STORYTELLING is a CRAFT...you have to have a PASSION for capturing, telling, and sharing stories. This blog is dedicated to that craft. What is your story? We are listening.

Tag: youtube

So as I was sitting in the morning church service, there was a piano selection performed right at the beginning. As I was sitting there listening to this beautiful melody coming out of this grand piano; I thought this grand piano has been sitting at the front for a long time but I have yet to notice how beautiful it sounds. The soloist was playing this instrument in a way that brought out the tremendous musical range. The soloist was completely engaged with the piano, focused on the song, the notes, the stanzas. Why have I never noticed this piano before?

The audience was completely engaged in the music, tied to every note, anticipating the next stanza, watching as the soloist’s hands interacted with the keys, playing notes with methodical movements from one to the next. The piano has the potential to play that well…but it is the soloists interpretation of the music selection as she used this instrument to bring the story of the song to the ears of the audience.

About a week ago, I had someone question me whether the advent of Flip Video devices would create a drastic reduction in online video production industry? A great question. But as I listened to this soloist interact with this grand piano, I began to think about this question even more. My first response to this individual was simply whether I am using a Flip Video device, a high definition pro-sumer camera, or a $70K Sony HDCAM….it is not the device that tells the story…it is the practitioner who interprets the technology to create and deliver the story.

True practitioners, real storytellers know how to evolve with technology and maximize it’s potential to meet the needs of an audience. I think of a story I produced a few years ago about an Opera Singer on his way to re-merge as an Opera Sinder, my friend Ron Gattis.

When I first started working in video production (broadcast video production), I used what was called BetaCAM video devices. The camera weighed 30lbs and was the size of medium size briefcase positioned on my shoulder or on a tripod heavier than the camera itself. We would take the results of the video taping and use two large BetaCAM decks (Two large VCR’s) to edit between in a linear mode. One mistake and there was no going back…time to re-edit. Using that set-up, I won six Emmy Awards and numerous other AP awards for Television Excellence.

I tell this story…and many journalists before me endured broadcast video camera larger than this where the camera was split into two pieces.

Now, I work with a camera less than half the size, half the price, and edit on a laptop. I can deliver my stories to audiences broader than the DMA I was working in during my broadcast television days. I put the video into the laptop and can move the video around, manipulate it in ways that would take a major post-production house of 10 years ago tons of money and weeks of production.

The technology is changing, but I still have to use it appropriately to deliver a high quality story in a manner that allows the audience forget they are watching this story on a screen, remove their peripheral vision. Whether it is a theatre or a computer screen…I want to create that story within an interface that is interactive. You know what I mean, that moment when you are sitting in a movie and you are so involved with the story-line, you forget you are in a theatre. It is all about being in the “Zone” from both an audience perspective and a practitioner perspective.

Do you think that if the soloist was given a keyboard device that was no bigger than a laptop, she could render a melody worth sitting and listening too? Do you think Ansel Adams could render a beautiful landscape using a pin-hole camera that was created from a Quaker Oats cylinder? The ability for a practitioner to tell a story is embedded in our DNA, whether it is a Flip Video Camera or beautiful state of the art Grand Piano.

So next time you hear that beautiful melody/harmony coming from a Grand Piano…think for a minute, is it the Grand Piano rendering those beautiful notes….or is the vision of the soloist interpreting the potential of those keys and bringing you the audience into “their” world. I love telling visual stories!

So here is a video that has been trending on YouTube for a while…right now it has over 8 million views…WOW! There is a lot of Google/YouTube traffic surrounding this video. Imagine leveraging that traffic for your blog. Now you would have to create a video that generates that type of excitement, but the point being…their is a lot of rich opportunities when integrating great video content from YouTube into a blog.

I am fascinated why more people do not talk about the value in integrating video into your blogging routine. It has and always will be a no brainer for me. So much conversation talks about the tremendous leverage you get when you share your blog posts via Twitter, Facebook, RSS Readers, Subscribe, and any other distribution platform. But no one is talking about why integrating video from outlets like YouTube really creates long term digital success for blogging.

