Why you should watch closely YouTube

May 26th, 2006 Karine Joly 2 Comments

Have you already heard about YouTube?

Not yet? Well, you will pretty soon. So, you might want to find out more about this video-sharing website as soon as possible.

Even if I haven’t written a lot about customer-generated videos up until now, I believe they are going to play a bigger and bigger role on the Web and in higher ed marketing.

So, what is YouTube?

As explained in their online FAQ’s, “YouTube is a free online video streaming service that allows users to view and share videos that have been uploaded by our members.”

Basically, anybody who registers can upload a video and share it with friends (or strangers) without worrying about bandwidth issues and any other streaming-related technicalities.

What this also means is that anybody (read student, alum, parent, faculty or staff member) can shoot a video with a web cam, digital camera or even a cell phone camera before uploading it to YouTube and share it with the world (read prospective students, parents, alums and… journalists)

The end of the controlled institutional message…. with the power of streaming video.

Thanks to YouTube, you could find yourself in the middle of a PR crisis in no time if a controversial video about one of your campus events ends up on this site and catches the interest of thousands of viewers. With features like “Share this Video”, Tags and Embedded Videos, anything can be quickly distributed all over the Internet.

And, imagine if the video is used by a reporter on TV or in an online magazine…

That’s what happened with a student commencement speech at the University of St. Thomas

As reported in “A Commencement Turns Ugly,” an article by Scott Jaschik from Inside Higher Ed, “the student speaker at the Saint Paul, Minn., institution’s graduation ceremony used his address to denounce as “selfish” those women who use the birth control pill.


A portion of the controversial speech has been posted online at YouTube (be forewarned that several loud expletives from audience members are also audible).”

The 6-minute video was shot and uploaded by an International Student at St Thomas, Samuel Loussouarn. At the time of this post, the video has been viewed more than 14,000 times in just six days. More than 85 people have left a comment at YouTube about it.

What’s funny is that the student who shot this video also posted this terrific promotional video with French subtitles about the International program at St Thomas – something that will definitely promote the program overseas.

That’s why you should watch closely YouTube.

You might find there the good, the bad and the ugly about your institution…

2 Responses

  1. Kickstand says:

    I’ve also seen a super video on YouTube of a self-replicating robot built by Cornell Engineers. You can bet that smart high school students who are into robotics were sending that to their friends.

    YouTube is out there, we should take advantage of it and actively promote cool stuff about our institutions, not simply “watch” for stuff to show up.

  2. Karine Joly says:

    Great point!

    There is definitely something there that can be used to promote our institutions.

    Actually, Ithaca College uses YouTube on its myspace profile to showcase some student work.

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