for, try looking up ‘icing a cupcake’ or ‘putting up a tent’
2. Sign up for a YouTube account
You can use an email account that you already have to sign up for a YouTube account. Find a video on YouTube that you like, and then ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ via Facebook, Twitter or email (these options are listed underneath the video).
3. Create your own YouTube ‘Channel’
Find a channel that looks interesting and ‘subscribe’ to it – this will allow you to receive updates on their newest uploads, which you will find on your personal page. Have a look at the public side of your ‘channel’ by choosing ‘My Channel’ from the drop down menu in the top right hand corner of your page and follow the instructions to create a personal channel with your name. Make your own playlist by finding videos of interest (such as author interviews), and underneath each video click the ‘add to’ option, and add to a playlist. You can call the playlist anything you like, and once you have set it up you can edit it on your channel.
4. Update your blog
Write about the above activities on your blog; which videos you looked up, channels you subscribed to and whether or not you found the site to be user friendly.
•For those of you who still have time left or would like to know more about this topic, Wikipedia have a detailed article on YouTube.
•The Legal Bit module contains some information about rules and regulations governing the use of YouTube and videos
•Increasingly, people are using their mobile devices to look at sites such as YouTube. Use your smart phone to look at YouTube and see how it compares to the desktop version. Then look at your channel to see how it will look to your customers on their mobile devices.