UU YouTube: What are the possibilities?

Over on the Facebook page, we’ve mentioned a couple of times that we have some ideas for ongoing video projects. In a Facebook group that many of our administrators hang out in, someone posed the question: Why? What is there to do with video that hasn’t been done by the UUA or isn’t being done by congregations who share their services and sermons online?

I’ve been a You Tube viewer for several years. I don’t always find the coolest things first, but I’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in the idea of public-access programming. In 2006, two brothers, John and Hank Green, realized that their relationship had been reduced to fewer and fewer electronic missives, short and impersonal. In January 2007, they started a project to really talk to each other, and chose YouTube as their medium. Every week, each brother made a video addressed to the other, talking about current events and occasionally performing songs and stunts for one another. Because these videos were personal and addressed the viewer directly, it was easy for people to connect with the brothers, even viewers not named Hank or John. They gained a big following which has become a small but diverse media company in the last 7 years.

Hanna Hart at the White House

The image above is from YouTube star Hanna Hart, showing a meeting she had at the White House, along with fellow YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. They had a meeting with the President last week, though the details are still forthcoming. John Green, mentioned above, got to speak to the President in a Google hangout after last year’s State of the Union address, though I should mention that he is also a best-selling author of young adult fiction. My point is that these are people who have built communities and who now wield influence. They created this by connecting with their audience and using their reach to educate, encourage, and empower people. Via YouTube.

This is important background for those who don’t understand that good, regular content can be powerful. It can get you a booking at Carnegie Hall, an invite to the White House, or even your dream job. Hanna has held rallies all over the world, gathering her fans to meet her at food banks where they spend the day in public service. The Green Brothers have chartered a charity to “Decrease World Suck”, which raised $869,171 last year through give aways and telethon-style vlogging. Good is already being done. We’ve featured quotes and videos from both Green brothers on the I Am UU Facebook page.

Think of what we could do if we started a channel with this goal in mind: reaching people, inspiring them to be their personal best, and promoting our Principles. If we had a few UU themed programs that posted regular updates, made a personal connection, and were entertaining, we could build new communities centered on our Principles. If we had several of these, we could create a stream of enriching  and informative entertainment that makes the world a better place. I believe that there is a need, and that we have the ability to fill it. It will take dedication, and it will require support from a range of people, including simple financial backing to launch them and a small team that combines technical knowledge with personalities and missional evangelical thinkers who are willing to be out in front on these projects. If the talent is willing, will we support their work?

What ideas do you have? What could you give?

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