This is the fourth in a series guest posts I'm making to help groups and individuals spread their ideas and information more widely using social media. Previous posts in the series have discussed photo sharing and making google maps. In this post, I'll introduce video sharing.
If you're looking for a post that covers advanced video editing then this probably isn't the post for you, as it's more about sharing videos online than it is about shooting and editing videos. Most of the numerous videos I've published online over the years have been unedited, single-take clips recorded on a camera phone or ordinary digital stills camera.
Don't get me wrong - a proper, dedicated digital video camera will almost always help you achieve better audio and video quality, but I tend only to use mine to capture longer videos of important moments, such as birthdays and other events, with the intention of eventually getting around to editing them, complete with titles, transitions, etc. For anything else, the camera in my pocket is the camera I end up using the most and, for me, that's historically been a mobile phone. It's probably worth noting that the gap between the quality of a dedicated video camera and the portability of a mobile device has been bridged by the tiny, hard-drive based flip camera, which some of the Big Green Challenge finalists are using.
YouTube is probably the place where most people have their first encounter with video sharing online. Registration is free and it's simple to upload and share a video, particularly as YouTube has created a section for user created how-to's and help videos should you find any part of the process unclear.
There are, of course, other video sharing services. These include Vimeo, which has a really slick interface that allows people to leave comments at points within a video rather than just beneath it, Blip.tv, Viddler and others. Flickr, most well-known for photo sharing and appearing in my post here on that topic, also allows the upload of short video clips. NowPublic, which describes itself as a news site created by its users, would be a good choice for anyone with content which could be described as ‘newsy’ - including activism - because it draws an audience that would engage with that sort of content.
All the services above are free and work in basically the same way - anyone can view videos (and other content) but to post comment users usually have to register. Once registered, users can begin uploading, describing (using titles or tags), then sharing their content. Some might be surprised that I'm not going to give this process the step-by-step treatment here, but most of the services I've listed provide their own easy to follow video tutorials which I'm unlikely to be able to match.
So what is the key to successful video sharing online?
- Choose the right service to reach your target audience - YouTube has mass appeal, but Vimeo, NowPublic and others are more likely to reach certain niche audiences.
- Consider publishing your video under a creative commons license which allows others to use your video for their own purposes.
- Make sure you allow others to use the embed code to display your video on their blogs, MySpace pages, Facebook profiles, etc
- Always link from the videos you post online back to your website so that people who stumble across your video content can follow the link back to find out more about you.
I hope that, by following the tips above, you gain a lot more from creating and posting videos online.
This post is part of a series of guest posts about social media I'm publishing here on the Big Green Challenge Blog. The next post, which will follow in a few days, will be about using mobile phones to document and publish your story using mobile-enabled services such as Qik, Twitter and WordPress.