Talking with Danny Kim

9232129A-9EBC-4367-A48A-4578F3A24717.jpgOne of the highlights on my trip to keynote the IDG "Next Generation Marketing" conference in Seoul, South Korea was having an opportunity to stop by the Fleishman-Hillard office (my employer) and meet our team there. I presented the same keynote to our internal group and was pleased to see a lot of nodding heads around the conference room. These ideas are truly global!

As a wrap up to my day, the team invited in one of South Korea's top bloggers, Danny Kim. Danny is a published author, tech blog-father and all around great guy. Our conversation varied from blogging experiences to PR pitches to presidential elections. Here is the video that the fine folks in the office put together with some of the highlights. I hope you enjoy.

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HR in the age of social media

iStock_000001943264XSmall.jpgI am far from an HR specialist, but I often see companies who are struggling to adjust to the age of social media. On the flip-side, I see a few companies who understand this shift and take advantage of the possibilities.

We're operating in a difficult economy, surrounded by a shifting, unsure world. HR practices of yesterday are not possible to maintain. Leaks happen, employees are building personal brands and creating content that is (like it or not) related to your company.

As challenging as this is, it also is an unprecedented time to use social media to engage and acquire the best talent in the world. It takes a clear strategy, a solid focus on what works and the follow through and commitment to make it work.

Here are some successful, and unsuccessful lessons from social media. What would you add?

ON VIDEO

Don't create a staged, inauthentic video that makes you look silly (I'm talking to you Bank of America)

Don't post a video that you wouldn't want to have used against you for the rest of your agency's life (Agency.com Subway pitch aka "When we roll we roll big")

Do create a video that allows people to see who you are, how you operate and do it in an authentic way (One of my favorite videos from Connected Ventures will either implore you to run away or apply immediately)

Picture 9.pngDo give the world an insight into your culture using the tools of the trade (I always enjoy the Critical Mass Always in Beta site which evolves as they need it. Through video, photography, new applications, Twitter and more they engage their customer and recruiting audiences in an authentic way.)

ON TWITTER

Don't think that people who you are laying off/disciplining/promoting/hiring/etc. will keep quiet, don't think their peers won't find out from Twitter first. Once it hits, the message (right or wrong) spreads very quickly.

Here are some layoff announcements on Twitter:

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Do be proactive, honest and open (Zappos is a great model for this. They missed some funding and the CEO sent a Twitter message linking to a blog post with more info. Some employees made a video to help people cheer up.)

Here is the original message from Tony, the Zappos CEO. Note, you could see all of their customer and employee reactions in realtime at twitter.zappos.com

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I could go on and on with other platforms, but this should get the conversation boing. How are you using social media for HR? It's has the potential to be an amazing sales tool or it could be a repellant for new talent. Would you know? Are you listening and engaging?

Let me hear what you think!

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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Sean Hyun Wook Park, Head of Youtube Asia Pacific

4CC2178E-2343-4B36-84D6-63788A873D83.jpgSean presented "It's all about video" to the IDG Next Generation Marketing conference. Sean heads Youtube for the APAC region.

Key Takeaways:


  • Youtube follows in a pattern similar to that of TV 50 years ago
  • YouTube's audience is distributed evenly between ages 18 and 55+ (+/- 4%)
  • The site has 22 localized versions around the world
  • Youtube growing very quickly in Korea, gaining significant market share
  • Marketing videos are moving from online to offline advertising when successful
  • The lines between advertising and content are blurring
  • Marketers need to increase awareness, affinity and advocacy and video is helping to do that
  • Video provides content that increases engagement through info-tainment using the community
  • Content loaded onto the site can be a test market for marketers
  • Authenticity is key
  • Marketers need to create, promote, scale, engage and nurture content on Youtube
  • Monitoring the conversation allows marketers to react in real time (ex. Tiger Woods walking on water, see below)
  • Ideas come from everywhere, companies need to work with consumers to drive new ideas
  • The community continues the conversation by adapting and recreating
  • Need to track all of these touch points

Tiger walks on water:


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Making Microsoft more personal

If you haven't seen the new Microsoft ad staring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, here it is. I think if you were Microsoft and were trying to become more personal and less corporate, this is a good step in that direction.