So let’s take YouTube for a second…here are some stats from YouTube:

Traffic

  • Over 3 billion videos are viewed a day
  • YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages
  • YouTube’s demographic is broad: 18-54 years old
  • YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010

Metrics

  • YouTube mobile gets over 400M views a day (up 3x year/year), representing 13% of our daily views
  • The YouTube player is embedded across tens of millions of websites

Social

  • Nearly 17 million people have connected their YouTube account to at least one social service (Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Buzz, etc)
  • Over 12 million people are connected and auto-sharing to at least one social network
  • 150 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook (up 2.5x year/year) and every minute more than 500 tweets contain YouTube links (up 3x y/y)
  • 100 million people take a social action on YouTube (likes, shares, comments, etc) every week
  • An auto-shared tweet results in 6 new youtube.com sessions on average, and we see more than 500 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link

So…how does this help your blog when you combine video from YouTube?

YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world with over 3 billion searches per day. So of course you want to have an optimized YouTube presence. By that, I mean you want to have a well branded YouTube channel with optimized videos,” via SEOinc.com.

Well…let’s get down to the basics.

When you begin creating a blogging strategy over a period of time, you begin mapping out the content you might want to write about. At the same tokin, you can begin thinking about a YouTube strategy. Specifically, mapping out video content you can create that can pair and supplement your written blog posts. As you write each post, you produce each coordinating video. That video is uploaded to your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel needs to have your information and information about your blog in the about area.

For each video you create, you need to have the following:

  1. Great title that includes the keywords you would use to search for the video.
  2. Great description with keys words about the content of the video. This description should also include a link to your blog, maybe even the actual blog post.
  3. Tags that can be used to search for this video.

Once you write the post, use the embed code from YouTube to embed within your blog post. You have officially linked a specific YouTube video to a specific blog post on your blog. The YouTube video has it’s own unique URL inside your YouTube channel and it is embedded in a blog post with a specific URL inside your blog. You have just connected your blog to the largest search engine inside the Internet. By the way, here is a great post about how to optimize each YouTube video for great SEO…CLICK HERE.

Connecting the DOTS!
Now, think about the stats above. Every time you Tweet, share on Facebook, include this blog post on a newsletter…you have shared two distinct links to two pieces of rich content. This not only helps your audience fing your video via your blog, but also via Google since YouTube is owned by Google. Each time you share, you are sharing exponentially two pieces of rich media creating lots of linkages between your blog, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and any other online outlets. This linkage system begins to rank higher in Google’s algorithm, placing your content in a much more likely position to be found.

Why Connecting YouTube to your blog works!
So, if you can write a blog post, included a specific YouTube video from your channel, and share across all the social outlets…then you are much more likely to be found than just writing a blog post. You have connected the rich descriptions and tags from both the blog post and the embedded YouTube video in world of search engines by simpley sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other social media sharing outlet. For every share, you are broadcasting two pieces of media (blog and YouTube video) rather than one. And since YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, and since Google and YouTube are on in the same, you have immediately connected a Google searching opportunity with your blog…merely by posting a video.

Below is a GREAT infographic surrounding the world of video sharing!

One nation under video
Infographic by: Wistia

Also…here is a great presentation below, how to optimize YouTube videos for rich SEO. If you cannot see the presentation below, CLICK HERE to go directly to the website.

One of the more interesting things that continually fascinates me…we are still burying social links. What do I mean, burying social links on websites, televisions ads, print ads, etc.

Websites: I see more and more links to organizations, brands, individuals’ social links at the bottom of a website…or even below the fold. I wonder if web designers and developers are engrained with working with template based methodology? Maybe we just do not know what to do with the links? If we are blogging and have great content…why are we making it so hard to find the blog? Oh, let’s put the link to the blog at the bottom of the homepage and bury the blog in the navigation.

Television Ads: It is easy to just add the social media outlet icons (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) at the end of the spot. Watch some of the popular ads and you will see a glimpse of these icons in the last 3 seconds of the ads. Most of these outlets just put the icons without the link address to the social link. People need to see the exact URL and not just a Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube icon as an afterthought.

