Friday, 14 March 2008

Me, Vloggers and Nalts' psychoanalysis!

What's our word for today? Engage. Don't just use new media, engage through new media. Shall I keep spelling it out? OK...don't just post videos on YouTube, engage with your audience (or the community) on YouTube.

Now there's more than one way to cook and egg and there's more than one way to engage. But for today we'll focus on that great little feature on YouTube - the comments.

One of the quickest ways to see if a video is really engaging is to see how many comments it generates. The quickest way to see whether the video owner wants to engage is to see if they acknowledge their viewers comments.

Now there are constraints of time; not every YouTuber can, or wants to, dedicate hours engaging online. But there's no excuse for those who never respond to comments left on their videos.

So here's an engaging little video, with plenty of comments on comments.

And here's me saying pretty much what I've said in this blog - just incase you weren't paying attention!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bebo SOLD - news just OUT!

Yeah, and good luck to it's new owners!

Perhaps you should hear my take on Bebo before continuing to read what will undoubtedly become a rant. I guess I'm just growing tired of seeing young people prostitute themselves with a digital camera. I'm all for posing but there is a difference between having a laugh and being provocative. Especially when I think half the profile images I see are from people who are either naive or wouldn't like the reality of living up to the image they portray.

But what about business. AOL gets Bebo for $850 million. It's a big player here in the UK - well among the kids it is. In my world Myspace is waning - and I mourn its passing - and Facebook is in the assendency. I have little love for Zukerberg's creation but it seems to be what my peers have chosen. And you can't socially network if you've got no one to connect with!

Perhaps the tweens and teens of Bebo have the purchasing power to propel profits, perhaps this is a good case of long-termism in an industry with increasing short product cycles. My observation, however, would be that the Bebo users are not here to buy, but rather to sell themselves. If Bebo are gonna generate those all-important click-thoughs they best be contacting the like of L'Oreal, Tigi or GHD for advertising!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Nalts is NOT this stupid!

Another fine video from Kevin Nalts. After yesterday's comments of advertising I thought this on old marketing versus online marketing raises some important questions. It places its finger perfectly on some of the sticking points people have when adapting between the two.

I take my hat off to his ability to do this kind of thing. It's nice to see him without a hat for once too!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Food for thought...

Yesterday's lunch was a 'Fully Loaded' meal from KFC. Why? Because every bus shelter between here and my office has a poster with a picture of one on it. I explained this to my brother. 'Funny, isn't that what they call advertising?!' was his reply.

It is. Still I was shocked by its effectiveness. The more I read about online advertising the more I here that savvy consumers are making it harder for desperate companies to monetise content. One article claimed the only area where online advertising is reaping rewards is in car advertising. Funny that - I once bought a car as a result of a pop-up ad!

KFC's poster is not clever. It's just a picture of a meal I know tastes good. Perhaps that's why it worked. Would it have worked as a pop-up? Maybe, but then I hate pop-ups so it'd have to be a seriously good one to stop me closing it almost instantly. Somehow I don't think I'd have watched it.

Is this a case of a gentle reminder winning over incessant shouting?

Sunday, 9 March 2008

YouTube University...only on YouTube!

I've just seen this from fallofautumndistro...

Need I say more? Only that I probably charge less than he does!

Seriously, while this is brilliant parody it never ceases to amaze me how many people struggle to understand the intricacies of YouTube. No one knows it all - although Nalts seems to have it pretty figured out and Renetto will tell you all the problems that need fixing! But the thing I've noticed is, almost without exception, people on YouTube are prepared to talk. They'll discuss the site, give you tips and predictions for where online video is going. So if you're feeling in need of some education just ask!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Wagging the Long Tail!

Last summer I, somewhat belatedly, read The Long Tail. Fantastic read. In fact a must read if you have any interest or involvement in online retail or distribution. I'm sure Chris Anderson's heart would be warmed by my story today...

On YouTube, predictably, catching up with the latest from my subscriptions. It's a day off so I don't overlook the 16 minute offering from Paul 'Renetto' Robinett.

A couple of minutes into this he mentions he used to be in a band. I knew that. He tosses out the name. I didn't know that. So while Renetto rambles on I Google. And I open up Amazon. There were 8 copies of 'Beautiful', The Walter Eugenes second album, available on the market place. There are now 7! Even before Renetto has wrapped up his inspirational piece-to-camera I've made my purchase. I leave him a comment letting him know. Within minutes he's acknowledged it.

I love the way this stuff works - I just hope I love his music!

