Category Archives: YouTube

Remembering Jeret Peterson

The sad news today from Park City, Utah brings memories of some work I did with a  client in Park City last year.

I was working with former Olympian, Sean Smith who, in a few days before he left for Vancouver, learned the ins and outs of sending in video podcasts from his phone. Online and off, he brought me up to speed about the different categories, and whom to watch. He would upload the videos and I would post them within minutes to the blog, for my client.

Jeret “Speedy” Peterson was a name that kept popping up as Sean was confident that the ‘Hurricane’ would certainly earn Jeret a medal. It did.

Below is a short clip of Sean’s excitement about the Speedy.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Peterson family. Your son was truly a legend!

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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Social Media, YouTube


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Digital media’s unpaved road

I get asked often how I would handle a situation in an organization that uses a smattering of digital media. The easy answer would be “It depends.”

Not to be facetious, but it not only depends on the passion and the inclination to wade into the confusing digital communication environment (using strategies around incorporating Slideshare, Twitpic, AudioBoo, MediaWiki, UStream etc).

It depends on the people on your team who have an appetite for this. Not everyone feels comfortable in this environment. I sometimes talk of one of the most cynical team members in an organization who has become a pro in using digital media. His concern (“I don’t need to know what someone is having for lunch” - a famous knock on Twitter users) was that it might be  a waste of time for him and the organization.

It helped that the organization thought differently, and it was my job to inspire him and others like him to take this unpaved road. Watch how Sean Smith, became a citizen reporter out of Vancouver, using nothing more than an Android phone. And yes, he began tweeting too, but not about his lunch menu!

Welcome to the discomfort zone!

If you’re in media relations or marketing, or even if you’re running a department that has nothing to do with PR, that road beckons. It’s still rugged, and may never be the smooth ‘superhighway’ we were once promised. But the traffic is building up.  No you don’t have to be a pro at producing videos, or writing blog posts. (That’s why citizen journalists have become such an essential part of the news cycle.) But you and your team do have valuable knowledge that’s worth sharing. “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department,” someone –perhaps Seth Godin–once noted. Ditto for PR and customer service. Ditto for content creation, and digital marketing communications.

Welcome to the unpaved road.

Stop worrying about the technology, and start thinking of participating.


Your World News Video Channel

I am a big user of UStream, and of course YouTube and Vimeo.



But did you know you could create your own ‘World News’ video channel?

Check it out here, and take a look at some of my videos here.

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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Social Media, World Events, YouTube



Anti-commercial on library throws ‘Spice’ on dry subject

Who would want to make a commercial to promote a library? Videos of city centers and golf courses have built-in stories that are easy to tap into. But a library? They end up being like this! Or, for heaven’s sake, this –with slogans and beauty shots devoid of a story line!

So this commercial, which borrows heavily from the effects we have come to expect in Old Spice genre, is a lot of fun. OK, maybe they could have not been so liberal about stealing the copy approach ( “look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man…”) but I guess that’s what genius is, sometimes,”standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Shameless rip-off, or brilliant homage to a meme before it burns out?

Not everything this group does is that way, though. Take a look at this video on Roman citizenship, that is another way of spicing up a dry subject, even with with the standard Professor talking head.


Yesterday’s Webinar on YouTube

Gary Campbell and I shot this a video on the morning of the webinar, to use it before the event, and also as the content for the channel we created during the session.

Obviously there was a lot we would have liked to fix –lighting, for instance– but this was itself a demo of how to produce a video with a short deadline, with minimal editing.

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Posted by on August 27, 2010 in Public Radius, Workshops, YouTube


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Passport to ‘Digital Citizenship’ Webinars next week

Really happy to announce a series of Web conferences that I will be starting next week for the U.S Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Webinar on social media - US Embassy, Colombo Sri LankaThis follows a digital video conference I conducted last year for the U.S.E, in association with the US State Department.

These six workshops –Webinars– are designed to be more interactive; the majority of participants will be at one location in Colombo. They were selected based on their application and response to a survey on the state of social media in Sri Lanka.

We are covering the usual suspects: Blogs, social networking, micro-blogging, video sharing and social search.  The attendees are from diverse backgrounds: advertising, corporate communications, government, web-based businesses, management, universities, media and non-profits.

Presenters: To make these sessions more focused and relevant I have brought on board some top practitioners to co-present with me. They are:

Dan Wool, a corporate communications and PR consultant for APS, a large electric utility in Arizona. Dan co-founded one of the world’s top blogs on public relations, marketing and social media.

Steve England, Chief Technology Office of MobileSoft, an advocate of on-demand digital printing who advises large tech companies and international advertising agencies on interactive marketing.

Gary Campbell, a communications manager at Arizona State University, a former print journalist turned digital, who has led numerous university training sessions in social media.

I will also bring in a few ‘surprise’ guests who will pop-in with some real-world examples of how they are using a particular strategy in their communication!


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Quotes for the week ending 8th May, 2010

“In the Future, we’ll all have 15 minutes of privacy.”

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford, on a post about Facebook’s latest move to connect to the rest of the web

“No one is laughing in Arizona. Do your job and secure the border.”

Governor Jan Brewer, in a YouTube video aimed at president Obama, who made a joke about the immigration Bill that Brewer signed into law.

“A lot of great stories are hidden within the public”

Manesh Nesaratnam, Malaysian film director of a movie, Your Grandfather’s Road, which is being crowd-sourced.