So, what are your thoughts? Is this a better move to take on Apple and HP head-to-head? Is this too offbeat for you? Does it connect you more with the brand or do you feel the same? Vote below.


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Inside//Out: Cuil

cuil_logo.pngThe launch of Cuil (pronounced like "cool") hit the RSS readers and tech news with a bang recently. Despite the horrible name that nobody knows how to pronounce (you would think they didn't want any word-of-mouth traffic) and the lack of obvious "beta" status, the new search engine on the block does have some redeeming qualities.

Most importantly, Cuil does not collect user data to refine results instead looking at the context of the result set. Cuil's topical categories and filtering options are handy and the fact that it is not weighted by a mysterious algorithm (like Google's Pagerank) give it a different set of results. Time will tell if it is better overall. Take a peak at the following video overview.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are a few stats that look at the huge uptick and subsequent recoil in attention to the service.

Take this graph from Bill Tancer's blog that looks at Cuil's fading marketshare of visits after a strong lift in the upfront.

AF6D1F4F-9C9B-4DCA-91D8-68EE042A86F4.jpg

Bill's data is backed up by this Compete.com look at daily traffic attention.

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Differentiators:


  • Does not collect personal data for search result optimization
  • Uses context of the results to refine set
  • Different layout including handy sub-categories and topic sorting

So what do you think?


  • Is there room for change in search?
  • Do you switch search engines or stick with one? (Take the T//M reader poll in the right column!)
  • Is there innovation happening in search?

Let me hear your thoughts.


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Video week day 4.5; pioneers and visionaries

As I prep the final video installment in video week here on the blog I wanted to share some shining examples of video at its best. The following should serve as examples of what to consider when you look at the power of video and what it brings to the table from an informational, branding and education point of view. Enjoy.

Gary Vaynerchuk - Wine Library TV
If Gary doesn't make you want to get up and create video content then you may be hopeless. His enthusiasm is off the charts, his knowledge of wine is incredible and the content follows suit. He has created an empire in the wine industry, his posts average 200-300 comments and people love him. His honesty and authenticity should serve as role models for us all.

Ask a Ninja
Yes this is more comedic, but these guys have created a character, a loyal following and a merchandise business to back up the demand.

BlendTec - Will It Blend
Will It Blend is one of the best examples of a company realizing the potential of the video space, choosing to fully engage in a valuable way and letting the conversation happen organically. BlendTec makes a line of high-end, powerful blenders. They're so powerful that you can blend everything from a leaf rake to a crowbar to an iPhone. They stay extremely relevant by looking at trends in social media and creating content around it. When Weezer's "Pork and Beans" video took off on YouTube, BlendTec created a video.

BMW - BMW Films
This is from a few years ago, but BMW's creation of webisodes to promote their cars in the format of short films took the Web by storm. This video featuring thier M5 sedan and Madonna was the most popular. It's engaging, showcases the product and is absolutely memorable.

BMW - GINA concept car
Not to harp on BMW, but they absolutely grasp the power of video. While most companies hide their innovations and forward thinking, BMW uses video to position themselves as thought leaders and true innovators. Check out this video featuring their new concept car, GINA. Do you hide your innovations or showcase them?

These are just a few examples, but I hope they bring you inspiration in your thinking about video as a viable, powerful medium.

What companies are doing video that you enjoy or get value from? Let me know!

If you missed the first videos in the series you can find them here:


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Video week day 4; distribution


[Note: If you can't see the video that is right up here ^, don't worry! Just click back to the post and you will be able to see it just fine.]

Distribution of content is one of the most potentially overwhelming areas of video creation. Many people talk about content overload in today's information economy, but information distribution is an equal challenge. Putting content in front of the largest potential audience takes time and energy.

