YouTube is known as a video website but in the near future, maybe it will be known more by its charity work.
When someone says “YouTube,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Cat videos? Bad song covers? That one, thirty second video that you could watch ten times in a row and would always make you laugh? Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management at Google, noticed that one item that was absent from YouTube’s characteristics was charity work. So, he decided to fix it.
Just by creating a platform on which charities and educational institutions can upload their content and promote their causes, YouTube is doing good things. Despite Walk’s job title, he has been handling YouTube’s product side as well. When he also decided he wanted to direct YouTube’s products towards a greater good, he had to convince YouTube chief, Salar Kamangar, just how valuable it would be.
Walk’s main goal? To do as much good through YouTube as possible. His three pronged approach is: Causes & Non Profits, Education, and Activisim & Free Expression. He invites current employees to volunteer to manage special features for non-profit organizations, and for the most part, he says, they are happy to help. In particular, they’re developing support queues devoted entirely to charitable organizations so that their technical issues can be solved quickly. Also, they’re working on creating a white-list of YouTube channels for special school accounts, so that teachers and students can use YouTube on campuses without the fear of running into any questionable content.
Although Walk’s concentrated charitable initiative is new, YouTube has been helping out non-profits since 2007 by granting them free access to normally premium-priced features. For example, the “Donate” button and the ability to upload fifteen minute plus videos were privileged features that were intended for paid account holders exclusively, but in 2007, YouTube donated those features to non-profit channels. Also, YouTube’s annotation option (the pop-up windows that come up while you’re watching a video) can’t link to any websites away from YouTube. They can only write out URLs without displaying an active link. Non-profits, however, get to put active links in their video annotations to other own websites, specifically petition pages or their main pages to get viewers involved in their causes.
On January 18th, YouTube also released what they called a “Playbook” of tips and tricks that non-profit organizations can read and use to better manage and distribute their YouTube videos. Another new feature Walk is looking to roll out in the near future is a live-stream option. Currently, that feature is in beta with a half-dozen channels.
The value of educational content on YouTube has already been highlighted many times over. Brick-and-mortar institutions like Harvard and Yale have already uploaded tons of content, letting online viewers into the classroom for free. Online schools have been cropping up as well, maybe because of YouTube, and have been garnishing a lot of attention all over the web. The Khan Academy, for example, has provided tutorials on a variety of subjects and have an incredible amount of pageviews already.
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Here at NetHosting, we love what Hunter is doing with YouTube, and what YouTube is doing for people around the world. We may not have the same reach, but helping to make our community better is one of our top priorities. Specifically, we’re partnered with Fibernet to work with local charities like the United Way of Utah County, Habitat for Humanity, Lost Paws, and more. In the past few months, we had a food drive for Community Action Services where we raised a whopping 713 items, but one of our favorite programs to participate in is Sub for Santa. In every experience, we’ve definitely learned as a company and individually that helping someone in the simplest of ways can make a big difference in our communities as a whole.