YouTube Annotations – Social Media Secret Sauce

YouTube Annotations – Social Media Secret Sauce


One of the cooler features of YouTube, sometimes done well, oft-times not, is annotations.

Annotations are links on videos that allow the user to go to a video, a YouTube channel, or an associated website, in order to boost engagement and give more information.

The main stipulation – and potential limitation – of annotations, is that associated websites must be sites controlled by the YouTube publisher, as dictated and defined through Google’s Webmaster Tools.

This is fine for links to websites you control, or your Google+ pages. But what about social media sites like Facebook Pages and Twitter Profiles? These sites cannot be claimed by mere mortals – and yet, you’ve probably seen dozens of links to Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes on videos from other YouTube publishers.

How did they do that?

I won’t bury the lede; here’s how it’s done.

In order to create an associated website link on YouTube that will send users to your social media landing sites, you need to know about HTTP 301 Redirects.

A 301 Redirect is a code that tells a web browser that a page or site’s location has permanently been changed to a new location. Redirects can exist at the domain or site level, or at individual page levels.

We’ve established that you can’t associate or verify a site you don’t own in Google Webmaster Tools. But, you can verify a page you do own, one that redirects to one of your various social media pages. That’s the secret sauce.

In my case, I wanted to redirect a link to one of my Twitter accounts (@300Word2Minutes). I really only needed to redirect a single page to this account, so I decided to simply script a landing page, to issue a 301 Redirect to my Twitter Profile for 300 Words, 2 Minutes. Here’s what it looks like in PHP:

Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
Header( "Location:" );

verified the link to this new page through Google Webmaster Tools, and voila! I now had a site that I could associate with a YouTube Annotation.

You can associate more than one site with a YouTube account. I won’t replicate those instructions here, but you can follow the directions from YouTube support to see how to do this. Suffice it to say, once you Associate a single site on YouTube, you can actually use any Google Webmaster Tools verified site as additional associated websites.

And that’s pretty much it. Except, this:

Associated website links can be very prickly under YouTube.

Even though you may properly verify a site using Google Webmaster Tools, sometimes YouTube simply refuses to recognize them. You may have to do the virtual equivalent of “jiggling the wires” to sometimes get your links working. You can try one (or more) of the following, to get your links recognized by YouTube:

  • Clear your browser cache
  • Exit and Restart your browser
  • Remove the current associated website from YouTube Channel settings, and replace with another verified site; replace again with the link you want to use.

In short, you may have to play around this a bit. I wish this worked better.

Let me know your experiences working with Annotations, and social media sites. I would love to hear your work arounds to this very cool feature.


To Be, or Not to Be Social: Is participating in social media good for your career?

“Create your presence on social media to be found, heard and respected; otherwise, you won’t be.” – Susan Beebe, Chief Listener at Dell.

Twitter in the Classroom at Hendrix College

Twitter in the Classroom at Hendrix College

Hendrix’s own Dr. Robert Williamson Jr. spoke with Dr. Amanda Hagood of the ACS about how he uses Twitter in the classroom. Participants from across the country joined in and asked questions ranging from how social media ties into course objective to supporting students who may not have a computer or mobile device.

You can also view the discussion here and see additional questions referenced.

#social media in the classroom: extending the learning community

#social media in the classroom: extending the learning community

Hangouts on AirOn Thursday, Sept. 26th at 3pm  Central/4pm Eastern Time, we’ll be talking with Dr. Robert Williamson, Jr., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Hendrix College, about how he uses Twitter-based homework assignments to deepen student engagement with course materials and create a richer learning  community within his classes.

This one-hour event – titled “#social media in the  classroom: extending the learning community” – will be hosted through Google Hangouts on Air  (For those of you who are new to this platform, additional instructions are provided below).

You’ll be able to tune in to the event  directly from this Google Events page: You can also use this page to sign up for a reminder about the webinar, and to learn more about Dr. Williamson and the tools he uses in his social media assignments.

About Google Hangouts on Air:

This video-conferencing tool allows you to view the webinar as it is taking place (3pm Central/ 4pm Central on Thursday, Sept. 26th), as well as view a recording of the conversation after it has been completed.

