Wednesday, 28 November 2007

ICE - it's why we're here

My YouTube video about ICE!

Pedants beware!

Is it wrong to be riled at talk of podcasts when downloads is what is most certainly meant, to choke when blogs are spoken of although they are without a doubt referring to online video? Should there be grace within a realm where the rules are barely - and rarely - written and nuances so easily lost on a novice?

The democratisation of print let the masses publish with concept or cognisance of leading or kerning; unleashed without respect for the dark art of typography. All was not lost but many a retina was scared in the process. Now New Media brings the same accessibility to audio and video production, and with it the chance for the uninitiated to meddle - and muddle - with the terminology, as they grapple with form and functionality.

I should not rant, for I might still be numbered amongst them; those still embracing the new world of new media. Yet in that embrace we can find clarity. And so let each ‘thing’ be called for what it is.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

ICE itch and the Scratch-Factor

What are people looking for online? I was talking about this with some Christian leaders the other day. One commented the church should be scratching where people are itching. Now that's nothing I hadn't heard before but the more I've thought about it the more challenging it's become.

It's too easy to think 'how can we add a little scratch-factor to what we're doing?' That misses the point. We should be asking 'where are people itching and how can we scratch that?' Thinking like this seriously challenges how we communicate.

Online video is exploding. Everyone from advertisers to amateur pop stars want to use this platform to catapult themselves into the spot light. It is a new platform, the rules are not defined, the opportunities are huge but online video is not here to bring church platforms into the spotlight. Churches need do discover how to scratch before jumping in and doing their thing.

So what's the itch? From my eighteen months of watching online video I offer this suggestion. ICE: Instruction / Conversation / Entertainment. Now in order of priority that should read ECI but as that's less memorable let's explore the ICE itch.

backstage / behind the scenes / making of / secrets of
diet / fitness / health
explanations / how to's / tutorials

belonging / community
challenges / discussion / opinion
personal interest
shared values

celebrity gossip
comedy / fun / humour
comment / controversy / news / opinion
future / gadgets / insight / tech
games / machinima
horror / shock
movie clips / trailers
risqué / sex / titillation
sensation / the weird and wonderful
tv shows

ICE should be our starting point if we are serious about scratching. But do we understand how our message is woven through these things? And do we have the confidence to do something new?

Monday, 26 November 2007

Should I, shouldn't I?

Thanks to those nice people at for turning me onto today's hot find. However, I'm in two minds as to whether to confess. I'm only doing so because it got me out of a miser's problem!

Ever tried to download a YouTube video? It's not that straightforward - not if you don't want to pay money. Converters I've found will give you a flash file but then you need a flash player to play it. What if you want to edit it? Then, in my case, I need to convert it to a Windows movie file. A demo version of a ImToo Zune converter will do files under five minutes for free. So I was stuck when I wanted to convert a movie pushing the six minute mark.

Enter! So I don't quite understand why I want a another interface to consume videos I'd happily watch (probably perfer to watch) on YouTube. However the simple download function, with options for Windows or Mac compatible output is a winner. I've not pushed the limits but my six minute file is now converted. And the best bit...yes, it's free!

Nintendo - not just for kids!

I'll say that the poster caught my eye as I cycled past. That's my shameless attempt to get some zero-carbon emissions kudos. In reality, my wife had the car! But back to the poster.

I've posted before about how technology is for everyone, not just young people. It seems Nintendo are keen to make the same point. Their latest poster campaign in the UK features the likes of Nicole Kidman, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Phillip Schofield, Fern Britton, Zoe Ball, and Johnny Ball playing Brain Training, and other Nintendo titles, on the DS. It caught my eye...and I'm younger than all of them!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Do unto others...

'Do to others as you'd have them do to you' is derived from the second of two great commands Jesus gave. It being the end of National Anti-Bullying week in the UK I was speaking to some oung people along those lines tonight. But then my thoughts drifted to online video - betraying a shameful obsession?

There's a big difference between the videos I like to watch and the videos I like to make. That may explain why many of the videos I watch get far more views than the videos I make! Is it all about the views? No...unless you are serious about communicating a message. If my YouTubing is purely recreational then my hit-and-miss production style is fine. However, if I'm serious about communicating perhaps I should pay more attention to why I like certain video producer and analysis how I apply the disciplines they do.

So what's the difference? Visit my channel and you'll find a selection of random self-indulgence with, perhaps, the odd spark of genius! Visit redstateupdate or MarkDayComedy or PoliticoPlaybook and you'll most likely see the formula that's brought them success.

Friday, 23 November 2007

If they're that stupid...!

'Youngsters Unaware Of Web Vetting' shouts the headline, as if pronouncing some great technological injustice. The reality? It's merely describing a general lapse in common sense. Alongside the myth that the web is anonymous lives the lie that you can delete things! Once published you have commited your thoughts and actions - in word, photo or video - to the collective consciousness, probably for the rest of earth's existence.

