Should We Assume Everything is Going to End Up on YouTube Eventually?

We as web people at colleges are spending a ton of time lately thinking about creating web content specifically for YouTube. Whether it be class lectures, interviews with students or your President having some fun on campus, YouTube is compelling because it allows us to reach a ton of people worldwide, for free.

But, there’s a downside to some of this as well. With cell phone cameras, Flip cams and even the fact just about every laptop and netbook has a camera, there are a lot of opportunities for students and others to capture things happening at your institution, both positive and negative, some flattering for your institution and some not.

Take this video from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee for example. In it, a student gets into an argument with an instructor during class, It ends with the student being taken to the ground by security officers, handcuffed and led out of class. Of course, a student quickly got out their phone and started recording. Warning: definitely NSFW.

I’m guessing this is not the type of thing that officials at UW-M are not really excited to see get out there.

The same thing happened at my institution recently, when a group of students protested during halftime of a basketball game. It was posted to YouTube and Facebook group started within minutes of the event happening.

The take-away here is that we’re getting to the point that we should be assuming that everything is going to end up on YouTube, good and bad.

What can we as web and marketing folks do about this?

I think the days of doing nothing are quickly coming to an end. We’ve got to be proactive, and here are a few steps to get you going on monitoring what videos are being posted about you.

I’d recommend searching for your institution in YouTube and grabbing the RSS feed that YouTube provides and adding that to your Google Reader or RSS reader of choice so you’re updated when something new is posted. Second, I’d recommend having a set of steps laid out ahead of time outlining what your (and by you I mean your group/department/institution) response will be.

Perhaps one of those responses will be a video of your own, with one of your institution’s leaders – the fight fire with fire approach. This isn’t a higher ed example, but here’s such a response from Domino’s Pizza after a video of store employees doing nasty things went viral. This video is straight, and to the point. Mr. Doyle could use a bit more charisma, but it’s good just the same.

What do you think about videos like the UW-M one above or the response video?

2 comments

  1. Our school had an incident (before I worked here) where a professor’s lecture was secretly recorded, then edited/manipulated to say other things, then maliciously distributed to many people. Side note- this was a religious class and the person was trying to skewer the reputation of this prof as a “respectable spiritual person.” After that, I believe there was a school wide implementation disallowing unauthorized recording of classes. I could be wrong about that. Of course that doesn’t stop it from happening quickly and going viral before it can be legally pulled down.

    But to answer the initial question- yes, I think it’s wise to keep in mind that anything can be recorded, uploaded, and distributed very quickly these days.

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