“That QR code on the left will even take your smartphone to my Twitter feed. And if you really liked this story, you can re-Tweet too.”

Kit Keaton, whose column in Fast Company, features this Quick Response code.

“A nastygram.”

Shel Holtz, referring to the letter Apple, which sent a nine-year-old girl a cease-and-desist letter after she suggested enhancements to the iPod.

“You gotta give him credit for his media manipulation skills.”

Pat Elliot, commenting on a post I wrote for ValleyPRBlog, about the value Sheriff Joe Arpaio holding a press conference to announce he is NOT running for governor.

We are heartened by news reports that J.S.Tissainayagam appears to have been pardoned…”

CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) in a statement on the presidential pardon for journalist J. S. Tissanayagam in Sri Lanka


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Does Tiger Woods have a story to tell?

You’ve probably see the web buzzing about Tiger Woods and Nike – the video has gotten some 600,000 views.

I’m no fan of video –especially ‘ads’ — as a means of working out a credibility issue.  Seen too many of those. Face to camera, a remorseful look, a hit of a tear etc may be great, or even necessary when a CEO or leader  is forced to answer to people, and address questions he/she had dodged. Not so credible, but it’s the formula. Clinton, Spitzer, Sanford, McGwire, Bryant …

But when it’s followed by your sponsor’s logo –in this case the ubiquitous Nike swoosh –what does that say about the sincerity of the exercise?

The cynical part of me says, so what? It’s risky. But it’s not as risky as what got him into this spot in the first place.

Maybe he does have a story to tell, but he doesn’t need his sponsor, nor his diseased dad to create a narrative.

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Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Disruptive, Hype, YouTube


Quotes for the week ending 6 March 2010

“This may be one of the largest experiments ever conducted on the web.”

Ben Parr, at Mashable, in the introduction of auto-captioning to YouTube videos

“Blogging success is a slow march, not a mad dash.”

Jason Baer, at Convince and Convert, on the 10 key success metrics for a blogging strategy

“The idea that content is king is true, but some people miss out on reading that great content because there is nothing interesting in the headline that represents it.”

Alex Fraiser, in a post about headline techniques for blog posts.

“Every defective part is like a dead body…To figure out what killed it, we need to duplicate the crime.”

John Smith, a member of GM’s Red X team of engineers who study bad auto parts

“So What”, you say? So there are no pilots or even air traffic controllers to guide us, what does this mean? In the Web 2.0 skies, organizations are gliders who must reacting to their current environment.”

Rick Spratley, at the Employee Engagement Network

“We live in an age in which ideas and arguments fly across the globe almost instantly … Assaults on those rights, like “libel tourism,” tell us just how rare, and fragile, they are.”

Editorial in Arizona Republic on foreign nationals suing Americans for libel in foreign and US courts.


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With so much social media, why a Census Super Bowl spot?

So many Super Bowl ads, so little attention to go around. I’ve always been saying these ads are a total waste of time. Do you really care if the Clysedales didn’t appear in a spot? (Apparently we do. They polled that question -and created a Wikipedia entry for them. Really!)

So, speaking of polling, I have to say that the $130 million Census campaign –never mind the cost of making the Bowl ad– is worth a second look. Especially with the cost of  running the ad being in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.

“We’re advertising again,” the Census chaps say, observing what we all know that the Bowl is “rare, in that viewers are just as tuned in to see the commercials as the program itself.”

And yes, there’s the media-relations effect: Run the ad, get editorial comment. The famous carrot that says viewers will rush online once they watch the ad, because it that’s how TV –practically on life-support, tethered to the Net –works today.

But after they dispense with the popular wisdom about buzz and multiplier effects (perhaps after so many meetings with its agency, DDB) they note in true Census-boys style that “If just one percent of the folks watching the Super Bowl had their minds changed to mail back a census form they would have otherwise ignored, it helps save the taxpayers between $25-30 million in expensive follow up costs to collect these forms later.”


Translation: Watch ads, adjust your attitude toward being asked personal questions, save the country a boatload of cash, help us pay our agency.

I get that, Department of  Census. No need to repeat this point about 3 times in your blog and press releases.

Yes, I mentioned a blog. This is where this campaign  gets interesting because the obscenely expensive ad is supported with richer slices of content, some of which is embedded in social media channels. I like the fact that the Director of the Census is blogging, that there’s a Road Tour Blog and lots of space devoted to answering the questions people ask that make of break a census. The Flash site may be a tad too addy, but it documents stories, a la Story Corps, of ordinary people. The YouTube channel has plenty of video outtakes. The Flickr site has snapshots of an America few of us see every day. This one on left is supposedly at a Lutheran Church in Richmond, California. Thai dancers! The 5,000 fans on Facebook must mean something. and there’s Twitter just in case you miss all other channels.

So with all of this content so well thought out, is the cost of a Super Bowl ad really worth it? I liked the ad, but the greatest ad is not worth being tossed into a space filled with products and services that only seem to lust for eyeballs and water-cooler talk.

There are plenty of other ways to get buzzy, even if that was the objective. As Erik Qualman observes, why not use Facebook and Twitter to GET people to answer those darned 10 simple census questions, and not be entangled in “a $340 million boondoggle“? Because that not feasible, why not use social media to incentivize people to fill out their forms. If the media-as-a-repeater argument is important, why not let 300 million people start something that the media will talk about. (Rather than feed this controversy.)

Why not start with those 2,035 followers on Twitter!

As the character in the ad says at the end (somewhat perplexed) “Absolutely!”


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