by Michelle Lentz

Today YouTube released a new feature: annotations. I can only imagine how this is going to improve the quality of those videos already on YouTube.

The annotations feature is just like it sounds. You can add thought bubbles and call outs to the videos. It’s really easy to do as well. There are some catches, thank goodness.

 - You can only annotate videos you uploaded. This is good. Can you imagine if you could annotate any video? 

 - The annotations only show up on YouTube’s site and not in embedded video. This is actually a great way to drive even more traffic to YouTube, but something you need to keep in mind when annotating.

Annotations could be used rather effectively for education and more in-depth information on a topic. I often search for “how to” videos. However, I tend to search Vimeo and Viddler.

I often find (and this isn’t necessarily accurate) that more professionally produced videos end up on the other options, and, with notable exceptions, some crazy or poorly produced stuff ends up on YouTube. I’m guilty of this myself. My YouTube channel consists of concert footage and Peabody ducks. I worry that while annotations have the potential to be an awesome feature, it will mostly be used for “hey look at her butt!” or some other lovely sentiment. You see where I’m going with this.

However, this is a pretty nifty video about how the annotations work.


Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via Twitter, or via Pownce.

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    no imageSheree Motiska (Who am I?)4 June 2008 1:56 pm


    Very interesting.

    I can totally see this becoming a playground of uselessness as you’ve said above. You’re right about the fact that a lot of goofy stuff ends up on YouTube.

    You’ve also given me some food for thought since I myself do a lot of “how to” type videos. The problem is that I’ve been having an impossible time getting my Viddler account up. I’ve been trying for quite some time and I can’t figure out what the problem is.

    Sheree “The Social Media Butterfly” Motiska

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    no imageDoug (Who am I?)4 June 2008 5:13 pm

    Actually there are a lot of video groups that are doing “interactive video.” YouTube is just dipping their toes in the water. Check out They allow you to not only annotate your videos but also add interactive images from your computer, make any object in your video linkable to any outside website and you can move your spot, your link or annotation around the screen in real-time, link to a MySpace or Facebook page, let others annotate your video, and on and on, pretty cool! They are more of a lab where people can come play than a competitor to YouTube (they have low traffic) but they are doing some neat interactive stuff.

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    no imagePaul (Who am I?)25 June 2008 11:14 am

    These guys found a funny way to use annotations, thought you might like it. Check it out!


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