This isn't a problem if you've nothing to be ashamed of, but who's really in that position? Sky's article talks of the potential issues this raises for university or job applicants. Those mundane examples have nothing of the allure of 'seeing' Obama's checkered drug history or the moment when Bill did not inhale! As the implications of greater transparency grip society we have to choose: judge as we would not like to be judge or reassess our appeciation of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Making video? READ THIS!

Dan Ackerman Greenberg of the Comotion group posted his Secret Strategies behind 'viral' videos on TechCrunch. When I checked, the comments seemed to be questioning the wisdom of such a post.

But if you're serching for that elusive viral video at whatever means his list is as good a place as any to start. Remember 'all's fair in love and war' and we live in an age that loves online video! Have I used any of these 'tricks'? That'd be telling. (One look at my account would show I don't have nearly enough views to be using them!) However, if you want video success know that optimising and cheating are different - even if only slightly!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Out there with the Feminist Mormon Housewives!

Here's a hilarious example of how our media can turn up in the most unexpected of places. I made a video for Remembrance Sunday. It had 'honours' from Youtube - like '#1 - Top Favorites (This Month) - Nonprofits & Activism - United Kingdom'. But sure honours come a go quickly. I checked back on it today and saw it had been linked from a couple of sites.

I clicked one of the links to find myself somewhere I didn't belong! The Feminist Mormon Housewives hadn't embedded my video in their blog but by embedding a related YouTube video mine was appearing on their site once the other one had finished playing. And people had clicked to watched my video.

So what do we learn today?

1. There is such a thing as a Feminist Mormon Housewife
2. You have no idea where a YouTube video will end up

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Don't say that!

I recently turned 33 - making me the same age as Jesus, but that's not my point! A friend caught me repeated citing my age as an excuse for things.

'I'm too old to...'

'Don't say that, you sound like you're having an early mid-life crisis!'

I'm not...but I have started to watch my language. Old age is about feeling old and if it's true we're as old as we feel let's not feel it too much!

'I'm too old for this technology stuff' is - respectfully - an excuse. Consider Peter, aka Geriatric1927, who at 80 has become the internet grandad. One year on YouTube has openned a role as an age awareness ambassador, including an invite to the World Economic Forum at Davos. And let's not overlook his becoming a pop recording artist with The Zimmers.

He's not too old. You might be too disinterested, apathetic or unbelieving but you are not too old. Having removed those excuses, what's stopping you from embracing new technology?

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Content ot Context?

I heard someone say - and I wish I could remember who - 'context is king' in our age of digital distribution. Perhaps. But 'content' hasn't given up its crown completely. New media provide a vehicle and a place to say something but you still need something to say.

'Embracing the new world of new media' is my tag on this blog. This new world only exists because there are 'real world' thoughts and ideas to be communicated. New Media advances are not an end in themself - not in my book anyway. They may give you a 'context' to talk in but if you have nothing to say you'll quickly find youself out of context.

So do something. This is your content. And then you just might find people listening.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

We Deliver!

"As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool."
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

Promises are dangerous things. I love this advice against rash commitments we cannot deliver on. But we do need to make promises and we do need to deliver. This applies as much to people supplying technology as to those of us who use technology to engage with our audience. So while all the content of this clip may not apply to you, listen to what futurist Patrick Dixon has to say about fulfulling promises.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Things you can't do by email...

Doubtless this could be a big post but, fear not, I'm going to present you with an inexhaustive list of one! Why? Becuase this morning I returned from ordering the new Mini Cooper Clubman to discover this on my doormat...

I've been a new Mini owner for six years - a relationship that I can trace back to a pop-up add on the SkyNews site. From the beginning Mini's advertising design and ingenuity has been a major attraction. Funny then, that having just decided to buy back into the brand I should receive the most unique piece of direct mail ever.

Email can do many things, but it can't send you an unfortgettable ping-pong paddle!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

My Magic Phone

The Apple iPhone launched in the UK last night. My wife went down to the local O2 store at 6.02 hoping to collect some promised freebies. They hadn't arrived. Yes they had the iPhone but even the enthusiastic sales assistant couldn't convince her to be excited about it. Her impression was it is big (not in a good way) - and there were no freebies!

Which brings me to my point. Earlier this week I watched some videos from Google. One asked a bunch of young school children what their 'magic phone' would do. There answers were interesting but very different to mine. My 'magic phone' would make and receive calls, surf the internet and show video. Nothing different there. But here's the difference: it would have no usage limits and the phone would cost me nothing. No buying an expensive handset and no monthly payments.

How do you monetise a service like that? I have few ideas but let's not let reality get in the way of a good idea. Just think about how popular it could be!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

How YouTube works - drama edition

This is a 'day in the life' collection of videos that shows the community aspect of YouTube...

Act 1: Enter Oprah, carelessly

[embedding disabled by request] so you'll have to go find it!

Act 2: Renetto responds, passionately

Act 3: Talk talks, cheekily

Act 4: Community collaborates, educationally

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Technological pragmatism...we can but should we?

I picked up a book called Five Big Ideas by Mal Fletcher. I've not finished it so don't read this as a review - or an endorsement! - but the first ideas he addresses is Technological Pragmatism. He questions the common premise that because we can do something we should do it. It's right to question.

