YouTube in my opinion is the best thing since Hawaiian Pizza (I was going to say sliced bread, but I felt like that saying is a little overused and my love for pizza trumps all so deal with it). Unlike other social networks like Facebook and Twitter where the content is based on what your friends and followers post, YouTube is consistently updated with thousands of new videos a day.
It’s easy to get lost on YouTube for hours. You can go to the site with the intention of searching ‘cute puppies’ and by the end of your visit watching something titled ‘Popeye’s Runs Out of Chicken’. It has started the careers of many, the way some people make a living and the reason we have television shows like Tosh.0 and Ridiculousness.
There are different reasons why people post videos on YouTube; an easy way to share with friends and family, a technique to promote just about anything or simply a method to post what they find interesting. Whatever the reason, for many the goal is to get as many views as possible. And whether it’s because they wanted to be ‘discovered’, send more traffic to their site or climb up the search engine rankings, going ‘viral’ isn’t always a good thing.
Any Publicity is Good Publicity?
I don’t believe the saying, ‘any publicity is good publicity’ when it comes to YouTube. While it may be entertaining for the people watching, the damage it can do to one’s personal or business reputation can leave a cut that may never heal.
FAIL videos as I like to call them are absolutely great for people like Daniel Tosh, Rob Dyrdek and others that base their careers at humiliating those who do stupid things and posting them online. And yes these people may get their ’15 minutes of fame’, but what it does for them after is usually never a good thing.
I’m sure most of us have all seen the video of the forklift driver who brings down the warehouse. It’s been on television, posted all over our news feeds and we’ve searched for it for the few who still haven’t seen it. It’s hilarious, but it also tarnishes reputations.
While I’m not going to dig too deep to find out more about the forklift driver in the video (this article isn’t about bashing someone more than he’s already received), there are several factors that can harm one when incriminating, embarrassing or otherwise distasteful videos are posted on YouTube.
- While you may be ‘lucky’ to get on a clip show, no one is looking to hire the idiot who jumped off a roof onto a table full of tacks.
- If you were unfortunate enough to get caught doing something stupid on the job, it reflects poorly on your work ethic, performance and overall judgment.
- Don’t forget everyone has access to the Internet. And with the invention of social media, it’s easier than ever for potential employers to dig deeper into who you are as a person.
However, YouTube videos don’t just affect the people in the clips. Businesses can take a beating online as well.
The Corporate World
Take for example the ‘Popeye’s Runs Out of Chicken’ video I mentioned earlier. While the reaction of the people who were told Popeye’s was out of chicken was funny, the image portrayed of Popeye’s was poor. It showed terrible planning, subpar execution and bad publicity for a popular company promotion.
How about FedEx, one of the biggest mail carriers in the world, is another great case as their reputation took a hit after a delivery driver was caught throwing a monitor over the fence. The video has currently been viewed over 8.5 million times and I think they have lost more customers than just the person who had to return their broken computer screen.
Here are some tips to ensure your company has a good overall image online
- Keep an eye on your employees. While they may be under your watch for 40 hours a week, what they do on their free time can hurt business as well. ‘Dumb’ videos where someone may be wearing company apparel, using products or speaking poorly about the company can impact numbers and reputation as well
- Ask users to remove harmful videos. If something was wrong with the products or services try and mend the situation by offering a solution like free shipping, discounts or a money back return.
- If users aren’t responding or being difficult, ask the webmaster for removal. Videos can spread like wildfire on the Internet. Try to snip the problem video in the butt before it becomes a problem.