YouTube 101: 7 Steps to Getting the Most Out of YouTube

In a way, this course isn’t completely necessary because:

  1. You’ve undoubtedly watched YouTube videos
  2. The interface in YouTube is so well designed that most people “get” it

In fact, my daughter Rebekah just said, “Dad, you’re such a nerd. Seven steps to getting the most out of YouTube..who needs that?” But SMUG exists to provide background, explanation and training in social media even for those of the 30+ generation who aren’t so-called “digital natives.” So here are seven ways you can get the most out of YouTube.

1. Share a Video. Suppose you’re out surfing through YouTube and you come across this interesting one from Mayo Clinic on Coblation Tonsillectomy, which is a cool (pardon the pun) alternative to cutting out tonsils.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX0DCVXAE4I]

After you’ve watched this, you may think, “That’s just what my nephew Justin with the raspy voice and chronic sore throat needs.” Just click on the “share” button, enter your sister’s e-mail address and a personal note, and hit “send.”

2. Search for Videos. If your interest is organ donation or transplant, for instance, you can find hundreds or even thousands of related videos by searching on those terms. Or to find videos specifically related to the Transplant Games in Pittsburgh, you can search for transplantgames08 to find videos with that tag.

3. Get a YouTube Account. This is free (all it takes is an e-mail address, and you can get one of those free from Gmail.) Whether you upload your own videos or not, this will make it much easier for you to share videos with others, because you’ll be able to save and store their e-mail addresses in your YouTube/GMail address book. You won’t have to remember their addresses in order to pass an interesting video along.

You also can use Facebook (as you see in #1 above) as your all-purpose tool to share neat web pages, including videos, with friends. But it’s worth it to have a YouTube account, especially since it allows you to take the next steps described below.

4. Subscribe to Channels. Maybe then you click on the mayoclinic link on the Coblation Tonsillectomy video and see that Mayo Clinic produces some other interesting videos, and you’d like to be notified when new ones are available. You can Subscribe to the Mayo Clinic channel (or any other channel, including the LeeAase channel, for that matter) either from an individual video or from the main channel page.

Then when people visit your channel, they will see the channels to which you have subscribed, which can help spread the word about causes you care about or just channels you find interesting.

5. Rate Videos and Select Favorites.

When you rate a video, it makes it more prominent within the Google/YouTube universe. And when you select favorites, they are displayed prominently on your personal channel (which we’ll discuss in step 7.)

6. Become a Video Friend of another user or channel.

This lets you share your channel video with others, and is a way (along with subscribing) for you to display channels you like on your channel.

7. Create Your Own Channel. You actually did this in Step 3 by creating an account, but this really comes to fruition when you record and upload your own videos. In some ways you can have a channel simply by sharing your Favorites or Friends, but when you upload a video (using the Flip video camera, for instance) you become a worldwide broadcaster.

As you explore YouTube further you will discover even more ways to use it to accomplish personal and professional goals. But now, it’s time to get started with your homework.

Assignments:

It doesn’t do much good to have a “Seven steps to getting the most out of YouTube” class if you don’t actually apply those seven steps.

So try the steps you haven’t taken (and if you add me as a Friend I will reciprocate.)

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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