I think it’s fair to say most of us use a decent number of social media platforms. But how many of us have really sat to figure out what we can do with that platform to get us where we want to be? I used to be teased for treating my computer and my digital spaces as something other than a toaster or a television. It’s a valid description. I tend to figure out what I can do with something and then try to use as much of it as I can. That’s what the developer intended, right?
Because we’re all on it more than we really should be, and because we can use this platform in a variety of ways, I thought I’d start with YouTube.
So…what is YouTube? YouTube is essentially a content management system dedicated solely to video posts. As a regular user, you can upload your own video content as long as your videos are under fifteen minutes long. Partners can upload longer videos and schedule when their videos are released. All users can host and archive live events, built on the Google Hangouts platform.
YouTube is also the second most active search engine; it’s amazing what you can find on there. Even better, you can bookmark them to a Watch Later playlist so you can watch them when you have time. You can tailor your viewing experience on YouTube by following other YouTubers or just a selection of their playlists, allowing you to really focus on what’s important or entertaining to you.
But you don’t have to settle for just watching. You can find like minded people or people who want to learn the skills you have by producing and uploading videos that show off your knowledge, skills, interests, and opinions. You can build playlists around topics you’re interested in, pulling in videos you and others have produced. Then, you arrange the videos in that playlist and annotate them, really creating a curated experience for viewers. Playlists have their own privacy level, allowing you to control who sees them. (I find playlists rather helpful when I’m developing my learning resources for a skill I’m working on.)
YouTube also offers specialized services for certain industries. Teachers who create a channel of educational videos can apply to YouTube EDU, enabling their videos to be more easily found by other teachers and those looking to learn something. YouTube has also recently piloted a programs for musicians to help them connect better with their fans. While some larger acts are trying it out, many of the artists finding success with the program are indies.
YouTube is a comprehensive education and entertainment platform. It’s a great way to find and connect with people with similar (or even contrasting) interests and opinions. For those interested is getting involved with film production, animation, acting, or anything that lends itself to a video format, producing YouTube videos is a great way to get your feet wet. figure things out, and connect with other creators in the process. YouTube also offers a free Creators Academy, a pretty solid program for helping producers move from total newbie to seasoned creator. We’ve all seen the opportunities that can come with producing and managing great videos and programming, even if all you’re doing is curating playlists.
So stop watching videos for a bit and play with the site. Figure what you want to do, be it create your own videos or pull together playlists of other people’s videos on a certain topic, and then do it. And then do it again. Become an active user.