There’s no music on MTV. I know this isn’t a new topic, but I like to play music while I clean. Or cook. Or read. Or ignore that the kids sound like they about to jump through the ceiling while they play upstairs. So…I often go to YouTube. I like to be able to search for specific songs and find new music based on those selections. Plus, I like to teach the kids about QUALITY music like “Thriller”.
When I started teaching a few years ago, I learned of another “genre” of YouTube video–one that had nothing to do with music or the latest “challenge” or even fluffy animals. I learned of THE EDUCATIONAL VIDEO. I quickly began inserting YouTube videos into lectures and making new folders for each class that I taught. Blood collection procedure from the 1930s? Check. Parody video of a patient with red cell antibodies? Yep. Parasites from various sources? But of course.
This excitement has been renewed once more as I found public health videos this past week. YouTube is an ideal platform for public health information because it is easy to access and it allows anonymity in gathering information. You Tube can be accessed from anything with an internet connection, allowing many individuals to view the videos. According to YouTube statistics, YouTube videos are available in 61 countries, over 1 billion unique users visit each month, and YouTube reaches more 18-34 year-olds than any cable network. This allows for easy and rapid dissemination of information through many barriers.
Another, and perhaps more important, feature is the ability to watch YouTube videos anonymously. HIV, among other conditions, still has a stigma associated with it. Individuals may not understand the risk associated with infection, may not know how to identify the symptoms, or may feel isolated after diagnosis. An effort made by We Make the Change posts videos titled “Faces of HIV” in which patients with HIV share their stories.
These videos provide more than a message. They provide support. They provide proof that infection can happen to anyone engaging in risky behavior.
YouTube videos can also address topics such as racial stereotypes in a way that makes the subject matter easy to understand and identify. By addressing stereotypes in a non-confrontational way, the videos are better able to show how ridiculous the behavior and comments are in more of a non-threatening manner.
Using YouTube for public health campaigns can increase the views and responses of the public because the videos are easy to view from many types of devices and can be used as a source of information and anonymity for controversial or difficult topics.