Print: Same as websites and television, these links and outlets are after thoughts. Social outlet icons or event links are buried at the bottom of a design or where we can squeeze them in somewhere. These icons are put there for “awareness” yet only bring awareness for the outlet as an organization, but give no URL to go find the links and engage.

This makes no sense to me?

It is my belief that a YouTube channel has the greatest reach than any other social outlet. Yes, it is a destination social outlet where Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube. So if Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube, why are we making it hard for individuals to find these social links?

Let’s look at YouTube…it has twice as potency as all the other social outlets. Links to YouTube videos last twice as long in the social space than links to any other content, basically has twice as long half-life as other social links. Here is the research from bit.ly on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/06/links-sharing-bitly/

Also…social media-related YouTube stats are just as impressive. YouTube says that on average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link. Meanwhile, over on Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day. OK, with these stats…we should make it easier for our audiences to find our video content.

Let’s take a look at this YouTube video by Fancy Feast. It is one of their newest campaigns, encouraging you go find more of their YouTube links to watch the whole “engagement” story. But at the very end, they include a link to the channel, but is so small and short…you have to go to Google and search for it. Oh yes…that is what they want you to do…search for the content. We will get back to that in a second.

Reminder…Gthe point of this campaign is to get you to go watch the rest of the videos, to watch the whole story. The link is so small and so short when watching on television…I guess you have to use DVR to see it.

Organizations are lazy with their social links hoping that the user will use keyword searches to find content. Why are we making it so hard for our audiences to find our social outlets…we want them to engage in conversation? We want invest tons of money in these outlets, why the heck are we making it hard for our audiences to find them.

Let’s let look at some more stats:

“As of February 2011, YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month. We spend around 2.9 billion hours on YouTube in a month — over 325,000 years. And those stats are just for the main YouTube website — they don’t incorporate embedded videos or video watched on mobile devices.” <– via Mashable.com.

Oh…btw, YouTube is the Number 2 visited website internationally…yes! Here is the list for 2011: http://www.google.com/adplanner/static/top1000/

So what do these stats tell us, we expect people to search for content. We do not do this intentionally, maybe the smart advertisers do, but most average organizations do not think about this. The social search of Google and Bing ranks content based on searches, creating millions of dollars of revenue from our inability to tell audiences the direct link to a social outlet or social piece of content. The more clicks to the content, the better the search is refined, the higher the rank of the content or social outlet.

Advertisers who are not generating income (direct or indirect links) should do a better job of giving audiences a direct URL or link to social outlets and social content. Why…we want audiences to find content as fast as possible, because CONTENT IS KING.

Oh…this whole argument is based on the premise that your social outlets have viable a community and wonderful content to engage. So if your Content Is Not King…then keep on burying those links.

So I have been thinking what makes video social? Yes….what makes our video content connect with audiences in a social, fluid environment. Well, it is my opinion that it comes down to technology and content. Seriously, there has to be relevant content that relates to an audience in a way that makes them have the desire to share. Then, once they want to share…it has to be supported by technology that does not prohibit the ability to share.

Recently I have been harping on Flash Video and how it marginalizes certain audiences…and this is all about technology. If I have a device and a friend shares a video with me, I click to watch and cannot view the content because the technology does not support Flash…then the video is not social.

So when I think about the technology aspect of social video, it can be broken into two arenas: enabling the ability to share the video and enabling the ability to search and find the video. But before we get to technology…let’s try to talk about characteristics of social video. So let’s think through this a bit…ways we can make our video content social.

Content:

  • The video message has to be compelling.
  • The video message has to have an action item.
  • The video appeals to our emotions.
  • The video message makes us want to share.

