Social Media: What is it and why should I be using it? (Part 2 of 2)

As promised, this is the second and final installment of my Social Media Basics for Non Profits.  My previous blog focused on Facebook and Twitter.  Here, I will focus on the more visual aspects of social networking – looking at two popular social networking tools (YouTube and Flickr) and how people are using the internet.

While Facebook and Twitter remain excellent tools for conversation and building relationships, they are at a disadvantage in a world that has become increasingly auditory and visual. As more and more people start using new technologies, such as cell phones and computers, the internet and the way people are using it,  is rapidly changing too.  Youtube and Flickr, for example, both function well with Facebook and can be linked directly from either your computer or your cell phone.



What is YouTube? YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. It uses Flash video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content. With its easy to use interface, YouTube has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection to post a video. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of internet culture.

One of the key elements of YouTube is the ability to view its videos on web pages outside of the site. Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTML code, which can be used to embed the video in other social networking websites, pages and blogs.


  • It’s a free and easy to use interface.
  • It has the ability to show media related to a cause or mission.
  • People can leave comments to generate debate, which can increase public interest in your cause.
  • You can use your own media in your blogs and website via the embed code.
  • It can be used as a teaching tool. (Video tutorials)

Getting  Started:

  1. You register for a free account (Non-registered users can watch videos but not upload them).
  2. You upload your video to them via their website (Most formats can be used).
  3. They’ll convert the file and give you the code to put on your website.
  4. You put the code on your site and your visitors can now see the video.
Privacy Control

Because Youtube is a social media platform, agencies should be cautious of using it publicly, especially if there are confidentiality issues or any sensitive materials involved. However, privacy settings can be applied to limit the number of people able to see your videos. As a blogging or marketing tool, YouTube is very powerful and can be used to inexpensively promote your organization or cause. Videos from Youtube can be directly embedded into blogs and websites using the provided code. One common concern people have when viewing others videos are the negative comments they see. However, most of these comments are directed at specific media and not so much the non profit sector. To avoid this concern, comments can be moderated or completely turned off.


What is Flickr? Flickr is an image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community platform. In addition to being a popular website for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. As of October 2009, it claims to host more than 4 billion images.


  • It’s free and easy to use.
  • Visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed with your 20 latest pictures.
  • Images will be re-sized for viewing on the website, but you always have a safe and permanent backup of your original images.
  • It’s a very well used photo service if you want to get your pictures noticed by others.
  • There are countless numbers of third-party tools and software available to work with your pictures.
  • There are options for securing your web photos.
  • You can use creative commons copyright licenses.
Getting Started:
  • Free accounts: Account users are allowed to upload 100 MB of images a month and 2 videos free of charge. If a free user has more than 200 photos on the site, they will only be able to see the most recent 200 in their photo stream. However, the other photos that were uploaded are still stored on the site and links to these images in blog posts remain active.
  • Pro accounts: allow users to upload an unlimited number of images and videos every month, receive unlimited bandwidth and storage and have access to account statistics.

Note: Flickr created a “guest pass” system that allows private photos to be shared with non-Flickr members. For instance, a person could email this pass to an agency who may not have an account to allow them to see the photos otherwise restricted from public view. This setting allows sets to be shared, or all photos under a certain privacy category, to be shared.

Privacy Control:

Flickr provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private. Private images are visible by default only to the person who uploaded it, but they can also be marked as viewable by contacts of your choosing. Privacy settings also can be decided by adding photographs from a user’s photo stream to a “group pool”. If a group is private, all the members of that group can see the photo. If a group is public, the photo becomes public as well.


All of these are powerful tools that can be utilized for little or no cost. They can also help you reach your organization’s goals very inexpensively. They do take a little bit of time to set up, but once they are, they require only a small amount of time to moderate and update. Most of the updating can be done in the morning while you check your email.

Keep in mind that this is just a brief overview of each of these platforms.  Feel free to leave any comments, and if you have any questions, email us at

John Kay, JCP Social Media Project
Youth Volunteer Connections Program

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