Picture 16.pngFortunately for us, services like TubeMogul exist to help ease the burden. TubeMogul allows you to upload one file, one title, one description and one set of tags and feed them out to 12+ different video sites with one click. This process used to take me hours to complete, going to each video site, uploading the file and entering the information.

855FB664-CE29-434D-AEFC-1D661EB49595.jpgWhen you're creating video content, alternate distribution points should be on your mind. I use a podcast file hosting service called Libsyn to host my video files and create the podcast RSS feed that I use with my iTunes podcast (feel free to subscribe).

Finally, I upload the video into Facebook. This hits my friends and peers that use the service to keep track of what I have going on. More and more commentary has been coming back through Facebook over the past couple of months.

Other video hosting opportunities abound in different niche sites out there. Everyone is looking for quality content and you should be looking for quality editors.

Previous topics:

Upcoming topics include:


  • Thursday: How and where I distribute the videos
  • Friday: Reader questions

And remember, tomorrow I will answer any questions that you have. To stay in the theme of the week it would be excellent if you provided your questions in video (either on Facebook or on YouTube) and I will edit them in. I will, as always, accept any questions you have by email or by commenting on this post.

So start thinking and let me know what's on your mind. I can't wait to hear from you!


Download the Techn//Marketer podcast here!To help you stay on top of what is happening in social media, mobile and new marketing you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Stay informed and get access to new videos first.

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Video week day 3; editing


[Note: If you can't see the video that is right up here ^, don't worry! Just click back to the post and you will be able to see it just fine.]

Once you have captured your video (either from a camera or from a software program like iShowU) you need to edit it down and add any final touches that you want. iMovie is the program that I use for my editing, but there are many solutions out there. These drag-and-drop systems make it very user friendly and the quality of the transitions and titles make the end product look professional.

Previous topics:

Upcoming topics include:


  • Thursday: How I edit and produce the final product
  • Thursday: How and where I distribute the videos
  • Friday: Reader questions

And remember, on Friday I will answer any questions that you have. To stay in the theme of the week it would be excellent if you provided your questions in video (either on Facebook or on YouTube) and I will edit them in. I will, as always, accept any questions you have by email or by commenting on this post.

So start thinking and let me know what's on your mind. I can't wait to hear from you!


Download the Techn//Marketer podcast here!To help you stay on top of what is happening in social media, mobile and new marketing you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Stay informed and get access to new videos first.

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Video week day 2; video tutorials


[Note: If you can't see the video that is right up here ^, don't worry! Just click back to the post and you will be able to see it just fine.]

This video answers the most popular question (by far) that I get about my videos, how I do my video guided tutorials. You may laugh when you see how easy it is with my pieced-together, DIY solution. But hey, it works.

This has a number of other implementations that you may find useful for your business including, but not limited to:


  • Distance learning
  • Guided software tutorials
  • Archived presentations
  • Recorded FAQ responses

Previous topics:

Upcoming topics include:


  • Wednesday: How I edit and produce the final product
  • Thursday: How and where I distribute the videos
  • Friday: Reader questions

And remember, on Friday I will answer any questions that you have. To stay in the theme of the week it would be excellent if you provided your questions in video (either on Facebook or on YouTube) and I will edit them in. I will, as always, accept any questions you have by email or by commenting on this post.

So start thinking and let me know what's on your mind. I can't wait to hear from you!


Download the Techn//Marketer podcast here!To help you stay on top of what is happening in social media, mobile and new marketing you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Stay informed and get access to new videos first.

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Video week day 1; equipment and software


[Note: If you can't see the video that is right up here ^, don't worry! Just click back to the post and you will be able to see it just fine.]

As I mention in the video I use the built-in camera on my Mac laptop for most of my video work and I use iMovie on the Mac for editing. The reason that I mention Mac is that everything is included out of the box. It's extremely easy to use for beginners and the quality of the end results is fantastic. It's a great setup for the novice and you can easily scale up over time.

