digital storytelling,  timeless

The trouble with publishing your digital story on YouTube is

Publishing your digital story on YouTube is cheap, quick, easy and not without its dangers. So here’s how to avoid the pain.

If it’s your own content you’re publishing and this is what you want to do, go for it. If you’re part of a digital storytelling project that helps others to make stories and you’re looking for a way of getting their stories out there, just be aware the embed code that’s on offer enables anyone to embed that video into a completely different website. Usually that will be someone’s on-topic blog; sometime though, the final destination is something much less desirable. It’s all about context, isn’t it?

Benefits of YouTube publication

  • Cheap. They pay for hosting and bandwidth, not you
  • Accessible. Your content has the potential to be seen by the huge YouTube viewing community and, because Google owns YouTube, it’s going to be findable via search.

Drawbacks of YouTube publication

  • You’re at YouTube’s mercy.  It’s their terms and conditions that apply, not yours, and you may sometime find adverts before and after, as well as around your video.
  • You’re at others’ mercy. You’re not in control of the way your content is contextualised. A digital story about, say, mental illness, may be embedded unscrupulously by someone (not YouTube of course)  into say a ‘Saddo of the Week’ site.

So my advice is: if it’s your story and you’re happy, go for it; if it’s someone else’s story you’re publishing, have a chat with them, discuss your concerns together, and take a decision after that.

youtube 2008 photo for publishing your digital story on YouTube story
Photo by Joel Olives

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 20 August 2008, when YouTube was just three years old. How many of these issues are still true today? (GM: 2 December 2017)

One Comment

  • Joe

    You can control whether people can embed your YouTube clips – disabling the feature is an option. You can also choose whether or not people can leave comments about your films, which may be worth considering if your material deals with sensitive issues.

    As far as I know there’s no way of monitoring which sites have embedded your content, though I may be wrong about this. Certainly I’ve never noticed the ability to do so.

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