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How to Get Started on YouTube

By Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade

YouTube is the world’s largest video platform in the world with more than one billion unique monthly users accessing and interacting with the platform. More often than not, these users are viewing a video which was shared on their social networks on Google+, Twitter or Facebook or via an e-mail received from a family member or a friend. Few users realise the endless potential, which the platform has to become an entertainment/information/education hub if the user taps into its full potential.

Below are a series of tips and best practices to help you get the best out of YouTube.

Create an account

This one is pretty straightforward. You will automatically reap more benefits from having your own YouTube account which helps you keep track of your search history, and provides recommendations for you based on your viewing history.

1.        Go to http://www.youtube.com

2.       Click on the Sign Up link located in the top-right corner.

3.       Fill in the sign up form.

4.       Go to your e-mail account and click on the hyperlink sent by YouTube. This verifies your identity and activates your YouTube account.

5.        Once your e-mail is confirmed, you officially become a member of the YouTube community.

Choose your country

Although this step is usually covered during the sign up process, it’s often overlooked by various YouTube community members. The country of your residence is usually the automatically chosen homepage for your YouTube experience, but scrolling down to the bottom of the page can allow you to choose different countries.

Many countries around the world have their own local versions of YouTube which allows for locally relevant content to be more readily available for viewers. This enables you to find out more about what interesting content there is in your country of residence or choice. You can even choose “Worldwide” to check out globally relevant content.

Search on YouTube

Much like Google’s Search Engine, YouTube has a powerful search function built into the platform which enables users to find what they’re looking for. If you have a specific term in mind, simply type it in the search box located at the top of the YouTube page.

Let’s say you searched for “Nigerian music” but was met with millions of search results. The “Filters” button located just underneath the search box allows you to select criteria which can help narrow down your search results. This includes date of upload, number of views, specific categories and more.

If you do not have a specific search term in mind, you can always explore the category tabs found on the YouTube homepage which include music, gaming, films, TV and more.

Exploring the home page


The homepage on YouTube offers the users an overall view on the latest and greatest content. The homepage can immediately tell you what other users are watching right now, what the hottest videos are as well as featured videos. These featured videos often include the highest rated, most viewed and most discussed video content from your country.

The homepage also allows users to switch their language of viewing on the platform from the bottom of the page in addition to the ability to turn on and off the safety filters which are commonly used by parents which allowing their children to surf the Web. These safety filters help you avoid any videos which may contain inappropriate content.

Subscribe to channels


Perhaps the most important, yet often ignored step for every YouTube user, is subscribing to channels. Each user who signs up on YouTube has their very own channel, which contains all their videos which were uploaded by that user or organisation.

If you come across a channel whose content you find interesting, intriguing, educational, informative or entertaining, then you can subscribe to that channel. This is done by clicking the “Subscribe” button found on the main channel page.

Subscribing helps you keep in touch with content that interest you. In addition, you have the option to receive e-mail notifications once the channel you are subscribed to uploads new content.

Rate & comment on videos


YouTube is a community platform. It relies on engagement, sharing and ongoing interaction between the different members of this global and vibrant community. Rating a video by giving it a “thumbs up” for approval or “thumbs down” for disapproval can help other users discern the general outlook on this content even before viewing it themselves.

Commenting is another integral part of interaction on the platform. Each comment can turn every single video into a conversation, with some videos generation thousands of comments. Comments are especially helpful for content creators who love to get feedback on their work – be it positive or negative. Users can comment on videos via text comments or by shooting their very own video comment in response to the video.

Create your own content

YouTube was initially started as a platform to empower any user around the world with a video camera and an Internet connection. With the proliferation of smartphones, broadband, and other technological advances, anyone can become a content creator.

The power of YouTube as a platform is that it offers people with something to say a window to a potentially limitless audience. Content creators around the world benefit from the power of YouTube with thousands of success stories of people who have achieved stardom and fame through the platform and their original and unique content.

Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade is the Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa for Google Inc.










 

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