I also supplement the video work with an HD camera and a Flip video camera that I take with me on trips and to conferences. My mic is a pretty heavy-duty podcasting rig that runs through an M-Audio USB pre-amp. Stay tuned for more!

Upcoming topics include:


  • Tuesday: How I shoot my video tutorials (the most frequently asked question that I get)
  • Wednesday: How I edit and produce the final product
  • Thursday: How and where I distribute the videos
  • Friday: Reader questions

And remember, on Friday I will answer any questions that you have. To stay in the theme of the week it would be excellent if you provided your questions in video (either on Facebook or on YouTube) and I will edit them in. I will, as always, accept any questions you have by email or by commenting on this post.

So start thinking and let me know what's on your mind. I can't wait to hear from you!


Download the Techn//Marketer podcast here!To help you stay on top of what is happening in social media, mobile and new marketing you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Stay informed and get access to new videos first.

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Video week on Techno//Marketer


[Note: If you can't see the video that is right up here ^, don't worry! Just click back to the post and you will be able to see it just fine.]

I use a lot of video on this site to help educate and inform you, my community. Due to that fact I get a lot of questions about video from production to editing. Next week on this blog I am going to produce a series of posts and videos that show how I shoot, manage and publish my video content.

Top level topics include:


  • Monday: Equipment and software
  • Tuesday: How I shoot my video tutorials (the most frequently asked question that I get)
  • Wednesday: How I edit and produce the final product
  • Thursday: How and where I distribute the videos
  • Friday: Reader questions

On Friday I will answer any questions that you have. To stay in the theme of the week it would be excellent if you provided your questions in video (either on Facebook or on YouTube) and I will stream them in and link back to your site. I will, however accept any questions you have by email or by commenting on this post.

So start thinking and let me know what's on your mind. I can't wait to hear from you!


Download the Techn//Marketer podcast here!To help you stay on top of what is happening in social media, mobile and new marketing you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Stay informed and get access to new videos first.

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The scalability of language; the role of video

Picture 15.pngIn today's post on the scalability of language, I want to talk about video. Video (as many of you know) is a passion of mine and I've found it a great way to communicate ideas to a broad audience.

The problem with video is that the language is harder to get at. With copy, you can, at a minimum, use a translation service to get a high-level overview of the content. With video that baseline doesn't exist.

Enter dotSub. This is a service that I learned about at the WeMedia Conference in Miami earlier this year. dotSub allows anyone to upload a video to the service and then add native language subtitles to the video. This starts with a solid English translation and then people can add new languages.

The community then validates the translation, adapts it and finally accepts it as an official version of the content. This is a great use of the crowdsourcing principle to add value to a diverse group of people. I do wish that dotSub accepted videos from other services, but they are still pretty new.

Here is a video overview:

[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Services like dotSub allow native speakers to effectively translate content and share it with people in their community.

Tomorrow I will wrap up this series taking a look at the role design plays in language and communicating ideas across networks.


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First//Look: BrightKite

Picture 3.pngIn a world of shiny new things, BrightKite is the current top of the list. Beta invites are hard to get and new ones go quickly. So what is BrightKite all about? BrightKite is a social network that hinges on one key differentiating factor. It knows where you are. Users of the site update their locations (manually for now, but I could see GPS updates in the future) and share information with friends as well as other people in the same location.

The content on the site includes Twitter-esque messages about where you are/what you're doing and photography. One very limiting factor at this point is that BrightKite doesn't integrate with the content users are already creating on sites like Twitter and Flickr. BrightKite will push your updates to Twitter, and has a cool way of co-updating your Twitter location, but it still means that you have to create content twice. That's not going to happen in large numbers.