Technology:

  • The video has to be hosted and compressed so that it plays fluidly in majority of online environments.
  • The video player that displays the video is using the latest technology to meet your target audience’s devices needs. If it is HTML5, Flash, Quicktime, or what ever…it needs to be able to reach the largest section of audiences to consume the video content.
  • The video content has to be associated with searchable terms. We know what it means to make our webpages rich with searchable words…but now our video has to SEO rich. So whereever it is hosted, it must support searchable tags and video descriptions.
  • The video content must have a permalink to link directly to that video. You do want people to share your video, so it must have a link to post on social sites and email for reference.
  • The video content must have rich embed options. You want the masses have the ability to embed your video into your blogs, websites, and other online media outlets.
  • The video content needs to have the ability to have a title that is associated with the video. Places like YouTube and Vimeo provide that option to make the content searchable.

Let me give you two examples:

1) IT-oLogy Open House:

I worked on a project a few months ago with the sole purpose of telling the story of a new brand at an open-house. IT-oLogy was formerly the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management. They were launching their new brand at the open house for their new building. So we produced a video that had all their partners and supporting agencies describing IT-oLogy in their own terms. We made the video fun, goofy, yet appealing to the 250 plus people that would attend.

When I showed up to make it play on their new big screen, the people were still installing the technology that supported video playback. So…we uploaded it to YouTube in full 1080p and played it on a big 50 foot screen from YouTube. They had the bandwidth to support the higher quality and it played well. When we uploaded it to YouTube…we made sure we named it properly, gave a rich description, and implemented logical tags. When people left, they wanted to go find the video. Why…because it was cool plus most of the people in the room knew the people in the video and wanted to share with their co-workers. They were able to embed in their blogs, email the YouTube link to their friends, share it on social outlets. A quality message maximizing technology to enable sharing.

2) My Class at Clemson

I was putting together a presentation about finding your passion. I found this great video called “Where good ideas come from.” I wanted to share it with my class during my afternoon session. I like to use my business Facebook page as a place to save cool links that I might want to comeback to later. So I posted the YouTube link to my Facebook page with a description of it’s intended purpose. So when I got to class, I pulled up the video from my Facebook page and played it for the class and they loved it. Afterwards, I noticed that a conversation started happening on Facebook under the link I posted.

The conversation was around entrepreneurship and where great ideas come from. People from the academic world, business world, entrepreneurs, etc. were commenting and discussion the underlying theme behind the video. At the same time, before I could email the link to my students, one of them posted the link to their Facebook page thanking me for sharing in class. That means that they were able to do a Google search for the video, find it, grab the link from the video, and share with her friends. Steven Johnson was the speaker in this video and a group called RSA Animate produced the visuals. These people not only inspired me to share with my friends, students, and colleagues….but they also inspired and enabled others to share. The content was engaging and inspiring and the technology was seamless to enable the ability to share.

What are your thoughts? How are you using video socially?

What the heck do I mean by this? Well…for many of us digital geeks out there, this might be a no-brainer. But…the world is changing in the Social Video space faster than someone can upload the next YouTube video.

If you want to compete in the viral, social marketing space…then just go ahead and give in to YouTube and Vimeo. Seriously…if you are self-hosting content or have vendors hosting video for you, then you are in a DARK DARK ROOM.

Over two years ago, I was pitching to clients to be skeptical of YouTube, Vimeo, and other free video hosting outlets. I was telling them that “they” own your content that is uploaded and you would have to worry about protecting your brand. Well…I was saying that because I was trying to sell video storage, compression, and distribution like I was the next big venture. GUESS WHAT…that game, that technology is just a commodity.

If you are a marketing department, you really need to know the following about your video content:

1) The ability to play your content over a wide range of devices from Windows, Macs, and Linux based desktops and laptops is necessary. You also need to be able to reach the real growing crowd…MOBILE DEVICES. With 4G here…we will be watching video content like we are drinking our favorite frosty beverage…GUZZLE, GUZZLE, GUZZLE.  So…if someone cannot watch you latest marketing video because it is hosted using a Flash or WMV player…the you are marginalizing a large portion of your audience. HTML5 players are the next innovation for playback of your video content. Why do you think YouTube, Vimeo, Brightcove, Sorenson, and many others have implemented this technology.

