I started this project a little over two weeks ago. I posed a simple question to over one hundred different YouTubers; “If you could change anything about YouTube.com, what would it be?”

Some answered in one sentence; others sent me multiple replies as they thought of more and more they’d like to see addressed. The plan was to compile and rank these answers, based on how often each item was mentioned, then present the most popular answers in a video to YouTube.

You can WATCH THAT REPORT VIDEO HERE.

The five most popular answers given were:

  • Gmail to replace YouTube PMs
  • More subscriber data
  • Comment retooling
  • Additional channel customization options
  • Communication/Promotion issues

For expanded explanations of the above, please take a moment to watch the report video.

Of course, many had really interesting and exciting other ideas. Unfortunately, I wanted to keep the report video to a watchable length and couldn’t include all of them. So I compiled a list here of an additional fifteen suggestions that I thought were interesting:

  • YouTube Instant Messenger
  • Live/Streaming Video (some suggested buying Stickam.com)
  • Entering the image code after exceeding the commenting limit should not restart the video that is playing
  • Search functions added to the comments section
  • More active participation in the YouTube Gatherings
  • The ability to flag spamming or obscene channels
  • Move “block user” links away from screenname links in profile comments
  • The star rating system should accurately reflect the ratings, add 1/5th to 4/5th star icons
  • Thumbnail options need to be expanded
  • More specific sub categories for videos (perhaps a system similar to Digg.com)
  • Bring back the “Message Sent” confirmation when PMing
  • Separate email notification options for profile comments and bulletins
  • Redesign the groups for better functionality
  • Higher resolution video and audio (stereo, please!?)
  • A section of downloadable royalty-free music and images, for use in our videos

There were more, but these were all suggestions I could get behind. Not everyone will be able to agree on all features, but by tallying which were mentioned most often from the group I polled, I think this is a good representation of what we’d all like to see.

If you have any additional suggestions, please leave them as comments or video responses on the report video. Or, as always, you can PM me via my YouTube channel: youtube.com/fallofautumndistro

The most frequent private message I receive on YouTube asks, “How did you get ________ to appear in your video?” After writing and appearing in numerous collaborations with some of the most popular viral video makers on YouTube, I’ve formed a bit of a stock answer to these PMs. When I’m feeling coy, I simply reply, “I asked nicely.” But when I have time to write a proper answer, I explain much of what follows:

  • ALWAYS have a solid idea for a video before contacting anyone about collaborating. YouTubers spend enough time as it is writing and creating their own videos; they will be much more likely to work on a collab with you if you have a plot/story/concept that you can easily explain to them.
  • ALWAYS set a deadline for when their footage should be in your e-hands. If two different subs contact me about making a video with them, one who wants the footage by next Friday and the other who wants it “whenever I get a chance,” it’ll probably be a while before the second person gets anything from me.
  • SOMETIMES it helps if your collab concept fits into a plot thread the other video maker has already commented on. When I asked Spricket24 and Nalts to appear in my prank calling video, the two of them had a faux e-fight raging on YouTube and I was able to work it into the script, making it more relevant and fun for both of them to participate.
  • NEVER be demanding. You’ll need to be persistent; people are generally busy and forget things. Sending occasional follow-up or reminder emails is okay. But, accept that it’s also okay for whomever you’re contacting to say “no,” or to not reply at all. Not everyone wants to participate in the community or collaboration videos. Always be polite when contacting people – don’t burn bridges.

Of course, there are a few technical issues you should keep in mind as well. Make sure you ask for file formats and compression codecs your video-editing program can open. If you’re on a Mac, you may not be able to use .wmv files, for instance. What about the aspect ratio? Videos look more cohesive if they remain in one aspect ratio (4:3 (fullscreen) or 16:9 (widescreen)) throughout. If these are details you’re concerned with, make sure you mention that up front.

Finally, be kind in your editing. Some will send more than one take so you can choose which best fits the scene. Others will pre-edit their material before sending it; you should respect those edits and not chop up the footage any further. Large video files can be sent easily using host sites/programs such as yousendit.com or Pando if you don’t have your own server.

Remember to have fun with it. Collaborating is a great way to work with the viral video makers whose work you enjoy. Collaborations can also expose your audience to new channels or personalities, and in return, their subscribers will have the opportunity to see you. If you have any questions or other suggestions, contact me on YouTube:
youtube.com/fallofautumndistro

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fallofautumndistro has written for and/or co-starred in his videos with IanCrossland, MikeSkehan, MysteryGuitarMan, Nalts, Mr. Safety, Spricket24, sxephil, vlogbrothers, WhatTheBuckShow, Woody and Greg from HBO’s Man In The Box and many others.