The idea of social, location-based networks aim to close the gap on contextual relevancy that has resulted in irrelevant information overload. I have found that proximity adds context and makes things more relevant to me. This is BrightKite's beta so I'm really looking forward to seeing how they evolve this and bring out more mobile consumption elements (iPhone app, BlackBerry app, proximity alerts, etc.). Advertisers will undoubtedly be perking up at the targeting ability that location brings. That's for another post. If you're on BrightKite make sure you add me.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • Location-based social networks are growing in number and will be standard in the near future
  • Location is manually updated, but will move to real-time, GPS-based updates when the technology catches up
  • BrightKite has good privacy filters in place which is crucial for the promise of this level of off-line connectedness
  • BrightKite does a good job of pushing its content out, but needs to do a better job of pulling it in
  • Social media overlap (creating the same content more than once) is a growing problem and needs to be planned before sites get to launch stage
  • Location-based ad targeting is a way to monetize this very quickly, but has to be in balance and aim to add value (like if I am standing in line at Wendy's it could offer me an immediate coupon)
  • Mobile plays a large part in the success of this network and will for all social networks in the near-term
  • Would love more consumption options on the phone (not just publishing) to get the most benefit from the service

If you know of a new service that you think I should take a look at drop me an email or leave a comment.


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Inside//Out: FriendFeed

Picture 1.pngI'm finally set up again to do more video for you guys and this is the first one on the new equipment. Thanks again for your patience.

FriendFeed stormed onto the social media scene a couple of weeks ago and has received a lot of buzz. To break it down into the simplest terms, FriendFeed allows users to create one RSS feed that combines all of their social media touch points. You can then subscribe to your friend's feeds and have one single feed that combines all of their feeds. In the end, you can consume a lot of information in one stream instead of going to 8-10 disparate places to do the same thing. You can add me here.

Picture 2.png

Information overload is a real problem with social media, especially for those who are new to the space and could become easily overwhelmed. Services like this one are popping up to solve the information overload problem. The service is entirely opt-in so you follow who you like and you can remove somebody at any time.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • Information overload is a real problem as social media outlets grow daily
  • RSS is the technology that enables FriendFeed to scale and grow
  • RSS feeds can be combined, shared, redistributed and consumed in a number of helpful ways
  • FriendFeed allows users full control over who they follow and they can un-follow people at any time

If you know of a service that you would like to see me cover in a future post, just let me know by email or by leaving a comment on this post.


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New hardware = more video

New toysI walked into the office this morning thinking it would be like most other Monday mornings when low and behold my new Macbook had finally arrived. Along side it sat a new 23 inch Apple Cinema Display. I felt like a kid at Christmas.

So why am I telling you this? Well, it's certainly not to brag. Since I transitioned to my new role at Fleishman I have been using a PC and also using my personal MacBook to do the blog/videos. (Neither of which could really handle much video.) This new setup gives me the real estate and horsepower to do a LOT more video which benefits you in the end.

I wanted to thank you for your readership and patience with me as I get things situated. Stay tuned for a lot more video content really, really soon.


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03 is the new 30

Time_frustrationSo, here's a premise I've been working on this for a while now. The 3 second ad is the new 30. Don't laugh, I did say three seconds. This is a micro-messaging world and 5, 15, 30 and (god forbid) 60 second spots are too long when paired with nearly instant-on content. Three seconds is about as much advertising as I will take and not have an adverse reaction to the message.

Yesterday on my blog I wrote about marketers who know the price for interruption and pay it anyway. Another problem that dovetails with interruption based advertising (and is equally frustrating to web users) is ads that get moved over from TV to the web. You've all seen this happen. You go to a site, click to the content you're interested in and viola! A 30 second spot stands between you and your content.

Read the rest of the post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog.

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Knowing (and paying) the price for interruption

Istock_000002892305xsmallInterruptive advertising is one of the building blocks of most traditional marketer's communications plan. TV ads break up 20 minutes of actual programming (unless you Tivo your content). Radio ads moan on and on while you trudge through traffic. Pre-roll ads on web video make you wait patiently for 15 to 60 seconds. Everywhere you turn, you are accosted by advertising.