2) The local production shop who is hosting your video DOES NOT have the SEO like YouTube and Vimeo can provide. Seriously, when you embed a video hosted on these two platforms…you are connecting some of the largest search engines to your page via the video content. When you upload the video to YouTube and Vimeo, you can provide a detailed description, tags, location where it was shot…and all of this follows the video when you embed it into your website. The local shop is not owned by a search engine, so they do not specialize in SEO. So if you are paying to host content on their private servers, then pay to have the final video released to you and upload it to your YouTube channel.

3) YouTube and Vimeo also come with a community. Yes, people are searching these sites for video content based on their interests and comment right below the video. So…the community is built around the content, engaging audiences beyond the website you have it embedded. The search engines like this!

4) The quality of the playback is great. You can look at HD quality video right over your home network. That is backed by huge teams of technology experts that make it their mission to make your picture quality look great. Why do you think Hollywood uses these outlets to release Trailers…hmm?

5) It is so CHEAP. YouTube is free and Vimeo is $60 per year. So why are you paying monthly fees for hosting when your marketing message cannot be viewed on some the latest mobile devices? I do not know, but you might want to reconsider.

This post is truely meant for viral marketing efforts for video. There is TREMENDOUS value in using private hosting and Flash video for private video messages. You not only can control the distribution, but you also force individuals to watch the content in specific types of technology. There is value in this model.

Thoughts…think I am crazy? There are some business that would like to scream at me…but oh well. Why am I writing about this…because large organizations are still operating in yesterday’s thinking.

Seriously, the debate is the debate…Flash Video, HTML5, H264…I get it already. We still have not decided on a standard for web video. But seriously, Flash just is not working. I do not care if you think it is the best thing slice bread…instead, take that sliced bread and make a PB&J while reading this post.

So why is Flash not working, seriously? Because we are in the world of mobile users. Yeah, those smart phones that your audience is enjoying right now.

If you have a marketing department and spending tons of money on video hosting for your public marketing video…then you are getting freaking bad advice. Dump the video hosting for your marketing video and put everything on YouTube and Vimeo. Seriously…if the White House and every other major marketing group out there is doing it, then you should too!

Here is why:

1) YouTube and Vimeo are in the business of providing high quality video content to the masses…it is their business. So they are going to have the latest technology when it comes to players. Bottom-line, you will be able to watch the content on just about any device out there!

2) YouTube and Vimeo will have better SEO opportunities than any other private hosting option out there!  Why, because most of the video content out there is on their servers and it is their business to optimize for searches. Oh yeah, last year…YouTube was the Number #2 search engine.

3) YouTube and Vimeo provide a multitude of options for embedding in web outlets and social sites. Every time you upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo, they provide an easy embed option into your website and blog. They provide easy click options from playing solely in HD, changing the size, etc. Also…the share link makes it so easy to populate into Facebook, allowing the user to watch the video inside Facebook without having to leave to go to another website.

4) YouTube and Vimeo have figured out this whole compression thing for you. You can practically upload just about any video file and it convert the file for you and give you thumbnail options, so you do not have to manually choose and upload some image as the pause screen.

5) YouTube and Vimeo display HD Video content and it looks ROCK SOLID! For a huge conference in Columbia, we uploaded a completely uncompressed HD video to YouTube, and played it for an auditorium for a dignitaries from YouTube. Why, because the computer in the conference room was having a hard time working with about every video file we put on the Windows 7 desktop. So, since it looked great in HD and it played nicely without pause via YouTube…it was displayed in 1080p over a 50 foot screen. The crowd cheered at the end!

6) YouTube and Vimeo offer private viewing of video content. So, if you want to restrict the audience and move away from totally public consumption, the option is there. Yes…you can even restrict to private links so that you have to have that specific link to watch the video content.

7) If you are a large organization, you can create categories to separate video messages according to topics, departments, etc. You can create your own video vault without the hefty price tag! Seriously…YouTube is FREE! Vimeo is also free but offers a premium package for $60/year! YES!!!! Between FREE AND $60/YEAR. Compare that to your monthly spending on your pretty server for marketing video.

