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Digitise It | Chapter Six

E-Advocacy and YouTube


THE BASICS

What is YouTube? YouTube.com is a free website that allows you to watch and share videos on the Internet. Most YouTube videos last less than 10 minutes, and are short clips from mainstream media or videos made by Internet users, like you.

If you make videos, you can add them to the site and broadcast them to the world for free. When you share videos on YouTube, they are automatically filed together on a webpage called your channel. People all over the world can subscribe to your channel to get updates every time you post a new video. People can also comment on your channel or the videos you post, and even share video responses. YouTube's sharing functions also make it easy to embed your videos on other websites, allowing you to reach a broader audience.

How could I use YouTube in a free expression campaign? Video can be especially poignant in international campaigns, when you are striving to reach a global audience and illustrate how an issue—such as freedom of expression—transcends language and geography to touch us all. Quickly and cheaply, YouTube facilitates the sharing of film, images and ideas between people all around the world. As such, video and YouTube offer an opportunity for freedom of expression organisations to use the power of images to tell their stories to a global audience.

Using video in a campaign can help to engage audiences and act as a hook to interest people in learning more about the issue or your organisation (which can lead them to your website, for example). It is an opportunity to tell human rights stories in new ways and in a format that is compatible with mainstream media, which can facilitate mainstream coverage of your campaign.

Even with all of this potential, it is important to keep your use of video and YouTube clearly focused and in line with your overall media or e-advocacy strategy. Some ways in which these tools may factor into these broader strategies include:

  • Starting a video blog
  • Putting together a video that highlights your campaign or tells the story of your movement or campaign
  • Filming footage at an action or protest, and posting it online
  • Posting a video calling on a politician or organisation to respond to your campaign, and asking other YouTube users to post videos in support
  • Use video interviews and personal testimonies to strengthen your message.

YouTube may not be ideal if…

  • You don't have plenty of bandwidth, which is required for optimal viewing
  • You, or the majority of your target audience, do not have access to high-speed Internet connections: without high-speed viewing YouTube videos is slow and difficult
  • If this is the case, think about using another social networking tool for your e-advocacy campaign.


THE STEPS

STEP 1:

Watch Videos on YouTube

What you need:
A computer with Internet access.

On your computer:
1. Go to YouTube
2. In the Search field, type in a name or topic you’re interested in
3. Click on a video
4. Watch online!

On your mobile phone
Some mobile phones have Internet access, which means you may be able to watch YouTube videos on your phone. See if you can by visiting m.youtube.com on your mobile phone, and try to watch a video. If it works, you’re set!


TIP

Even though YouTube is free, some mobile phone companies charge more for using the Internet and sending/receiving data - such as videos - on your mobile phone. Watching videos and sharing on YouTube can therefore be expensive. Contact your mobile phone service provider about data costs and plans before starting to use YouTube on your phone.

STEP 2:

Make a Video to Share on YouTube

What you need:
A video camera, webcam, digital camera or cell phone that can record videos
A computer with Internet access

What to do:

  1. Shoot a video no more than 10 minutes long
  2. Save the file (YouTube supports almost all video formats and file sizes up to 20GB, but the larger the file the longer it will take to upload and the more bandwidth it will require.) and make sure it is no bigger than 1G
  3. Edit the movie, if you want to and have basic video editing software.
  4. TIP: Some basic video editing software comes installed on most new computers. Movie Maker comes free on Windows systems and iMovie comes free on Mac systems. You can also perform minor edits to the video once you have uploaded it to YouTube.
  5. Get ready to share your video on YouTube!

STEP 3:

Share Videos on YouTube

On your computer
On your mobile phone

1. Go to YouTube

2. Create an account. Note that your username will be visible on YouTube, and is what people will use to find you. Consider using the name of your organisation; if creating a personal account, remember that you don’t have to use your real name.

3. Select the “upload” button at the top of the page.

4. Follow the instructions to upload a video you've made.

5. Choose to make the video either public (everyone on YouTube can see it), unlisted (only those who have the direct URL of the video can see it) or private (only the users you select can see it).

1. Download the YouTube app, or go to YouTube Mobile

2. On that page, you will see a unique email address that you can send your videos to (it will look something like [email protected])

3. Write down/save that email address in your phone

4. Shoot and share a video on your phone:

a. Take a video on your phone.
b. Send the video to the unique email address you got above.
c. Your video should be posted to your account within a few minutes!


TIP

We said it above, but it’s worth repeating: even though YouTube is free, some mobile phone companies charge more for using the Internet and sending/receiving data on your mobile phone. Watching videos and sharing on YouTube takes up a lot of data, and can therefore be expensive. Contact your mobile phone service provider about data costs and plans before starting to use YouTube on your phone.

Additional resources

Latest Tweet:

Eaten Fish cartoonist: "I didn't have any idea that drawings were going to give me freedom one day."… https://t.co/37uAQQyBr2

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