There are consequences to doing this, especially in the digital space. I enjoyed reading this article on the New York Times site points to a Burst Media survey of 2,600 online video viewers. In the survey responses, 53.6% of people recalled seeing some type of interruption-based advertising (pre-, mid- and post-roll). 78.4% of those people said that in-stream ads are intrusive with 50.4% saying the ads disrupt their time. (This means the subtraction of value, not the addition of value.)

The in-stream, or mid-roll, ads (a trend that is rapidly growing and is particularly user un-friendly) had the most negative reaction by far. 50.7% of respondents said to have stopped watching the video when they saw an mid-roll ad and 15.3% were so angry they left the site all together.

While people ages 18-24 are slightly more likely to stay through a mid-roll ad, the worst finding for advertisers was around the recall of the ads. Only 21.4% of people who recalled the ad said they pay more attention to mid-roll versus other ad formats. 

If you're a content creator, does it really make sense to run mid-roll ads if people are abandoning your content? You have to ask yourself where you place your value, ad dollars or content distribution. Moreover, if 1/3 of people leave your site altogether, you're hurting revenue from sponsors and other advertisers not to mention your reputation.

From an advertiser's view point of view, why would you do this? The negative impression of the ad's placement is weighing on your brand. If your goal is to have people take action or remember your product/service, this is definitely going to work.

There are, however, better options. Create a "skin" for the video where your branding surrounds the content, but doesn't encroach on it. Align your ads with content that makes sense and is in your audience's focus. The worst thing you can do is take a 30 and plop it in the path of web users who are trying to get the content they value. You're not adding anything to that situation. The 30 second spot is dead online as well (just in case you were wondering). 

What other advice would you give to advertisers lining up for these placements? What ads have you appreciated or received value from and how have they been placed?

This all leads up to a post I have been working on for a while that will premiere tomorrow. "3 is the new 30".

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Keeping tabs on the pulse of the Net

One of the reasons that I include different types of media in my Buzz Friday posts (which I'll post soon) is that it allows you, my readers, to see trends emerge. It also lets you see what kinds of content and what topics take off to the level of superstardom.

Take this example. A photographer named Noah Kalina took a picture of himself every day for six years and stitched them together into a video. The writers at the Simpsons were paying attention when the clip took off and created a parody in their show.

Here is the original by Noah:

And the remake on the Simpsons:

At the root of the original clips is a very personal, voyeur-esque connection seeing him through six years of his life. Trends like this emerge quickly and you have to be on top of things to spot them. How easy do you make it to parody your brand?

So, are you looking around at what's popular? Do you dismiss it or think of ways to weave it into your fabric?


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First//Look: Hulu (beta)

Picture 1.pngWell, it was a long time coming, but NBC finally has Hulu (their YouTube/iTunes competitor) up and running. I will tell you that I came into this First//Look with a skeptical eye. Hulu, on the contrary, really stood out as a great online video experience. The primary downside to this site is that you cannot take the clips with you on an iPod nor can you see them on a mobile device (for the meantime) as it requires the newest Flash plugin.

Here is the video tour of Hulu:

[Feed readers, please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • The model for displaying and interacting with video online is in its infancy.
  • Big brands are looking at what's working and coming up with new models to leverage technology to provide advertiser and user value.
  • Hulu tries to balance content with advertising (30 second spots with banner ad combos).
  • Hulu allows users to engage with the content in very minimal, controlled ways. Commenting and rating clips is permitted.
  • Video still is not portable. You cannot take it with you on an iPod nor when you're offline.

Now that you have a bit more knowledge about Hulu, what advice would you give to NBC before they roll this out? Is it social enough? Are there features you think they're missing? Let me know what you think in the comments.


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First//Look: Seesmic (pre-alpha)

What do you get when you combine video, social networking, micromedia and a very savvy French entrepreneur? You get Seesmic. Seesmic is the brainchild of French blog-star Loïc LeMeur and aims to do to video conversations what Twitter did to text-based conversations. The site is a social network where the primary content is video. Users record video, post it to the site and other users reply in video.