Why did I write this…because I was irritated the other day when I tried to open a video message on my iPad and the video was Flash. The video link was from a Twitter and Facebook post of a major organization. I went to my desktop and the video message was intended for a mass audience. Now I realize that iPads and Apple devices are only a finite portion of the user audience. BUT…Apple users are a major audience in mobile video usage. WHY MARGINALIZE YOUR MESSAGE! Just put the dang thing up on YouTube/Vimeo and take advantage of the community.

So if you are  spending tons of money to host video content for marketing purposes…RE-NEGOTIATE! If your marketing message needs to hit a broad audience, take advantage of the technology, SEO, and community of these outlets. BTW…YouTube is one the top search engines…NUFF SAID!

Done with my rant.

If you think back to 2008, well many of us do not want to go back in time. It is October 2008 and in one single week, we witnessed a financial fallout of epic proportions. I remember sitting in the office of a business we just started; our fresh new furniture, big ole office, watching on the 52 inch HDTV as the market crashed. I knew right then and there, we were in trouble.

At that same time, we were in the upswing of one of the biggest online movements we have witnessed since the web was WWW. Yes, the Social Media Revolution. Twitter was growing faster and faster…here is a video in June 2008 of CEO/Founder Jack Dorsey presenting the idea of Twitter and actually beginning his talk by explaining Twitter as an idea.

Now most of you know that Twitter is not the only outlet that has defined this Social Media Revolution…but while Twitter was ramping up, gaining users…Facebook was growing just as fast. YouTube was growing and getting ready to become the second largest search engine behind Google.com. So how did all of this happen, well I have a few theories…and it is this premise that I think has totally shaped how Social Media influences marketing efforts today.

It comes down to jobs. Yes…jobs. It also comes down to community based innovation. As the stock market crashed, millions of American’s lost jobs. Businesses closed their doors. More American’s began using online resources to connect with friends, look for jobs, become entrepreneurs, and connect with opportunities. The job market was bleak so many groups around America began having social events, finding ways to connect and leverage relationships in the search for work. So we began seeing more and more groups created…and Twitter, Facebook, and other Social Media outlets were the connectors of these networks.

These groups were teaching each other how to connect with others, using technology to connect; building new spheres of influence, and generating innovative ideas. These social media connectors were “new” and fresh. The numbers on these networks began to shoot up, more and more people were using these networks and learning the in’s and out’s of how to leverage them.

At the same time, big box businesses were suffering. If you remember…there was a huge scare around Christmas shopping. Were people going to shop for gifts in 2008. I remember we bought most of our gifts that year using American Express points. No one could afford to buy cars, buy houses, buy gifts, etc…so big box companies were struggling with ways to connect with the consumer with their brand, then turn it into dollars. At the same time, Social Outlets were growing in numbers and they became a hot bed for consumers…a place to “hang out.” This is the critical point where those who were looking for new income streams began to realize…they could market how to use these Social Media outlets to big box businesses. Social Media entrepreneurs were being born left and right. They understood the consumer and how the consumer used these Social Outlets.

As the market began to recover, business began to recover with more dollars to spend. These dollars could be spent with people that understood these social communities and the technology that supported these same communities. Big and small business were being formed with the sole purpose of helping organizations use Social Media outlets. We began seeing more people speak at big conferences about these outlets, and small civic groups were entertained by local advocates for this community and technology.

Now as we fast forward to 2011, the market is flooded with individuals, plans, strategies, and businesses that implement social media strategies for companies. The numbers have grown so much with this big shift with more online engagement of social exchange. Now in 2011, there are social outlets that measure other social outlets, measuring the influence of individuals and communities. This velocity has completely shifted the way many organizations market their goods and services.

This Social Media Revolution created a culture, a series of communities, that now command the perception of brands. So why should we care? It is this culture, the Social Media entrepreneurs that are now influencing how many people are doing business. It is shaping the way we broadcast news and information. Everyday, someone else wants to figure out how to measure the success of a community in dollars in cents. But we have to think back…how did all this happen. How the hell did Twitter, Facebook, YouTube begin to shape the way we communicate?

