Social Networking

In February 2005, a group of friends observed the utter lack of a uniform, easy-to-use way of sharing streaming video online, and decided to create a website to address this issue. All these years later, it's difficult to imagine an Internet without YouTube--a site that receives an estimated three billion views per day.

But does your group use YouTube?

YouTube is one of the most important ways for a group to market itself online. The purest way in which a group can sell itself is to put its performances out there for the world to see. An a cappella video on YouTube is the modern day equivalent of arch sing. It's available to global audience that's surfing the web and not necessarily looking for music, but that just might stumble upon it. It also follows in the Internet, DVR, and home media age in that it makes a performance available to an audience whenever it's convenient for an audience to take it in.

For groups that want to build a presence beyond the confines of their own schools, YouTube represents one of the most efficient ways to do so--putting a product out for anyone to see, and making it easy to forward a link to a video to friends, or publicize it through Facebook.

YouTube also promotes dialogue. For one thing, a group can enable commenting so people can vocalize their praise, their criticism, and their commentary related to a video. Good or bad, if a video is getting attention, that will usually play to a group's favor in that it makes them better known, and a more intregrated, personal part of someone's day.

Furthermore, there's the possibility of not just a group itself, but the group's supporters posting videos on YouTube. On one hand, this can be dangerous, because some groups will want to exert quality control and ensure that only their best material goes out to the public. But more broadly, like comments, even a lesser video will be one more stab at garnering a group attention, and will give unconditional fans an extra opportunity to hear the group sing. These are not bad things.

YouTube is one of the most ubiquitous platforms for social networking today. A group would be foolish not to take advantage of all of its possibilities.