Last weekend, the new MormonMessages YouTube channel was identified as the #62 most-watched YouTube channel. This occurred largely because of the response to President Uchtdorf’s inspiring video (shown below).
Because of this response, President Uchtdorf’s video was featured on the YouTube home page under “Videos Being Watched Right Now.” This demonstrated the positive influence a large group of Latter-day Saints can have on the Internet.
Feedback on the new channel has been overwhelmingly positive. A small minority has expressed concern about what they perceive as the Church “endorsing” YouTube by posting these videos on a platform that has inappropriate content on it. Although I understand this concern, my personal feeling (not an official Church statement) is that 1) posting videos on YouTube does not constitute endorsement of the entire YouTube site any more than broadcasting BYU-TV endorses all television programs and 2) we need to take our messages to where the people are. When someone searches for “Mormon” on YouTube, I want Church-friendly content to be at the top of the search results, not the Godmakers video. YouTube also has some great features (not currently available on lds.org) which allow members to easily share Church videos with friends and family.
So far, this experiment has been a success. We are working on options that will allow people to view the MormonMessages videos on lds.org if they prefer not to visit YouTube. We are also working closely with YouTube to see if we can minimize or eliminate inappropriate links occassionally appearing on our video pages. In the meantime, we have posted the following warning to alert those who may not be familar with YouTube:
Warning: Clicking on “Related Videos” or “Promoted Videos” may take you to videos outside of the Church’s control which could contain inappropriate content. All of the videos listed on this page as well as those listed as “More From: MormonMessages” are safe.
I will try to drop by occasionally and provide an update on how things are going. If you have not already subscribed to the MormonMessages channel, please consider doing so. Efforts to help others become aware of this new online resource are also appreciated.
I love these new Mormon Messages videos on Youtube. I can quickly and easily post them as a link on my Facebook. When I post the link to the video, all of my friends – members and nonmembers alike – will get an update that includes the video’s thumbnail and description. All they have to do is click on that and the video automatically displays right there in Facebook. This is another way to have a positive influence on a portion of the internet and bring these kinds of videos to people who may not normally be exposed to them.
I personally love the new Mormon Messages Channel. I love being able to embed the videos on my blog. As with anything on the internet, we ought to know we can’t just go clicking anywhere and trust it will be wholesome as is the case with YouTube. But like you said, it is a great medium to share the goodness of the gospel with others and take it people everywhere. You made some great observations and points in your post.
Thanks for for the clarification David. These are powerful videos.
Definitely look into becoming a YouTube Content Partner so you can have more control over what appears under “Related Videos”. I think being a partner actually allows you to remove that feature altogether. Of course, you’ll have to meet certain criteria to even be considered, which includes having thousands of visitors per day.
Big fan of this new direction the Church has been taking. Glad to see that MormonMessages is updated frequently as well. I second the encouragement of looking into partner status–all Church channels should–there are some real advantages to it. Because it’s an official Church channel and it is getting good traffic, you shouldn’t have any problem getting approved.
One major suggestion is that you mention you want these kind of videos to come up when people search for “Mormon” and similar phrases. If that’s the case, those words–“Mormon”, “Mormons”, etc.–need to be included in the title. With the views they are getting, many of the MormonMessages videos would show among the top results if they had “Mormon” in the title. However, they are only showing for phrases like “Dieter F. Uchtdorf” or “Gordon Hinckley.”
Even if you just put “Mormon Messages: Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Create”, this would have a MAJOR impact–maybe consider putting the phrase “Mormon Messages” (two words) in the title of each video.
Keep up the great work. You are taking LDS Youtube videos to a new level.
Thanks for the suggestions. A quick update. YouTube granted Content Partner status to MormonMessages so we are looking into what that will allow us to do. We are also going to try the titling suggestion on upcoming videos.
Ah, I wish I could watch all these videos! Alas, I’m a BYU student.
There are lots of us that feel the same way. Myself and a small group of other BYU students are trying to bring uplifting entertainment to the internet via a new web series that we are producing. The story is fiction, but we hope it will be uplifting and entertaining to those who watch and participate. We also have a youtube channel (also not an endorsement of all youtube content, but an effort to bring uplifting content to where the people are) at http://www.youtube.com/thebookofjer3miah. Our website is http://www.jer3miah.com. We would for more viewers and any feedback as well.
I’m really glad the Church now has partner status. The inappropriate videos were not “occasional”; there was either anti-mormon stuff in the related list or sexually inappropriate stuff in the promoted list almost every time. This will remove a big barrier to my letting my kids watch this.
While I disagree with your assertion that inappropriate content is there “almost every time,” it sounds like we can agree on the benefits of achieving partner status.
I like this site very much, I agree with its purpose and I agree that the Church and as many member as possible should put up as much good content as possible. I have one suggestion about your comment on the top though. I have never seen the anti m video you mentioned, only heard about it, I think you should not mention it directly, or it could spark curiosity and produce the opposite result of what we are all trying to do.
Your comment is: “…I want Church-friendly content to be at the top of the search results, not the Godmakers video…” perhaps you could say the same thing without mentioning an anti Mormon video specifically. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you change that and delete my comment as well for the same purpose? Thanks a lot. Again, I’m very excited about the force for good this effort of sharing the Gospel online can have. At the very least it will counteract all the junk that’s out there.
Nice to see the Church on YouTube, but the video commentaries appear heavily moderated — I see only comments that heap unequivocal praise on the videos. I’m curious what effect this very overt PR has on credibility.
Good question. We are learning that religious videos tend to be very polarizing. The comments coming in either tend to be very positive or very negative. We will allow comments that contain honest suggestions for improvement or questions. We will also allow neutral and positive feedback. We will not show comments that are overtly negative towards the Church or its leaders on an official Church channel. This may have some negative effect on credibility, but the alternative is not acceptable. Of course, the star ratings are unfiltered.
May I suggest therefore to please upload some of the good messages to my facebook account. Thank you, Jun