In either case, you’ll be able to tune directly in to the  webinar by visiting the Google Events page for this event:

You will also be able to tune in to the webinar (both in real time and afterward) by visiting the ACS Blended Learning Collaboration’s YouTube page:

When you tune into the live event, the host will be aware that you are  present, but your image/audio will not appear in the conference. Because the number of video participants is limited, we will be using  a running comment field to gather your questions and comments during  the discussion.

You will be able to participate in the conversation by  typing your questions and comments into the comment fields in either  the Google Events page or the YouTube page, and the host will then  relay them to the group. The Events page also allows you to sign up for a reminder for this  event; simply choose the “Yes” option under “Are You Going?” and the  event will be added to your Google calendar. (You will need a gmail  address for this option to work).

Please feel free to contact Amanda Hagood, Director of Blended Learning, Associated Colleges of the South (hagood at, with any questions that you might have.

I’ll be a little scarce in the coming weeks

I’ll be a little scarce in the coming weeks

The coming weeks will be very busy for me.

We are in the process of moving from Nashville to Orlando, FL and along with all of the fun things that accompany a cross-country move, I also have to do a little something I like to call “work.”

In fact, my banker is sorta insisting that I continue this thing called work.

Anywho, what all of this means is that I am pretty much double and triple booked on paying gigs for the next several weeks to the extent that I might be a little – or a lot – more scarce here in the wilds of Social Media.

Fish gotta swim, bird gotta eat as Nigel says in Finding Nemo.

I’ll try to post Utterz and Photos when I can, but it may be a little thin between substantive posts until the World Wide Corporate Headquarters of Sumner Systems Management has been relocated to its new home down South.

UPDATE 6/29: We signed a contract on our current home here in Nashville last evening and are now putting the pressure on our Realtor in Orlando to really kick things into gear. Still showing the house in the event (hope?) that we will get a backup / fallback offer should the deal fall apart before closing in early August. But that’s a different problem for a different day.

UPDATE 6/29 10:45PM – we received a second offer this evening on the house. We have signed a counter offer, so now it is a race to see which signed counter (along with an earnest money check) arrives back to us first.

Morning Chuckle Over Sarah Lacy’s Latest BusinessWeek “Piece”

Morning Chuckle Over Sarah Lacy’s Latest BusinessWeek “Piece”

I LOVE IT when an employee of a news organization or the press lectures Entrepreneurs on the need to get “business savvy.”

How savvy does one need one need to be to cash an employers’ paycheck, Sarah (did I say that out loud)?

Granted, too many Entrepreneurs equate “funded” with “profitable” – but someone who can’t even do THEIR job competently, working for a big employer paying their way to conferences week in and week out has ZERO cred with me in discussing how web idealists need to get “serious” about business.

“He jests at scars that never felt a wound” – Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Attaining Critical Mass, without Exploding

Attaining Critical Mass, without Exploding

I’ve always been one to not suffer fools gladly.

One of the challenges I face in my adult life is to harness my inclination to say the first thing that pops into head whenever someone says or does something utterly stupid, myself included. Honestly, I am a stupidity carrier at times.

But something is happening to me as I travel the wilds of the Social Networking ecosystem. I find that I am connecting with more and more people who talk a lot of game, but are more interested in the how many ways the game may be played rather than the objective of the game itself – namely, produce something of value; more profits, better living conditions, better products, smarter kids… name your favorite metric of success.

I’m finding more and more people are simply concerned with attending the next conference, meetup / Tweetup, breakfast, lunch, dinner – and less interesting people who are doing. Doing. Doing.

My realization shouldn’t be all that surprising, because all of the doers ARE doing, not tweeting about it. Not blogging about it. And before anyone hits me with the “irony” tag, yeah, I do realize the irony of blogging about the futility of blogging as opposed to doing something useful. I get it.

Believe me – I am not ranting against social media and how it can transform our reach.

Social Media and the great tools coming from the community are tremendous force multipliers – but for both bad AND good.

Like Springsteen sang, “Fifty seven channels and nothing on.” We are becoming a community of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

People, if the world of communications is really going to be transformed in a positive way, the end result should be a better workplace, a better world, better products, better standards of living, better knowledge – and not just more of the same people attending conferences and contributing to the mutual circle jerk of self congratulation.

Still seeking critical mass without having my head explode. I am failing miserably this morning.