YouTube Playlists: Embedding and Promoting

I don’t know whether this works or not, so I’m giving it a try. That’s the great thing about a blog: You can experiment and see what works, and then modify your approach based on what you learn. And so that’s why I’m doing this as a SMUG research project, so that later I can add a fully cleaned-up post to either our Mayo Clinic News Blog or Podcast Blog. And by doing this learning in public, hopefully I’ll get some additional ideas from the SMUGgle community. I hope you’ll share those in the comments.

So here’s the issue: Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center has created a series of three Stop Smoking videos, such as this one I’ve embedded below:


I created a playlist too, which we’re going to feature for a time at least on the front of our Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

But I also wanted to see whether that playlist could be embedded within blogs. I tried embedding below using the standard “Add Video” button, but at least in the preview it wasn’t visible.


If you still can’t see it in the space immediately above now that I’ve published it, that means it still didn’t work.

YouTube does have embed codes for its playlists that would work on Blogger or Typepad (and I expect for WordPress blogs that aren’t hosted on But for security reasons, doesn’t allow Flash widgets on its blogs, because it doesn’t want someone to upload malicious code that could bring down millions of blogs. So your users can’t view the entire playlist unless you embed each video individually.

So what’s the workaround?

I would suggest that if you’re on and want to highlight a YouTube playlist, you should embed one of the videos (and probably add some annotations) but then just say something like:

“Check out the whole Mayo Clinic Stop Smoking playlist on YouTube” and have it open in a new window.

YouTube playlists also can be shared directly from within YouTube by e-mail, and individual videos also can be shared through Facebook and MySpace. I guess that probably makes the annotations even more important, because they can include links to the playlist, so people who find one of the videos will also have links to the others.

I also have featured this playlist on the wall of Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page, and then I Tweeted it. I also shared on Facebook by posting it to my personal profile. I suppose I could send an update to Mayo Clinic’s fans on Facebook, but I want to be pretty judicious in how many of those I send.

I have, of course, added the Get Social series of buttons at the bottom of this post so it can be shared easily via Facebook, StumbleUpon and other networking sites. I suppose that in the post I do on the News Blog, adding these would be a good way to spread the word.

What do you think? What other methods for promoting a YouTube video playlist would you recommend?

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Dropbox: Senduit Without the Ads

In a previous post I wrote about, which has a nice, elegant interface for file sharing that doesn’t require you to sign up for an account. I’ve used it some to send video files and other files that are too large for e-mail attachment.

I began looking for alternatives, though, because I have had mixed results with Senduit. Sometimes it requires people downloading files to wait up to 120 seconds for the download to start, and then sometimes Internet Explorer (for those consigned to the Windows world) blocks the download. And I’ve had the uploads time out on several occasions.

So I signed up for the Dropbox private beta, because it looked like it had a nice interface. And for synching across multiple machines, it seemed really slick. I just got into the private beta last week.

The thing I really like is that each file you upload has a URL, so you can link to a video file on Dropbox from your blog. It’s like an FTP server without the complications.

So here’s an example of a video I shot of my daughter Rebekah taking a volleyball off her head during a recent match. Click here to play or right-click and “Save as Target” to download.

The file I put up there was in QuickTime, which some of you Windows users might not have. So here’s another example, of a photo of me with Rebekah, from a year or two ago.

Dropbox is now out of private beta and is available to everyone. A 2 GB account is free, and for about $10 a month you can have 50 GB of storage.

I will probably do a follow-up post with a screencast demo of how to use this for making larger attachments available in your blog posts, but for now you can click the photo and video links above to see how it works on the blog reader side. My later post will show you how to create those links.

In the comments below, please let me know how the download worked for you. Was it relatively quick, or kind of sluggish?

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Social Media 203: YouTube Video Annotations

Annotations are a great new beta feature available on YouTube. They enable you to add text to your videos, and to have that text linked to a specific action on YouTube. I first saw this in some of the BarelyPolitical videos, and thought perhaps this was a premium feature.

It turns out it’s available to all of us.

For an example, I decided to use a video we did yesterday about the first large study of breast cancer detection using molecular breast imaging as an alternative — or at least as a supplement — to mammography. It turns out that molecular breast imaging found about three times as many cancers as mammography in this group of women. You can read more about the study here on the Mayo Clinic News Blog, and we also have links to some photos and resulting news coverage.

Here’s the screencast of me adding the annotations last night, which also shows how you can add annotations to your videos:


And if you want to see the finished product (and perhaps even subscribe to the Mayo Clinic YouTube channel), here it is:


The only real drawback from the publisher’s perspective is that the annotations can’t be linked to a non-YouTube URL. It would have been nice to be able to link directly to the blog post where the video is embedded, so viewers can get more information. But I’m fine with that, since I could add the link in the video description field.

From my perspective, the major advantage of YouTube annotations is that they offer a standardized way to add descriptive text, such as Dr. Hruska’s title, without requiring either expensive studio-grade video editing software or a lot of time and effort. The annotations are plain, but they also are crisp and functional. It takes only a minute or two to add these annotations. And if this is the standard on YouTube, anyone who uses it can have confidence that it will be seen as consistent with how Web video is done.

What do you think?

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Facebook 302: Facebook for Medical Support Groups

Sites like CarePages and CaringBridge have been developed to meet important needs for hospitalized patients and their families and friends.

But Facebook, as a powerful general-purpose social networking site, may prove to be an even more useful alternative to these dedicated patient communication sites.

I will start by describing the very real needs CarePages and similar sites meet, and then discuss how Facebook can meet those needs.

Continue reading “Facebook 302: Facebook for Medical Support Groups”

A Peek at the Flip Mino

In our family visit to Louisville this weekend, I got to see my friend Rick Kelley, who had taken my recommendation to get a Flip. He chose the Mino instead of the Ultra, though, because he has a house full of boys. The Ultra’s AA batteries likely would have been regularly cannibalized for use in a GameBoy; with the Mino’s rechargeable battery, that’s not a concern.

So here’s some video I shot of Rick’s Mino, using my Ultra.


Here, for comparison, is some video of me handling an Ultra. I shot it using my webcam and did a direct upload to YouTube, so it was optimized for speed instead of quality. But you can get the idea of the relative size and design aesthetics of the two models.


Of course, you can see a more elegant view of the Flip at the company’s site, but I’m betting they used a higher-end camera to produce it. Just a hunch.

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