I offer this for peer review. Please read the note at the end for more information. Feel free to offer your feedback however you receive this, Facebook, Twitter, or on this blog.

Note that these are best practices I am recommending for a certain department. This section does not include footnotes or references because this is really based on my own opinion. No research on my part has been done about the practice of embedding videos in blog posts. I’m sure there is plenty of information out there, but I just haven’t had the time to review it. I feel that these practices listed here are best for the department at this time, but I am open to other considerations.

Videos (YouTube)

Best Practice: Refrain from embedding videos that are not your own without proper consideration. When you do embed a video that is not yours, plainly label it as such with text above the embedded video.

Example text for a video we did not produce:

The video below was posted by jakob1944 on YouTube February 19, 2010. We have no affiliation with the video and embed it within this post only for ease of viewing. (View on YouTube)

The “View on YouTube” link would take the visitor to the actual YouTube video page, the URL of which may be obtained under the Share option on YouTube. The text and links are a common courtesy and demonstrate good netizenship.

Embedding a video within a web page or blog post takes a burden away from the visitor. It delivers the video right to the visitor, on the page they are looking out, without distracting them with a link to another site. It really helps to make sure more users view the video rather than not bothering, or forgetting, to click on a link to go to a video.

However, embedding a video, that is not your own, can seriously bring about arguments over copyright. There are several factors to take into consideration:

  1. Are you devoting the Web page or blog post to discussion of this video?
  2. Is this video just a side reference?
  3. If there weren’t even a link to the video, would the content of your page/post change?
  4. Is viewing the video recommended or required to make sense of your Web page/blog post?

Don’t embed a video just to embed it. Make sure it has a purpose before doing so. A casual mention of a video is not a reason to embed it. A full article or portion of an article (2 or 3 paragraphs) discussing the content of the video and why it is relevant to the issue at hand is a good reason to consider it (yes just, consider it at this point) for embedding.

If your article covered the basics, and the video is only supplemental, it should be a link, not embedded.

Is it an additional resource for more information? If yes, then it should be a link.

The video (in its entirety) should provide the background for your article. For example, you wouldn’t discuss the philosophical attributes of The Matrix with someone who hasn’t seen the movie. In order to enter into the discussion all participants must view the video. If you are referring to only one portion of the video (30 seconds out of a 9 minute video) just explain the part and don’t embed. In order to effectively explain the impact of a particular scene, sometimes it is not necessary to embed or have an audience watch the entire video, though it may be nice to have a link to it.

Please note: This is a living document about to be released from its first draft. Even after the first version is complete, it will evolve as I discover new studies/resources and receive feedback. I am placing it on the Web for any comments, questions, or feedback. Though it is written for the staff of a private college career and counseling center there are many points that may be useful for the community at large. Contact me, post comments, agree or disagree. I just ask for feedback and hope we can benefit from this peer review together.  I will add comments to this post or post newer updates under the tag: “Writing for the Web”

About Chad Leigh Kluck

I enjoy technology development and management by following new trends, change and disruption, and security. I have a Master of Science in Software Engineering and my hobbies include railroads, history, do-it-yourself projects, writing, and ham radio (K0RRX). More...

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