Information Competency Gavilan College Spring 2006
Module 26
Media Sharing Sites


    What are they?

      You may have already encountered a media sharing site on the internet. Media - such as pictures, video, and sounds are being shared on sites such as,,,,,,, and many, many others.

      The general model works like this: you can create an account with one of these websites, and once you are accepted and log in, there's an "upload" button which will prompt you for a file to upload. (Whether the file is a song, sound file, picture, video, or something else, depends on which site you are using.)

      You can upload media files that you want to share, and each one will have an internet address associated with it. This is a link that you can now share with your colleagues and students. Anyone who follows the link can view or hear your file from their web browswer. (From anywhere on earth!)

    Why would I do this?

      Why do you share pictures? Many reasons. Typically you will use these services if you want to do a specific kind of multimedia publishing that is not directly supported by our webserver / Contribute software here at Gavilan. You can always upload an .mp3 (audio) file to your faculty web account. But by using (for example), you will get a public webpage that shows all your uploads, with a convenient "player" widget in the web page. This is more convenient to your audience compared to a simple web link to a sound file.

    Example sites: youtube, flickr, slideshare is a video sharing site. You may upload video files from your computer to your account on youtube. The files you upload can be of almost any type. Video files will have an ending of .mov, .avi, .mp4, .wmv, .3gp, and many others. Youtube will convert the file you upload to the most convenient type for playing back on the web. It will also compress your file to make it immediately playable without a long download wait. You can upload videos directly from your digital camera, for example. Or you can use video editing software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to add titles and do editing. is a picture and photo sharing site. Again, you can upload photos of almost any filetype, and flickr will automatically convert them to the appropriate type and size for showing on the web. You can also add descriptions and other information to your photos once they are uploaded. You can arrange your photos into albums as well. is a "presentation" sharing site. You can upload PowerPoint files to your account, and they will be converted to a format that is directly usable to anyone on the web (even if they don't have PowerPoint themselves.) You also have the option of uploading a sound file, and marking points in the sound file that you want to synchronize the powerpoint slides to. This gives the effect of a narrated slideshow.

      There are competiting sites and variations on each of these. In general, these sites are supported by including advertising in the pages. Most also give you the option of paying a small fee to have your pages shown without advertising.

    Account basics

      These media sharing sites all follow a similar pattern. To use them, you will:

      1. Sign up for an account.
      2. Upload your files.
      3. Share the address, or "embed" the file in your own webpage

      To sign up for an account, you will decide on a "username" and a password. Remeber both of these-- you'll need them both everytime you use the site.

      Once your account is set up, you will typically be given the option to "upload". This will bring you to a page where you describe your file and you will have the opportunity to pick out the file on your computer. Depending on how large your file is, it'll take between 1 minute to a few hours to upload. There is a practical limit of about 800 Megabytes for files that you upload. If your file is bigger (some videos are quite large) then you'll have to use a program on your computer to compress it to a smaller size.

      When your file is uploaded, you should be able to see it on its own page. You can share the address of this page in emails or links to publicize your video. You'll typically be given the option to "embed" the file in other webpages by copying a short code into your own web page. This will make the video (or picture, etc) appear in any page you'd like.

    Privacy, security, identity

      It is important to understand that you are making your materials available to the whole world. Usually this is no problem, but it is something to be aware of. Pay attention to what personal details you are releasing. Pictures of your house? Your address? Pictures of your children? Company details?

      Not to be paranoaid, but it is important to keep this aspect in mind. Also note that it is possible for detective types to piece together different details of your trail online: your address from one place online, photos of your home from another, etc. You don't have to be paranoid, but you can be aware and fully informed.

    Password management tips

      As you probably have already discovered, it is very easy to start amassing a handful (or more) of accounts at various websites, each with its own associated username and password. You might have accounts with your work email account, a personal email account, a video sharing site, photo sharing, a few newpaper sites, your bank account, and so on. What to do with all these different passwords?

      BE CAREFUL! Some account "matter" a lot more. Having your bank password compromised is much worse than having your New York Times password released. The more valuable the account, the tighter your password policy should be.

      Here's how I do mine: I decide how important a particular account is. Most video-sharing, or newspaper accounts don't matter very much if someone finds out the password (for me). So I often use the same password for accounts that aren't "valuable".

      There's a second tier of accounts, such as email accounts, that I will have a common password for, and it'll be a different password than the "throwaway" accounts.

      The third tier of accounts is the high-value ones. My bank account, for example. The passwords for these are always unique and hard to guess.

    How do I embed media into my class?

      The easiest way, once you have your video (or photos, or slideshow) uploaded to your account, is simply to give a link to the page itself.

      If you want more control over the presentation, you can "embed" the media into a web page of your own. All of the media sharing sites will let you do this by letting you copy a chunk of code. You can paste the code into your own web page, or blog post, or forum post. The chunk of code is in the HTML language. You need the ability to post "raw" HTML. Switch to that mode, if possible, and paste the chunk you copied. You should now have your video, slideshow, or picture embedded in your own page.

      For more details, visit the lesson on Using Video for Class Material.