Tools for Transparency: YouTube Direct


Online video has made quite a bit of progress since the early days of Quicktime and RealMedia, technologies so slugish it was easier to walk to Blockbuster and back before you could view a full thumbnail-sized clip. Online video changed for the better in 2005 with the launch of YouTube, leveraging Adobe Flash to quickly stream video to your desktop. Within the next few years competitors quickly began rolling out their own platforms, copying and piggybacking on much of what YouTube had developed while collectively pushing the medium forward.

Between 2005 and today, new platforms have continued to amaze;  from the likes of Google Video (which ultimately purchased YouTube) and Vimeo; peer-to-peer technology in the form of Joost; and live streaming video from Qik and Ustream. Our own Sunlight Live has done well with adding context to live streaming events like the financial reform and health care debates.

A new-ish addition to the arsenal of video technology is YouTube Direct. This tool leverages Google’s App Engine and the YouTube platform to allow you or your organization, in a sense, to become the video distributor.

YouTube Direct allows you to embed the upload functionality of YouTube directly into your own site, enabling your organization to request, review, and re-broadcast user-submitted videos with ease. News organizations can ask for citizen reporting; nonprofits can call-out for support videos around social campaigns; businesses can ask users to submit promotional videos about your brand.

So who’s using it and what does this mean for the transparency movement?

ABC News, NPR and Huffington Post to name just a few, but you don’t have to be one of the big media outlets to use YouTube Direct.  From the smallest of websites to the largest of organizations, you have an additional tool to help move the conversation forward and shine a little light in the places that need it the most.

What do you think? Any readers already using it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

For more information on YouTube Direct, check out the video below.