Some of the best and brightest innovation comes from a time of economic recession. I am not a Rhodes Scholar…but I think it because people are forced to find ways to generate revenue to support life, and they have time on their hands to generate these ideas. This time leads to new market ideas that leads to new innovation. This culture was a community of innovation that is shaping the way we communicate and do business today.

What are your thoughts? Am I totally off base?



It is my belief that we will see more mini-documentaries this year than in years past. Why, because the “Social Space” has provided a bigger platform to distribute content and a focus on the community voice is ever so prevalent.

In 2010, AT&T launched a campaign to educate consumers about the dangers of texting while driving. This video was shot as a short documentary, capturing the stories of those most effected by this social concern. What better way to bring the consumer to a place to see right into the heart of the issue than a documentary style video.

With YouTube being one of the Top Three search engines along with the platform to deliver high quality content, this video has been viewed over 570K times. That is an amazing touch point to so many consumers of information, people are embedding this video in Facebook, their blogs, and numerous other places.

Documentary style storytelling is a way to provide a journalistic approach to content delivery, providing a view-point directly from those whom are most effected by the mission of the video. Many traditional ad firms shy away from this approach, becuase it is harder to control the message…supposedly. You can’t script responses, you can’t shot-sheet and storyboard real life action and reaction. The ethical approach to telling this type of story has a whole new approach. Most documentary style storytellers shy away from script writing, not using “voice over” to connect the micro messages of the soundbites. Most try to take a more extreme position allowing the people in the documentary to completely tell the story. The only way to guide the message is do a good job of asking the appropriate questions to find the best responses, weaving them together to tell the story.

Look at ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series. It has empowered 30 storytellers to bring a passion to the screen by telling 30 stories. As stated by ESPN, “An unprecedented documentary series featuring thirty films from some of today’s finest storytellers. Each filmmaker will bring their passion and personal point of view to their film detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009.”

This series can be seen on ESPN, but also online not only at the 30 for 30 website. Consumers can share the videos by links and embed codes, empowering consumers to take part in the storytelling process. A community of messages sharing by a community of consumer advocates. But what is even greater, each one is produced by a different documentary storyteller with complete creative enterprise…empowering the documentary approach to the collective story. Each one has a different style, a different approach, a different story…communities telling rich stories.

Think back to 2002 when Michael Moore released Bowling for Columbine attacking one issue that is near and dear to the hearts of Americans…guns. This documentary not only inspired many Americans to think about the horrible tragedy of Columbine but attribute a national conversation wrapped around the influence of gun laws in the American fabric. But the other thing this documentary inspired, that anyone with a camera, a vision, and a passion to tell a story can achieve the national spotlight with a powerful message.

By the way, Bowling for Columbine won the 55th Anniversary Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and an Oscar at the Academy Awards for Best Documentary in 2003. Talk about taking a message to a national spot light. It not only influenced millions of viewers/consumers but also the critics at large. You can see all the other awards that Bowling for Columbine won here on IMDb’s website.

So why will 2011 be a year of documentaries, well more and more cameras and technology have become affordable, compound that with the distribution platofrms like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and the list goes on. The critical point of content creation and content delivery is coming to it’s true apex providing the means and opportunity to touch more hearts and minds than CBS’s 60 Minutes. BTW, that is one of my all time favorite storytelling, magazine shows still in existence!

We are seeing more and more content created with the iPhone4, Flip Cameras, Canon EOS Cameras…quality content that is being integrated into bigger productions. If you look at the video below, this was shot with a Canon EOS 7D DSLR…yes, a camera for photos!

But what makes this even more a reason why we will see more documentaries this coming year, we as a community of advocates have truely found and understood the social space. This social space has began to break down traditional means to tell stories, providing more community voices to tell big brand messages. This is the heart of the documentary approach, many voices in one story told conhesively for the consumers at large to watch and derive, project, and discuss their own point of view.

Why do we use Social Media technologies? To me…to connect and build communities of like minded individuals. Why do you use Facebook for your business? Do you use it to just update with information and events? How about use it for what it was originally designed to do, build a community of people to share and connect.

