Sunday, 11 May 2008

A Tale of Two Albums!

I've ranted before that free music is often not worth the hassle. Today I got my hands on two albums in different circumstances.

A bit of late night surfing tipped me off that The Sunday Times were giving away a Moby compliation in today's edition. It was to advertise his upcoming album. This was obviously a more attractive proposition than the Prisonbreak DVD in the Daily Mail, which was piled up everywhere, while The Sunday Times was nowhere to be seen. (Heaven forbid I reveal my feelings on their comparative journalistic merits!) I had to visit three shops to find my copy.

But here's the funny thing. It's not free music because I paid £2 for a paper that'll be 95% unread. And I know I would have put that much effort in if I have been online searching for a download.

However I did score The Charlatans new album for free. I saw a Sky News story about the giveaway and a quick google found the Xfm site with a beautifully simple, no-stupid-registration-just-right-click-and-save-as downloadable album! It's playing now. Yes, it gets plus points for ease of access but I prefer the Moby!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Renetto makes his move!

This is the video we've all been waiting for. Renetto has given a name to his big idea. In fact he's gone one better than that. Two big ideas and, therefore, two names. Paul Robinett has managed to cast himself a love-him-or-hate-him character but I'll say this in his defence. He has passion. Meet him in person and he is a charismatic leader, a motivator, an inspiration. Now he will no-longer be YouTube bashing - let's hope YouTube finds a suitable replacement thorn-in-the-flesh! Instead his attentions are turned to creating Web 3.0!

I write all this because, at 11 minutes long, his video is only for the dedicated. But here's the names you should be looking out for:


Renetto writes: "Imagine a city alive with conversation...Alive with connection...Vibrant with voices from anywhere and everywhere...Stories you never dreamt you'd hear...Friends you never knew you'd know......Coming soon..."


Renetto writes: "Never surf the web alone...The future of the web is Social Surfing or...What will soon be known as...Sorffing...Coming soon..."

Ever since Paul began agitating on YouTube I've pondered my response. Do I agree with him? Would I follow someone like him away from the home of online video? Watching today I think I might. Times change and YouTube has certainly changed. Social media is so much more joined up and will only become more so. Watch his video and you'll see it's not histrionics. He's not spitting out the dummy; he's saying let's grow up and take this to the next level. And I'm inclined to think he's onto something good!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

When YouTube doesn't work...

This is not a post about the technical issues that occassionally beset the world's biggest video sharing site. I'm going to discuss why, given the vast quantity of daily traffic, it is still possible to upload videos to YouTube that get little or no views.

In the last two years I've uploaded literally hundreds of videos to YouTube. The most viewed has near-on a million views, the least viewed probably has five! This becomes an issue when you're uploading for a corporate channel, an issue that is compounded because in that instance you are usually just one cog in the wheel - and, inevitably, not the final decision maker.

Is it surprising that videos not made for YouTube often don't play well on YouTube? It shouldn't be. YouTube is a video hosting site, but it also blends mere technical functionality with social media capability and it's that aspect that drives the viral video successes.

What constitutes 'made for YouTube'? Here's a quick, non-exhaustive check list...

1: Be direct- speak to your viewer
2: Be conversational
3: Be brief - 5 minutes is ok, 3 minutes is better
4: Be topical - is anyone interested in what you're talking about?
5: Be tactical - be creative in how you tag, title and make responses

Monday, 5 May 2008

Unscientific research!

Want to know where people are hanging out online these days? Well the best way to find out is ask them!

Now, I did enough maths at school to know that it would be stupid to draw anything too conclusive from a bunch of random, un-controlled, responses but there are some trends. Have a look and consider the question: if I coud pick just three websites to convey my message to, what I want to be, a growing audience what would they be?

Friday, 2 May 2008

Oh the irony...

After yesterday's post is this hubris, a technical glitch or a simple misunderstanding?

I have not violated YouTube!

When you're a YouTube Partner you have the option to submit your videos for revenue sharing. The trade of is this: you may see some small financial return if your viewers avail themselves of the contextual advertising the mighty Google ad-engine provides, provided your content is squeaky clean.

This is a funny one because in many ways there is nothing wrong with YouTube demanding you only post videos that adhere to their terms of service. At the same time, scare stories surface all too frequently of users who have video removed which they maintain were 'clean' with no recourse. Partnership is both carrot and stick for good behaviour. By drawing the editor's attention to your work it you could be hastening its removal from the site.

YouTube likes its cloak of secrecy over all things Partner related but I'm sure I'm allowed to say have two channels covered by my Partnership agreement. One I use a lot, the other I post weekly updates about my weight and fitness activity on. A couple of nights back I decided it was time to submit these video to 'the Program'!

I'll confess it's scary braving the 'if your videos violate...' warning. You consider the prospect of your channel going dark, you check everything's properly backed-up, you hope! And about two days later you notice ads appearing next to your videos, pushing the nice banners you worked so hard on down the page. But at least you haven't violated YouTube!

(Want to know more? Zipster talks about the YouTube Partner beta. Yeah, he had a salary!)

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Global warming?

I'm sure I'm not alone in being inconsistant in my adoption of new technology. While I've thrown myself whole-heartedly at YouTube I've dragged my feet with Facebook. But everything is subject to change. In the aftermath of last night's Champion's League semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool I had a 'wall-to-wall' converstaion with Tom (tlg847 of YouTube Community Council fame!). This sudden, spontaneous, piece of real-time global interaction changed something.

This morning 'Matt is gradually warming to Facebook!' I've never posted a Facebook status before; funny, because I regularly change mine on MSN. With the growing interest in Twitter, and rival services, I see 'status' as being a great way to counter the curse of 'out of sight - out of mind.' It was Tom's 'status' that prompted me to start the conversation. Perhaps mine will provoke responses for those who've heard my anti-Facebook rants. So in the interests of transparency I felt I should share my belated conversion experience!