Guide to YouTube | Vanus Creations
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Guide to YouTube

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The Beginner’s Guide to YouTube

By Eric Larson

YouTube’s been around for a while — you’ve probably heard of it.

The video-sharing site went live in 2005, and has since become the go-to medium for uploading footage on the web. More than one hour of video is uploaded to the site every second.

Still, as seasoned as it is, it’s helpful to look back at the basics. Whether you’re a complete n00b or a longtime peruser hoping to finally dive in, we rounded up a few things to know before getting started.

Setting Up an Account

Getting started is as easy as any other social network. From the homepage, click the blue “Sign In” button at the top-right corner of the screen. If you’re completely new, you’ll be taken to another login page asking for your Gmail information. Click the red “Create New Account” button in the upper-right. From there, fill out your basic information — name, email address, password — and click “Continue” on the bottom-right.

Uploading Videos

All right, you’ve got an account — now let’s get straight to videos.

Uploading is equally easy. Once you’ve shot and edited your video and it’s saved on your computer or connected through your USB port, click the “Upload” button to the right of the search bar up top. You can mark your video as “Public” or “Private.” It might take a few minutes to render, depending on the file’s size, but remain patient.

Using Analytics

The analytics tool, in short, lets you track how your videos are performing. Access it by clicking the down arrow next to the “Upload” button.

Categories include: number of video views and subscribers; number of minutes users spent watching each video; and demographics, including country and gender, of each viewer.

Subscribing to Channels

Channel discovery can be a little tricky, given YouTube’s now gargantuan size. The website does its best to promote the largest channels (based on ad sales) with good content. By and large, though, finding channels to subscribe to can be overwhelming.

The best way to discover new channels is by browsing through the subscription feeds of others. So if you’ve found a few channels you enjoy — a channel about video effects or comedy videos — take a look through which channels that channel is following. Chances are, your mutual interests will line up in your favor.

Most well-known content creators, too, give shoutouts to other channels they enjoy, so keep an eye out for that, too.

Understanding the Culture

Again, YouTube is a huge platform — huge. At one point in time, there was an overall “YouTube community,” but now, given the sheer number and diverse genres of content creators, it’s become a melting pot of individual sub-cultures, much like Reddit. Most close-knit YouTube communities revolve around users who collaborate or recommend each other’s content.

Some of the more well-known communities are based on location, like the British vloggers near London (charlieissocoollike, bing, TomSka and ninebrassmonkeys).

Others are defined by particular genre: gaming channels, tech review channels or video-editing channels.

Many times, these are stratified by channel size, so don’t go in expecting to be friends with huge content creators right away. The best way to operate as part of the community on YouTube is to reach out to content creators who have, say, twice your subscriber count. Try to make collaboration videos, watch each other’s stuff — things like that.

Handling Commenters and/or Trolls

Some people (ahem, commenters) view anonymity as a protective blanket that lets them say whatever they want. In most cases, it takes the form of callous bullying that stems from nothing and, at the end of the day, means nothing

Always remember that last part when you’re uploading your own content.

Take the above video, for example, which shows a baby turtle trying to eat a raspberry. Cute and totally non-offensive, right? Yet it still managed to receive comments like these:

It’s classic YouTube. You can look at trolls in a number of ways:

1. Treat them like comedians treat hecklers.

Reply with something witty. YouTube isn’t strictly a medium for video — it’s a medium for personality. So if a commenter gives you material to say something clever, by all means embrace it; other viewers might find it entertaining. Remember, though, that replying to comments (especially in snarky ways) will encourage more. If a viewer sees that you tend to reply, he might be more inclined to troll.

2. Block their ASS accounts.

You also have the ability to block any user from commenting. This is probably the best approach for commenters who are particularly obscene or threatening. If you use this too liberally, though, you’ll eventually find yourself with very few comments (and viewer interaction is key to getting your video high up in the search results).

3. Ignore them.

Probably the best course of action. Ignoring doesn’t encourage the heckler; it gives other viewers the chance to jump in your defense; and you won’t find yourself in a mud-slinging contest. To be a YouTuber is to have the skin of a rhinoceros, so don’t take anything too personally.

Plus, criticism is always good — there could be some helpful hints buried beneath the troll muck.

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