Sunday, March 2, 2008

The YouTube "in crowd"

I found out that the state (er, Commonwealth) of Virginia signed up and has started posting videos.

They don't exactly have the whole thing figured out yet it seems, as some of their videos are unsynched and aren't quite YouTube "friendly," but whatever. The thing that really struck me was how when you go to their channel page, the main video plays automatically. Funny thing is, I was just talking to John Lisle, the PIO of Arlington's Police Department about this exact thing - the ACPD has a YouTube page of their own and John was asking me about how to make the video on the channel page play automatically (like the VA state channel). I didn't think it was possible, but now that I saw the VA state page doing it, I knew there was something to what John had said.

As any good internet researcher does, I turned to Google. I typed in "auto-play video on youtube channel page." This got me some good hits and basically what I learned is this: YouTube will work with celebrities, large companies, politicians and any other big powerful organization and give them a "super" page that can have its own fancy background, an auto-play video, and a couple other features. It's not something mentioned on YouTube's pages, in any of the account settings, or even in their help. Interesting....

So, I sent a friendly message to the VA state folks (linky on their channel page, of course). I offered a suggestion about encoding their video to help with the synch issue and inquired about the auto-play video... all in the interest of inter-governmental partnerships, etc...

I got a reply back, and long story short it is indeed a big Google who-you-know thing - the whole VA YouTube thing came out of a meeting between Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Governor Tim Kaine. Within two days, the VA YouTube page launched.

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