But, then again, what's to lose? My wife's a successful 'marketplace trader' herself!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Saving Face[book]

I was on the train back from London tonight. I'd just witnessed Spurs depressing defeat in the UEFA Cup. However I'll spare you my thoughts on that. Instead I'll talk about something that caught my eye in the metro. Or, more precisely, someone. The ever be-sandled Mr Zuckerberg.

It seems that lucky young chap has climbed into Forbes Rich List - qualifying as Americas youngest billionaire. While he's still a long way off the top guns at $1.45bn he's just a few bucks off being able to afford YouTube. Imagine the scandel!

Bill Gates' plan to give away his fortune must be working because he's slipped a couple of places. With Zuckerberg on the up perhaps he'll also be able to replace Gates as the most reviled man in computers! Beacon was a great start and I'm sure it can't be too long until Facebook unveils public-relations-disaster-part-two.

You should never judge a book by its cover nor a man by his sandles but sometimes that's easier said than done!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Feeder - free but frustrating!

I've ranted about giving away free music before. If you want a good example of how not to do it look no further than this recent attempt by UK rock band Feeder.

Now I own several Feeder albums, have seen them in concert several times and have their posters on my living room wall - I guess that qualifies me as a sort of fan. But this annoyed me. Perhaps I'm the only one, and maybe all the positive feedback on their blog confirms that, but here is a message I sent them last night.

this stupid free download doesn't want to work! if you'd really like me to hear your cool new music why not just put it as a download from myspace? oh, cos you won't harvest my details for FeederSpam! yeah, I get it - except I never did get to hear this track cos it won't extract properly.i think you get my point ;)

This morning I got this reply...

You are the first person to say there is a problem ... please can you try again ?If it doesn't work still, please can you describe the problem ?I should add, we never send out spam via our mailing list, it's always important news which we think our fans would like to know!

I did try again. I got it to work. It's playing as I type - but I stand by my request for simplicity.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

No love for Bebo!

I hereby declare Bebo 'home of the shallow'!

Let me explain. All social networking sites have their quirks and idiosyncrasies. For every person desperate to write on a Facebook wall there's another who simply wants to leave a comment on MySpace. These both share the same function: communication. But what of the more banal, or arguably exploitive elements? Facebook has its gifts - a dollar for a clutch of pixels in a gaudy arrangement - but Bebo has 'love'.

In the realms of cyber communication what is less lovely than reducing 'show love' to a tiny red heart icon? Ok, so I know there is genuine abuse that happens online but this discussion is about how the majority engage. I'm seeing a generation grow up thinking they can bitch about each other in conversation but then get online and type 'ly' on the same person's profile and 'show love'. (They'll probably compliment the semi-pornographic photos too!)

There's nothing to be praised about people who rejoice in being vain or shallow. Perhaps the only consolation to those desperate to look cool amongst Bebo's scene kids and emos is that you can download free photo-editing software! But do you really want to be just another air-brushed androgyne flaunting your shallow existence to a leering world? I hope not!

So am I down on social networking? No. It's changed my life - but that's another story! My point is let's be careful where we look for love. Because I've got to say that so much of what I've seen on Bebo smacks way more of showing off than of showing love.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Is anyone even interested?!

"Is anyone even interested?"

That may not have been the exact words but that was the essence of it. I replied with a passionate defence of the opportunities new media brings but I was visibly losing the argument. Now I'm old enough to accept not being right, or not winning every debate, but surprised that my concession was to - apparently - the youngest person in the room!

I know that blogs and online video, podcasts and the finer points of social media are not everybody's cup of tea. They don't have to be. But there are far from inconsequential. In a world were our future is shaped as much by our corporate emotions as by any reliable facts and figures these elements of New Media can swiftly move from the sidelines to being key players in defining the path ahead. Old Media still has the upper hand in some areas - think the Northern Rock fiasco or the Mail's recent hyperventilating about plastic bags - but it was the internet that finally outed Harry's front line engagement in Afghanistan, thereby according him 'hero' status.

Perhaps it a personal choice, to embrace New Media or to ignore it. But, like burying one's head in the sand, the latter is not recommended!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Stream it...

Much has been said already about Sarah Meyers' exclusive that, the now Google funded, YouTube will unveil its own live streaming functionality this year. As vague news goes this is up there with the best of them. A broad concept and ten months of 2008 in which to make good on a throw-away comment. Hardly a strategic announcement!

But, IF they do deliver will it work? What YouTube has going for it over any other streaming start-up is consistent, and high, levels of traffic. As live streaming is time specific you want to know there are going to be people around to watch what you're broadcasting. For this reason alone I see no reason my YouTube won't dominate this area of online video by the end of 2008.