Like Facebook and Google in their domains, ubiquitous YouTube is the dominant site for hosting educational videos. There are hundreds of educational YouTube channels. Even when organizations such as the Smithsonian, for example, have videos linked on their own websites, many choose to post mirror video channels on YouTube; they are clearly aware that more people will find their videos through YouTube than by going directly to their specific websites. YouTube channels offer clips of videos and, much like blogs and Twitter, invite users to click to the major “host” site sponsoring the channel. Moreover, YouTube users know that when they find videos on a YouTube channel, these videos are free. That is not always clear when going to gateway sites that host the original content for the videos; nor are free videos always easy to find at the original hosting sites. YouTube channel sites are ideal for educators because the clips are usually short and thus manageable for classroom instruction.
Of course, there are numerous gateway video hosting sites other than YouTube, such as the very popular Vimeo site. However, none of these are as comprehensive as YouTube. Vimeo is generally used by video production professionals who want to showcase the quality of their work. The audience for Vimeo is not so much the general public as filmmaking devotees. They can host lengthier, higher-quality productions on Vimeo and thus get attention from other professionals in the production world. Like YouTube, Vimeo has categories organized by subject, channels, groups, or communities around videos, a video school, and links to the Creative Commons. Despite the fact that there is a category titled “Socially Minded Documentaries” containing 190 potentially educational videos, the focus of much of the material on Vimeo is video production and support for all aspects of professional work with digital video.