Mind Your You Tube Manners

New Words for Old Habits

New Words - Same Old Rules

New bloggers – or people who are new to You Tube – frequently ask if it’s OK to “steal” You Tube videos to post on their own blog.

Of course!

If it were really stealing, it wouldn’t be OK. But it isn’t stealing; it is sharing.

That’s what social media is about. That’s the way You Tube was designed to work. That’s why the embed links are included with every video.


Today we use all sorts of new buzzwords to describe social interaction on the internet: Social Media, Web 2.0, Networking, Tribes…

But really, it’s just old wine in new bottles. We all know how to behave in public. Good manners work online just like they do offline.

You wouldn’t wander into a pot luck dinner with a bunch of Zip Lock bags in your pockets, go from dish to dish filling the bags to bursting, and then leave without talking to anyone or thanking the host. You might eat like a king for the next week, but you’d never be invited to another party.

When I borrow someone else’s You Tube video (assuming it is original content and not just a clip taken from TV), I try to follow a few simple rules. None of them will shock you if you mother taught you to say, “Please,” “Thank You,” and “May I?”


Folks put thought, effort, and time into creating original videos for You Tube. Then they give the videos away for free.

What do you say when someone gives you a gift in real life? You say, “Thank you.” The rules don’t have to change just because you are online. If you like a video enough to add it to your blog or web site, thank the creator.

The easiest – and best  – way to thank someone on You Tube is:

  • Leave a comment saying how much you liked the video
  • Rate the video

Lots of comments and high ratings will help raise the video in You Tube’s rankings, making it more likely to be seen by others. That’s what social media is all about. Always recommend work you like.


When you leave a comment, don’t use it just to promote yourself. Add something useful, either for other viewers or for the video’s creator. “I put this on my site at xyz.com” is not a useful contribution to the comments section, unless the creator is being flamed and you are defending him or her by saying something like, “I like this video so much that I put it on my web site.”


If you want to pitch your own blog and get more traffic from the videographer, try contacting the creator. Ask for permission to use the video. Invite the creator to your blog. Highlight your shared interests. This is just common sense networking.

Photo by Ann Douglass Released under Creative Commons License