UU YouTube: What are the possibilities?

Over on the Facebook page, we’ve mentioned a couple of times that we have some ideas for ongoing video projects. In a Facebook group that many of our administrators hang out in, someone posed the question: Why? What is there to do with video that hasn’t been done by the UUA or isn’t being done by congregations who share their services and sermons online?

I’ve been a You Tube viewer for several years. I don’t always find the coolest things first, but I’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in the idea of public-access programming. In 2006, two brothers, John and Hank Green, realized that their relationship had been reduced to fewer and fewer electronic missives, short and impersonal. In January 2007, they started a project to really talk to each other, and chose YouTube as their medium. Every week, each brother made a video addressed to the other, talking about current events and occasionally performing songs and stunts for one another. Because these videos were personal and addressed the viewer directly, it was easy for people to connect with the brothers, even viewers not named Hank or John. They gained a big following which has become a small but diverse media company in the last 7 years.

Hanna Hart at the White House

The image above is from YouTube star Hanna Hart, showing a meeting she had at the White House, along with fellow YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. They had a meeting with the President last week, though the details are still forthcoming. John Green, mentioned above, got to speak to the President in a Google hangout after last year’s State of the Union address, though I should mention that he is also a best-selling author of young adult fiction. My point is that these are people who have built communities and who now wield influence. They created this by connecting with their audience and using their reach to educate, encourage, and empower people. Via YouTube.

This is important background for those who don’t understand that good, regular content can be powerful. It can get you a booking at Carnegie Hall, an invite to the White House, or even your dream job. Hanna has held rallies all over the world, gathering her fans to meet her at food banks where they spend the day in public service. The Green Brothers have chartered a charity to “Decrease World Suck”, which raised $869,171 last year through give aways and telethon-style vlogging. Good is already being done. We’ve featured quotes and videos from both Green brothers on the I Am UU Facebook page.

Think of what we could do if we started a channel with this goal in mind: reaching people, inspiring them to be their personal best, and promoting our Principles. If we had a few UU themed programs that posted regular updates, made a personal connection, and were entertaining, we could build new communities centered on our Principles. If we had several of these, we could create a stream of enriching  and informative entertainment that makes the world a better place. I believe that there is a need, and that we have the ability to fill it. It will take dedication, and it will require support from a range of people, including simple financial backing to launch them and a small team that combines technical knowledge with personalities and missional evangelical thinkers who are willing to be out in front on these projects. If the talent is willing, will we support their work?

What ideas do you have? What could you give?

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4 Responses to UU YouTube: What are the possibilities?

  1. MB Tankersley March 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Definitely, I’ll be willing to help & contribute. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to do an irreverent, religious-themed talk show- something like Loveline, only with religion instead of sex & relationships. Perhaps a program where there could be a host, co-host (yuk monkey funny-person,) a few regular contributors, plus weekly call-in guests to interview & play off each other. Think something along the same lines as “The Young Turks” but using religion as the backdrop for the show- there would be humor standing alongside very serious & passionate debate. Nobody, anywhere that I can find has ever done a religious talk show from a non-Christian perspective before. Could be groundbreaking, but most of all, entertaining & enlightening… enterlightening, anyone?


  2. Susanne Skubik Intriligator March 5, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    I love this thread. Let’s do a Google hangout to talk further. MB– Do you watch The VUU? It’s a weekly UU-themed talkshow, like you describe. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChurchLargerFellowsh?feature=watch

    • Thomas March 5, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      I know that Brian and I are both familiar with the VUU. It is a great program, but clearly has an inward focus. It isn’t something that is going to appeal to many non-Unitarian Universalists. Or all current UUs. It is a good model for some of what we could do technically and in terms of having regular appearances to give the show a feeling of continuity and personality.

  3. Devin Murphy April 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    A wile back on my blog Realmdee I described an idea for a Unitarian Universalist (UU) TV program or miniseries with the working title “The Church of The Flaming Chalice” (http://realmdee.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/the-church-of-the-flaming-chalice/). The idea of this program was to explore a fictional UU church and UUism more broadly. I envisioned the program set in a reality that is like ours but slightly off. This would be so the program could fully explore themes, subjects and events without having to worry if it got all the minutia of this or that theme, subject or event rite. The program would take place in the present day and have many flashback scenes. It would explore such themes as, local UU congregational life, what it is like to grow up UU, convert to UUism, be a UU minister, UU youth culture, and what UUs believe ect. It would touch on such historic UU events as the coming together of Unitarian and Universalism, the disbanding of LRY and the formation of YRUU. I initially viewed the target audience as being UU churches and their members and friend, but I think now with a little tweaking to the concept, it could be interesting to some non-UUs as well and dare I say it informative as well for them. This would be of course a scripted drama, all be it with some improvisation to help deliver each seen.

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