Guide to Watching Videos on YouTube

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YouTube offers a huge number of videos to watch.  At first glance, you might not sure what’s the best way to find videos you like.  Here are some tips.


YouTube’s Default Settings

YouTube is used around the globe, and YouTube tries to connect relevant video content with people living in dozens of regions.  Upon your very first visit to the site’s home page, YouTube will determine your location to display relevant video content.   You can adjust these high level settings in the footer of the website.  These setting fields include: Language (select a language for the YouTube functions), Country, and Safety.

This certainly helps you engage with YouTube content when you first visit.  However, to really enhance your video watching experience, you need to learn the core functions and sign in to YouTube.



Searching for Videos on YouTube

You can explore the labyrinthe of videos on YouTube through several mechanisms described below.

Search and Filters: 
At the top of nearly ever YouTube page, you will see a search box that functions similar to Google’s search box, except this search function retrieves only YouTube videos.  YouTube will try to find content relevant to the keywords you enter in the search box.  Even once you start typing, you’ll see the search box prompt keywords, suggesting video content.  Once search results results are displayed, you can Filter them.  You can click that button to filter the results based on Upload Date, Video Type (e.g. Video, Channels, Playlists), Durationand Features (e.g. HD, Closed Captions, Creative Commons, 3D, etc).

YouTube Search box and Filter button



Channels:  Channels represent a core component of YouTube.  A channel is a group of content based on the creator – the YouTube account that uploaded the content.   You’ll see what channel is connected with a video by checking the video’s byline (see image just below).  Typically, a creator uploads videos with similar themes or topics, so finding and connecting with channels is a great way to find the type of video content that you want.  You may wonder, well how do I find channels that I would be interested in?  You can do this by clicking the link called Browse by Channels.

Image below shows list of videos.  When you click on byline (e.g. CNN), you will connect to the channel associated with that video (e.g. CNN).

YouTube Channel Link Opening


Browse by Channels:   On the left side of the YouTube page, you’ll see a link called Browse by Channels.  Once you click this, you’ll see popular channels (based on the channel’s number of subscribers) grouped by category.  Some of these categories include, Animation, Automotive, Beauty and Fashion, Comedy, Film and Entertainment, Music, News and Politics, and much more.


Social: Just above the browse by channels, you’ll also see the Social link.  This will let you connect to your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.  This will show you all the activity from your connected accounts.


Logging into YouTube with a Google Account 

To really maximize your experience on YouTube, you should login.  You can do this if you have a Google account (such as gmail) by clicking the sign in box at the top right corner.  If you don’t have a Google account, you can still click the sign in box where you’ll then find a link to create a Google account.

Subscribing to Channels: Once you login, YouTube will learn the type of videos you like and can recommend videos.  More importantly though, you can subscribe to channels.  When you subscribe to channel, you can keep in better touch with that video creator and/or curator.  A direct link to that channel will become present on the left side of the screen, you will see recent video uploads by that channel appear in your home page feed, and you can receive email updates.  Some of these channels even have live feed, such as news network, Al Jazeera.


Commenting: With a google account, you can participate in the YouTube community, posting comments and replies to specific videos.


Finally, with your account, you can upload videos onto your own channel and get discovered!


Photo credit: Rego – d4u.hu / Foter / CC BY-SA

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