Sometimes it's also right to do the things we can do because we can do them. Today I was at a conference that was supposed to be webstreaming to a select group of satellite centres. At least one hadn't realised this service was availble to them. Why? Because although conference streaming is easily done it sometimes isn't for a confused assortment of reasons. If it was simply the case that every conference was streamed people would anticipate the service. When it's here and there, open assess and then secret access users get lost or left behide, so everybody loses out.

We can but should we? Let's answer the question and then be clear and consistent.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

ROCKETBOOM on Social Networks...

Rocketboom put out a great video podcast - with many of their videos also available, as you can see, on YouTube. Here's their up-to-the-minute take on where Social Networking is at.

When FREE MUSIC isn't worth it!

I wasted time tonight. That wouldn't be such a problem if i had time to waste. The distraction was the lure of free music. My iTunes is populated by free - legally - downloaded music so I rarely miss a chance to add to my collection. However that may change.

My new iPod Video Nano - thanks family! - has seen me download a few favourite tunes in return for some hard earned cash. This is quick and you get exactly what you want. Better than a hour lost downloading music, music I'll probably never listen to, just because it's being given away. Besides the attached strings means my inbox will be flooded with emails about bands I have no interest in. Consider my music acquisition policy offically reviewed!

But if you just must get your hands on some free music you find some at and a solitary new track at

Monday, 5 November 2007

Who are you?

It seems like an obvious question but can you give it a simple answer? Your answer my give your name, it might describe your job function or even some of your traits or characteristics. Now refine the question, putting it in the context of who you are when you type a blog or film yourself for YouTube - or whatever your favorite new media interaction is.

Are you real? Believable? Because your credibility here won't come from your name, and probably not from your job function, it'll come from you. (If you reading this and you are a genuine household name that last statement doesn't apply!) You need to know who you are so you can show people who you are. Be yourself. Don't act. The internet chews up and spits out frauds much like God promises to do with the lukewarm!

Conclusion: unreal, lukewarm new media is as attractive as vomit.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

How Tom stopped peeping!

Tom is everybody's friend. Well in the world of MySpace he is unless, like me, you deleted him! It seems that him and Mark, who doesn't add himself as your friend when you sign up to Facebook, are causing something of a surprising change online.

This week TIME put out an article called Facebook: More Popular Than Porn. It states that, in the US, more 18-25s are spending time on social networks than on adult sites. It offers a few suggestions as to why. I'll add one it didn't

When I logged into MySpace tonight I girl whose name I can't remember wanted to be my friend. Like so many others she was new to myspace, didn't understand it but had a webcam - oh, and she thought I was cute. Why do all these friend requests have exactly the same body text? (rhetorical question!) The porn industry hasn't overlooked the success of social networking. But perhaps it hadn't banked on how much people would prefer to be titillated by the provocative posing of their online freinds!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Thoughts of Excellence

Excellence. Apart from the word goading me to shout 'excellent' in a Wayne's World style it's got me thinking. I've got a meeting next week about video blogging. So what make's excellent video blogs? The camera and the lighting quality? The set and the style of the blogger? What they say or the tone of their voice? Or is it the fact they say something, anything...that fact they just keep putting our videos?

What I do know is excellence must not be confussed with perfection. Perfection is that elusive quality with the power to stall any project, break any budget and kill any creativity. And in video blogging perfection is an unnecessary aim. In a medium with a topical lifespan of a few days there's little point in striving for high art. You'll deliver your masterpiece just in time to see the back of an online community already on to the next thing.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Becoming agnostic!

I just saw this video and the phrase at the end struck a chord. We must become 'channel agnostic' - delivering content to people how they want to recieve it.

The Economist is a fantastic weekly read that I highly recommend. Of course you could visit and save yourself the cover price! Although, can you browse a website in the bath?

I watch BeetTV on Youtube. That's where this video came from. Andy Plesser puts out a fascinating array on business tech content so check it out!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Make the music - it'll sell the T-shirts

I was part of a discussion about communication strategy earlier today when I stumbled on an analogy. I liked it, so I thought I'd document it here. We were discussing how 'church' can sell it's products and services. My thought turned the the music industry.

Band's make music. That's what makes and band a band. Bands also make t-shirts. That's where bands make their money. Fans buy t-shirts. But why?

I recently bought t-shirts with printed designs from Primark, they cost £3 each. I've bought t-shirts from gigs for as much as £20. Are the worth the extra £17? Not on the physical value - or even the design merit - of the the product. It's the association, buying into the band identity, that makes me dig deeper than I know is sensible too.

The 'church' problem is trying to sell the T-shirts. You'll never convince people they're great quality or killer designs - because they're probably not. But write some great music and put on an awesome show and the T-shirts will sell themselves.

Let's not forget to make the music. If 'church' lived the life it should in a way that showed people not only would lives be changed but people would be queuing at the merchandise table!

To understand more of where the music industry is going read this article aboutgiving music away and this one about Madonna ditching her record label - both from the Times.