Skeptics should be doing our part to improve accessibility – for our events, our online content and in general. If the message of rationalism and science is truly of value, then it should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.
One way to do this is to ensure that online audio and video content is provided with transcripts and/or closed captions. This allows deaf and hearing-impaired people to access the content. That’s 5% of the world’s population, or 360 million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization.
Aside from feeling good about doing our civic duty, it can benefit outreach as well. Captions can be used as the basis to translate the content into other languages, allowing your content to reach other countries. And as I explained in my YouTube meta-data post back in January, the additional text of the captions helps make your content more attractive to search engines like Google.
There are some skeptics who are leading the way with this, whose efforts I’d like to highlight in this post. But I’m also going to update you on my own efforts, which recently helped one video become a viral hit.
A video on my YouTube channel recently passed half a million views, in just over a year since I put it up. By viral video standards, that’s not going to make any top ten lists, but it is impressive for a few reasons.
The first reason is the video in question is unoriginal. In fact, it’s a copy of a widely available video that was shown on the news hundreds of times back in 2002 and 2003. Because it was a news event, there are many, many copies of this video all over YouTube, and copies of it exist on just about every other major video site.
The second reason is my YouTube channel (of which I bet many of you weren’t aware) has very few subscribers and only a few thousand views of other videos. So it had no built-in audience to create those views.
The third reason it’s interesting (and no doubt the source of many of the views) is my copy of this video is the now the number one hit on Google for many relevant searches. In just a year I managed to usurp all those other copies in several search engines.