YouTube: Is it Part of Your Social Networking Strategy?

With about 2 billion views a day, within just a few years from its inception, YouTube is a major force to be reckoned in social networking.

But before we decide whether to use YouTube as your social networking platform or a part of it, let us first try to explore how it is different from or similar to other social networks in terms of use and application.

How YouTube Differs from a Social Network

There is no clear-cut definition for a social network but here’s an attempt to do so. A social network is about keeping in contact with friends, family, colleagues or other people that you have a personal connection with. The main goal is staying in touch rather than exchanging news or information. This kind of network is very apparent with Facebook, which is first and foremost a social network site.

Then there is another network that can be classified as an information network. An information network focuses less on what’s going on in your social circle but more on the information you deem relevant to you. It’s about tapping the power of networks to help you broadcast and gather information. For this purpose, content on information networks is public, which is not the case for social networks. YouTube is a good example of an information network.

How YouTube is Similar to a Social Network

Due to the popularity of social networking, other websites adopt features typical to social network sites. YouTube, primarily a video sharing platform, is one of them. As limited as its social networking capacities may be, YouTube added features that let users create a personal profile page or “channel page” and enables “friending” and sharing options.

If you are one of those people who shun YouTube because you are daunted by the idea of producing videos, here’s good news. You don’t have to wait until you overcome your fear of video production to start taking advantage of YouTube. As soon as you set up a YouTube account, you can immediately start social interaction on YouTube by rating videos, commenting on other videos or channel pages and creating playlists of your favorite videos. If done right, you can actually develop new connections by doing so.

Let’s face it, however. The real power of YouTube lies in the delivery of information through videos. YouTube’s 2010 record of 1.9 billion videos watched per day is proof to that. It’s pretty good reason to put your fears of video production aside.

Conclusion

Just like most other media platforms, YouTube has both a social network side and an information network side. While it’s good to recognize the former, it’s more important to realize that its strength leans more on the latter. When mapping out your marketing strategy, a strong information network like YouTube can work wonders if used side-by-side with a strong social network like Facebook.

YouTube has made video sharing easy and free to everyone. It has revolutionized the way people interact on the Internet. Not leveraging it as part of your social networking campaign is possibly one of the biggest mistakes in this online era.

Christina Hawkins

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