The site is in pre-alpha (only about 300 users testing right now) and a lot will change over the course of the next couple of months and I'll re-post when it goes into beta. Enjoy the video:


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here is an example of the user-side of the video experience from Seesmic:

Key takeaways for marketers:


  • The move toward video as an intimate, personal form of communicating is here
  • Technology has caught up to consumers and video is easy to record on Seesmic right through the browser
  • Conversations will be mobile on this site down the road so you can create, send and reply to videos from a mobile device
  • Content created by the users is re-mixed into a daily video best-of video that is then shared with everyone
  • Hooks into YouTube, Twitter and Skype help auto-promote content to larger, external networks
  • The company is asking for suggestions and proactive responding to them in video
  • The openness that the company is providing as they share how they are growing is a model more companies should follow

Through the videos they've created I have found myself becoming attached to the company and the model they are using to build a company. I will keep an eye on this in the future and let you know when more invites become available.

If you have a site that you would like me to look at and possibly do a post like this on, drop me an email or leave a comment on the post.


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First//Look: Firebrand (beta)

Picture 7.pngWhat do you get when you take a great user interface, add in the biggest brands from around the world and pull in all of their best commercials? You get Firebrand. Firebrand is a site that uses commercials at the content. There is precedence for this in the mainstream media where every quarter there is a show in prime time called something like "Worlds Best Commercials". The Superbowl ads are highly anticipated. People do like to watch good commercials, but will they come to Firebrand? Time will tell.

The site is in a private beta, but I'm showing it to you today to get your input. Check out the video.


[Feedreaders, if you cannot see the video, please click through to the post.]

Here are a few of the commercials I saw/found on the site.

Some make me laugh:

Some make me emotional:

Some I just love to watch over and over:

Key takeaways:


  • Great interface for showcasing, searching and navigating video
  • Big brand representation gives immediate legitimacy
  • Social interaction is key to engagement
  • Co-branded promotions and contests could be a driver of traffic
  • Promos are not interruptive (as they should be)
  • This is the long-tail at work, niches like this have an audience you just have to find them
  • Content portability is crucial and well done. I can take it on my phone, iPod, blog, etc.
  • Tie-in with TV channel could help drive traffic to the web

Key questions:


  • What is the revenue model here? Outside of the brands sponsoring their clips or paying to get involved, I am not sure.
  • Will people come? This is the key question.

What do you think of the site? Will you visit it regularly or just every once in a while (or maybe never)? Do you think it has legs to stand on?


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The power of first-person content

bandofbloggers.pngThere is something very compelling about seeing what is happening somewhere in the world through the eyes of the people who are there. I saw a segment on the History Channel for a new feature they were running on their site. It's called "Band of Bloggers" and features original, un-edited content from our troops on the front lines.

There is no editor or producer here and the clips are raw. The power of seeing our troops in action and hearing what they think is impressive and a nobel use of this technology. Troops can get a camera and then all they need is a computer to type their message, upload the videos and submit photos. All of this is woven into the site and forms a powerful story.

I urge you to check it out. For all of the talk of navel-gazing and bright shiny objects, the tools we're working with in social media are changing the world. Not five years ago you would have NEVER seen content like this unless you were related to somebody who was serving.

On a related, and belated, note many thanks to all of the men and women who serve now, and have served in the past, for the freedom we enjoy today.


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Whiteboard//Session: How Digg works

digg-logo.gifMy latest MarketingProfs Whiteboard//Session video looks at how Digg.com works as a community to add value and filter news.

Last Friday I took an Inside//Out look at social news community Digg.com by showing you what it looked like and went over the key functionality. In this edition of whiteboard session, I want to dig (pun intended) into how the system works as a community to add value to the users.

This functionality has been copied by many sites (Netscape.com was and recently shifted away from it) and is a good model to keep in the back of your mind for the future.

If you know of any topics, acronyms, technobabble or other sites you would like to see covered in a future post, please drop me an email.


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Inside//Out: Digg.com

digg-logo.gifMy latest Inside//Out video covering social news site Digg.com is up and running now over at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix.

