YouTube is a video sharing community. The community aspects of the site let you share your videos with others, identify others who share your particular interests, and even communicate with other users. When you join the YouTube community, you'll get a lot more out of the site—and find more fun videos to watch!
Working with Channels
The most common way to participate in the YouTube community is by utilizing YouTube's channels. On YouTube, a channel is just a fancy name for a user's profile. Other users can access your channel/profile to find out what videos you've uploaded and which videos are your favorites; you can also subscribe to a user's profile to be notified when that user uploads new videos to the YouTube site.
Viewing a Channel Profile
You access a user's channel by clicking on that user's name wherever it appears on the YouTube site. This takes you to the user's channel/profile page, like the one shown in Figure 12.1. Although each profile page is unique, all pages contain the same major elements:
Figure 12.1 A typical YouTube channel profile page.
- Links to the user's favorite videos, playlists, groups, friends, and the like
- Information about the user, including a link to subscribe to this channel
- Videos uploaded by this user
- Links to connect to the user, via email, comments, and so on
- The user's favorite videos
- Channels the user is watching
- Subscribers to the user's channel
- Comments on this user's channel
In other words, you access a user's channel page to learn more about that user—and to connect with that person.
Subscribing to a Channel
If you like what you see on a user's channel/profile page, you can subscribe to that person's channel. When you subscribe to a channel, you are automatically notified (via email) when the user uploads new videos.
To subscribe to a user's channel, go that person's channel/profile page and click the Subscribe button. To unsubscribe to a channel, return to that user's channel/profile page and click the Un-Subscribe button. To view videos from your currently subscribed-to channels, go to YouTube's home page and click the Subscriptions link in the My box.
Personalizing Your YouTube Channel
Because a YouTube channel page is really a user profile page, you'll want to create your own channel page and customize it to reflect your personality. It's easy to do.
As to creating your channel page, there's nothing to do; YouTube creates a profile page for you when you subscribe to the site. The default channel page is a little bland, however—which is why you want to customize it.
You personalize your channel page from your My Account page. Just click the My Account link at the top of any YouTube page, and when the My Account page appears, scroll to the Channel Settings section, shown in Figure 12.2.
Figure 12.2 Getting ready to personalize your channel profile page.
From here you can edit the following channel elements:
Channel Info—As shown in Figure 12.3, you can enter a new title and description for your channel page. You can also opt to select a new video to use for your profile picture (by default, your last-uploaded video serves this function), as well as configure other channel display options.
Figure 12.3 Personalizing your channel info.
Channel Design—As shown in Figure 12.4, this is where you change the overall look and feel of your channel page. You can select a new color scheme for your page; opt to show or hide various page elements; and choose custom colors for selected page elements, as well as a background image for your page.
Figure 12.4 Personalizing the design of your channel page.
Personal Info—As shown in Figure 12.5, this page lets you enter personal information to be displayed on your channel page, such as your name, gender, description of yourself, link to an outside website, occupation, interests, and so on.
Figure 12.5 Adding personal info to your channel page.
Location Info—As shown in Figure 12.6, this is where you enter your hometown, current city, Zip code, and country.
Figure 12.6 Adding your location to your channel page.
Channel URL—As shown in Figure 12.7, this page displays the URL for your channel page.
Figure 12.7 Viewing your channel URL.
As you make changes to any page element, make sure you click the Update Channel button—or you'll lose the changes you made.
Managing Your Channel's Video Blog
One cool feature that you can add to your channel page is a video blog, or Vlog. A Vlog is an easy way for you to create a personal video journal accessible to anyone visiting your channel.
To create a Vlog, go to the YouTube home page and click the Playlists link in the My box. When the Playlists page appears, you can choose to select an existing playlist as your Vlog, or create a new playlist to hold new Vlog entries. To use an existing playlist, select the playlist and then click the Set as Vlog button. To create a new Vlog playlist, click the Create Playlist button to create the new playlist, and make sure you check the Use This Playlist as Video Log in My Channel option.
Your Vlog now appears on your channel profile page. The individual videos in the Vlog playlist are stacked on top of each other; visitors can click a video to view it.