Friday, November 15, 2013

Why I'm Such a Big Fan of YouTube

I spend a big part of my job helping people with YouTube which I often recommend for the following reasons:
  • It's not as public as people think - there is an "unlisted" setting so only people with the link can view your video (it won't come up in searches). 
    • Personally I try to make my videos public so I can give back to the world a little bit in case they help someone else, but it's nice to have options. 
  • It's easy! Many programs have a direct export to YouTube function. For instance, on the iPad you can record a video and then click the share button to send it over to YouTube. Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic, and iMovie all have this, among many other programs. 
  • Again: ease of use. To upload a video, login and click the big upload button on the top. It is very user friendly. 
  • The account and videos are controlled by the user. In other words, you don't have to rely on someone else to put your videos here for you. It is also easy to take your videos with you, should you get another job. 
  • Does YouTube ever go down? I have never experienced that. It's super reliable. 
    • Addendum: the night after I wrote this YouTube did go down briefly. Ha! Thanks universe, for putting me in my place. So, nothing is 100% reliable. 
  • There's a built in video editor. You can trim your video, add title slides, change the lighting - all sorts of fantastic stuff. I took some video at a concert that was a bit jumpy and YouTube stabilize it so I didn't make people seasick. 
  • Many people already have a Google account so they just need to figure out their password! If they don't want to use their current or personal Google account, they can just make another one.
  • Accessibility: If you have the text for a video transcribed and you upload it, YouTube does a fantastic job of timing it with the video so you don't have to go through and click to indicate when the captions come up. This is a big advantage for accessibility since it saves a lot of time. 
    • The creators of the math MOOC from LaCrosse, WI put all of their videos on YouTube, let it take a stab at automatic captioning, and just modified what YouTube came up with which saved them time in creating captions. 
    • YouTube's captions vary considerably depending on the speaker's voice and the audio quality. Sometimes they are hilariously wrong, but other times pretty dang close. 
One thing I'm not a huge fan of is how it seems like Google is learning waaayy too much about me, but that's the cost of something free, I suppose. There are other options if you're not a fan of Google. I mostly use my YouTube account for work stuff and then I use Vimeo for non-work videos. There is also a university server for UWEC. 

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