engagement, Facebook, video sharing

YouTube Goes Fully Social And Challenges Facebook

15 Comments 27 May 2010

Today, YouTube announced that every single YouTube channel now comes equipped with a moderator feature. It’s an incredibly exciting step to see YouTube becoming fully social. The moderator feature allows any channel to ask for ideas, questions, or suggestions from the community..right from your YouTube channel. Users may vote the crowdsourced ideas up or down. By integrating Google moderator, YouTube has brought real time engagement features into play and made it 100% more engaging.

Here is how it works: Every YouTube channel incorporates Google Moderator. All you have to do is enable moderator on the channel, and ask a question of your users. Here are some screen shots of how to enable moderator on your channel. First, click on the Modules tab of your channel.

After you’ve checked “Moderator,” a drop-down menu appears, as seen in this screen shot:

And here is an example of the feature at work on the Foodwishes channel. Foodwishes is running a contest asking users to submit a summer recipe they want to see to prepared on the channel. The recipe with the highest number of votes will be the chosen.

Basically, YouTube is giving its users the power to crowdsource ideas and suggestions, and use the wisdom of the crowd to vote for the top ideas. I think the voting feature is fantastic. This could be a very economical way for a nonprofit organization to run a contest, promotion, or campaign.

I also think that YouTube is giving Facebook a run for its money with this new feature. It’s always been difficult for Facebook Page administrators to crowdsource ideas using Facebook: if you ask for ideas using a wall post, then the ideas will come in over time, and aren’t collected in one place. If you want to run a crowdsourced contest or special offer on Facebook, you must create a custom landing tab and application.

Look out Facebook…here comes YouTube

If you are already using video, today’s announcement should encourage you to think about using YouTube as the new address to crowdsource for engagement and answers instead of Facebook.

Video is a personal medium. Involving someone through a personal request on video is much more compelling than writing a blog post about a need or creating a Cause. I can envision charity:water inviting stakeholders to ask questions when they drill for wells using YouTube’s moderator function, or Epic Change encouraging YouTube users to “nominate a favorite Mama” using this feature. Combine the moderator feature with the YouTube Nonprofit Program, and perhaps YouTube will become the favored action center instead of Facebook Causes.

I’ll wager that the YouTube moderator feature is a game changer. It will bring more nonprofit organizations into YouTube, enable organizations to reach and engage with new stakeholders, and become a platform to create interesting and exciting new social media campaigns. It’s simple, immediate (real time voting and interaction), personal, and most of all, engaging. It brings the bottom up and the stakeholders in.

Now, it’s up to you. How will you integrate this feature into your overall social media strategy?

  • Nice!! Love the write up. I didn’t even catch this until I ran across your post on Twitter. 🙂

    I’m not sure YouTube and Facebook are competitors.

    The main purpose of each site is very different – Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life while YouTube is more about allowing people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos.

    Although some (a very limited set) features overlap I think the reason people use the tools differs enough for people to end up using both for different reasons.



  • Florence Broder

    Thanks for sharing this important information, Deb!


  • You're so welcome! I look forward to seeing what you will do with it 🙂


  • sue_anne

    I think the moderator tool is a great feature and along with Google's other non-profit tools with YouTube, it's definitely a way for non-profits to increase engagement on the channel.

    I think it's unrealistic to say that this will challenge Facebook. Facebook still has much more to offer with pictures, events and other features. I definitely think that people should be using YouTube video and posting that to Facebook vs. uploading via Facebook.


  • Hi Sue Anne,
    YouTube, already the second largest place people search for content, is a contender for stakeholder time. It's not as social as Facebook, or as robust a platform for variety of experience, and it's not as viral as Facebook. That said, with the new moderator function, I think people will be much more focused on creating a community of interest around their YouTube channels, and not thinking of YouTube as a feed into Facebook or a static space. Rather, now YT can become a place in and of its own to create value for the brand and deeper stakeholder conversations. I can especially see companies and nonprofits using the moderator function to build a YouTube channel community and make it a strong community of interest to could rival a brand's Facebook community of interest.

    However, perhaps I was overenthusiastic to be so broad in my statement that it challenges Facebook completely. I think YouTube challenges Facebook now as a place to have real engagement with stakeholders, a place for their interest, a place for contests and discussion, and certainly a place for creating community.


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  • Very cool Debra! I'm glad you tagged Epic Change I hadn't seen this rad new feature…now to brainstorm how to use it 😉


  • I know Epic Change will do something completely “rad” with it, too!


  • Hi Deb. I saw a mention of this on Google Buzz but I had no idea how so set it up until I saw this post. I think you're right that once people get the hang of using it, they will spend more time engaging on YT and less on FB. Lots of people are deleting their accounts over the whole privacy debacle and they'll look for alternative places to hang-out. YT is an obvious choice since most people use it anyway.

    Thanks for the tutorial!


  • Hi Frank – I take your point. People are looking for an alternative to Facebook, and while this doesn't have all the features of Facebook (or the purpose, as you stated so nicely in your comments), I think this puts YouTube squarely in a competitive position for creating community. Before the addition of the moderator, it was really hard to use a YouTube channel to create a community of interest.

    Perhaps I should've titled the post: Youtube Goes Fully Social and Creates Community…


  • Hi Ileane,
    Thanks for the comments. I'll be very interested to see what a difference the moderator function makes for YT engagement. Like you, I think it's a game changer.
    Nice to see Buzz connections crossover into other social places 🙂


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  • dragonblogger

    By illustrating the moderator you show how beneficial it is for collecting feedback and polling your YouTube fans, but it isn't going to replace social media for sharing information or other types of resources from what I can tell.


  • I think this new feature is great.

    On the other side, I don't think it is. Why? Well, YouTube will never become bigger than facebook.


  • After facebook success everyone want to become a social site



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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