From MarketingProfs:

This video is geared to give you a visual overview, tell you why you should (or shouldn’t) care about Digg, and give you broad analysis of how the technology could help in other situations. You don’t have to sign up for 50 different networks, just let me do it and guide you through the latest, hottest options around.

I am sure that many of you have heard the name or see the tags around the internet and at the bottom of every blog post. Digg is a social news aggregator that relies on the community of “Diggers” to filter, share and vote on the top news. The site is categorized, but remains largely geared toward technical audiences.

Users of the site submit content by clicking on the Digg icon or submitting it through the site itself. Users add a description of the content along with the URL and tags for reference. Freshly "Dugg" content filters to an “upcoming” area where other users vote it up. Content that has a lot of diggs in a short amount of time move toward the home page at a faster pace (diggs*velocity=popularity).

Here is an Inside//Out look at Digg.com:

Key takeaways for marketers:


  • The Digg community is very active and can drive a lot of short-term traffic (MarketingProfs has seen up to 10 fold increases).
  • Digg, like any social network, has its own policing system to control content.
  • It’s advisable that marketers not Digg their own content.
  • Blogs, newspapers, magazines and video sharing sites leverage Digg to share content with a wider audience.
  • Malicious companies do set up fake accounts to Digg things for clients. This is not advisable to any marketer anywhere.
  • Adding Digg code to your site is easy. Just head to this page and use any of the pre-built options provided.
  • Digg also has a cool visualization toolset if you are interested in seeing how active the community is.

Look for a new Whiteboard//Session video Monday where I cover how Digg actually works. If you have anything you would like to see featured in the future send me an email.


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Social media and the 2007 Chicago marathon

Chicago in halfI spent this past weekend in the great city of Chicago cheering on my wife and our friend in their running of the 2007 Chicago marathon. We had a bit of a challenging start to the weekend (flight delayed, missed dinner with friends, long lines at every turn) that served as a foreshadowing to what was in store for them later on Sunday.

If you're not living in the midwest, let me give you an idea of the weather this past weekend. It was FREAKING HOT! So hot that you didn't want to go outside and this is not normal for this time of year. It should have been 55 degrees and it was 85. So translate those temperatures to trying to run 26.2 miles in the middle of the day. A recipe for disaster.

The race started great. 35,000 people shuffling over the start/finish line meant they didn't get into their normal stride until 20 minutes after the leaders started. That's a LOT of people. A group of friends and I stood at mile three to cheer them on. Everybody looked good for the most part, but that didn't last long. We didn't see them again until the 12 mile marker and they looked strong, but definitely feeling the heat. People started falling and sitting down. Only later did they tell us that there was no water until the fifth mile. That's a long time to be running in 85 degree weather. 300+ people were taken to hospitals and 1 runner tragically died.

Picture 22.pngNeedless to say (if you didn't know) they cancelled the race at the 3 hour 30 minute mark. My wife and friend made it to the 18th mile and they were told to start walking back to the start/finish line. There was a lot of confusion and some people kept going (without medical or water support). They got their medals, but felt cheated as they were definitely strong enough to keep going. I am super proud of them both for running strong and dealing with the situation better than I would have.

Race directors denied the fact that water was a scarcity. They claimed that there was plenty of water along the way and all stations were well staffed. But I saw something interesting watching the people run past me. Some carried cameras. They were documenting their runs along the way. Taking photos and videos of the crowds, the empty water stations, people standing in line at gas stations buying water, begging spectators for their water and the neighbors who came to their aid. Kudos to the people of Chicago, but shame on the race organizers.

Here are some of the videos from YouTube:

Here are more videos from YouTube. Here are blog posts about it and Flickr photos too.

I find these videos, photos and blog entries really compelling. You can see the frustration on the faces of people who trained for months only to start running with a lack of support. This situation is playing itself out in other events, in stores and on the street.

Who do you believe? The race organizer or the runners with the cameras? Who will you believe, your customer with the camera or the store manager? This is a movement that's just getting started.


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