One of my favorite Facebook Page communities is the Clemson Alumni Association’s Facebook Page. You should check it out some time. If you look at the image in this post from the Facebook Page (look below), you will see how the community engages with each other. This was a video post letting everyone know that homecoming is right around the corner, bottom-line a reminder to mark your calendar. If you look below the video, someone that was new to the Clemson Homecoming experience posted a question. People from the community stepped in and engaged the conversation, reinforcing the experience. You do not see the Clemson Alumni Association respond till later, but the community of fans were the ones leading the conversation.

Do you want to control your community or do you want to let your community grow…let the technology be the platform to connect and engage. I choose the 2nd option. Are you building Social Media platforms to push information or a creating a place that connects and engages like minded people. Does it have to be a Facebook Page, Twitter Account, YouTube Account…could it just be a regular lunch meeting using a calendar as the technology that allows to connect.

I want to thank my buddy Dave Lee for inviting me to join his NFL Fantasy Football League this season. This has been a fun place for us to connect, share in our love for the game, and meet new people. Oh, by the way…it has helped me get into the NFL and follow the success of one of my favorite Clemson Tiger Alums, CJ Spiller. What a cool Social Media technology that has connected like minded people.

Over a year ago, I started working with a client on their Social Media strategy and implementation. While in the first training session, the statement was made, “Every major company/organization should have a Facebook Page, it is today’s website.” This statement has been making me think lately…especially while watching the noise level increase across the social media networks.

I jumped into the Social Media space to learn, connect, and build a community around ideas…specifically to find like minded individuals. I believe there are some communities still there especially with arena’s like #blogchat started by Mack Collier (@MackCollier). But technology is becoming the focus; create a Facebook Page, Twitter Account, YouTube Channel and use it for a “Push” mentality.

What do I mean by the “Push” mentality? Basically, one directional communication with a mass or targeted audience. I push my information to you without much social reciprocation.

It has given many businesses, entities, individuals a platform for thought leadership positioning themselves to push, push, push. Join me here, follow me there, agree with my thoughts, join my group…more technology, more groups, more thought leadership fighting for a smaller space of audiences.

It is my humble opinion that Twitter has created a discourse community that has converted how we use and access information in the social space…”Follow.” This positions everyone to be a leader, these leaders engaging in push mentality. One-directional informational flow that does not engage a communal mentality.  Now, I understand that this mentality has a tremendous impact in many advertising campaigns, but how many people want to have information always pushed on them…all the time. Less listening and more pushing. Just build another piece of media technology to push more information.

I do think we are seeing a paradigm shift especially with Facebook…the ability to increase privacy settings. Not just to protect ourselves from people looking at our information, but to filter out the push mentality. How many of you have taken the time to hide your status updates from friends/family and even hidden those who are pushing too much information on you? I know I have, hiding status updates so they do not come across my news feed. This is an effective way to hide people’s push mentality without letting them know we do like their updates. Easy way to save face and save space.

Facebook Pages are becoming yesterday’s website, post the information and hope they will come. Is it really necessary to have a website or Facebook Page to push your information, especially if you are not building the community effect that engages a conversation.

I guess it is ok if your whole goal is to build up SEO, but if that search does not lead to a conversation…what is the point? Just more noise in the world of the digital, social space. Another piece of technology and no community. Sometimes we have to step back and say, who do we want to connect with out there and how can we do this? Is it necessary to use a technology to connect if it is more purposeful to just go meet the person face-to-face.

I had a former student ask me, “I want to intern at one of the local (Greenville, SC) ad firms…do you know anyone at these groups?” I asked him which group is he interested…then he listed one or two. I asked him if he had contacted them and he responded saying he sent an email and received no response. He asked,”  what should I do next?” Hmm…it is more than just sending one email. It is more than just one chance with one piece of digital technology to illicit a conversation. It is more than just pushing ourselves on others. How about stepping away from what is comfortable, get away from behind the keyboard and find new ways to build a conversation and a community. To my former student, try calling and setting up an appointment, or offer to take someone out to lunch or even coffee. Then have a conversation.

Google Analytics Alternative