Friday, June 26, 2009

Framing video content for online delivery

...one way you will get paid delivering video content in today's environment is to get LOTS of people to look at what you post. You have to make it great, and get lucky for it to work.

You can't do much about the lucky part, so your job is to give Miss Fortune a hand and keep makin' it great! Over and over again.

After you make it great, you have to think about where it will get seen. We're all wrestling over this right now, but the likeliest outcome is that you'll have your online content seen through a channel that also delivers ads.

So we looked at this:

If we postulate that the ad riser over the top of the video is becoming standard, and that it will exist without option in some platforms, then we can simply program for our "sweet spot" to avoid the lower portion of the frame.

There's a responsibility on the part of the media creator to select channels that will not put distracting content into that frame. I say that it's possible they can put attractive information into the panel. As media creators, we simply work above that space.

For a while yet, revenue for programming online will come from advertising. So the thing to do is to resonate with it, find the models that work for the viewer, the media creator, and the advertiser -- all together. Then use those.

---v

The screen shot used in this article is from the Chad Vader series from blame society films. Give 'em a visit soon as you can.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is it about me or about You(-hoo)!

...I am working with a parents' group which insists on using Yahoo! Groups to manage an email list rather than use Google Groups.

Now I am one who vigorously shuns dogma when it comes to technology, so I'm willing to reconsider my preference for Google in this domain -- especially given vehement instruction by one of the stakeholders in this particular group.

I asked myself, why do I prefer Google Groups over the more mature and much more traditionally used Yahoo! Groups? I think it has to do with how the advertising is delivered.


When I use Google Groups (or gmail), the advertising is something to which I (the actual beneficiary of the service) am exposed. When I use Yahoo! Groups (or Yahoo! email) the advertising is sent to my friend. Or to say it another way. The way that I pay for the "free" service I receive is that I give my friends over to Yahoo! so that they can advertise to them.

This screen shot tells the tale. The area under my comment bubble, and the area encircled in red are both advertising patches sent to the recipient of my message.

Yahoo! Listen up! When we said "permission marketing" we meant that you'd GET our permission. Not simply assign it to yourself on our behalf.

---v

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why all these short URLs?

...I've been using a service that takes a long URL and turns it into a size that's compatible with Twitter. (For instance the unruly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdFSXRgiJlk becomes
http://cli.gs/zuLYT3 which is much easier to include in a short tweet.)

There are a number of such services, but I've chosen Cligs.

I like using Cligs for two reasons. One is that I can rename the shortcut myself if the name I like has not been chosen. So I've created:
It's cool to me that I can type these in by hand easily in many cases. and if I'm posting the link systematically over time, it's nice to have something I can easily recall.


Figure 1: Cligs traffic metrics


But there's a bigger reason to use a URL shortener for posting links. If you choose one that supports it (and most of them do), you can track the response to the link after you post it. This is the major reason I use Cligs. I like the metrics they collect and I like the presentation.

Cligs shows me the total number of responses I've had to the link, it draws me a graph of activity over time, and it shows me a world map with responses depicted by their contry of origin.

So the image I see of a link posted to a friend's online film looks like the page you see in Figure 1. (click on the image for a closer look).





Figure 2: A clig with multiple
recent mentions.


A page that has been mentioned several times in the preceding weeks, might look a bit more like the second image you see in Figure 2. You can see the upward blips that occur around the time the link was mentioned on Twitter or Facebook.

What's especially useful about the map is that you can see how many of the mentions came from each of the red countries. In the live map, putting the mouse over a country will produce a flyout such as the one you can see in Figure 2.

Below this graphical depiction of activity, there is a list of specific sites from which the clig was accessed. For instance, if there is a specific page on LinkedIn that exposes the clig, you'll see some number of clicks that originated there.

The information is advisory only and there are often assumptions about the origins of the traffic, but the overall story it tells is a useful one.

I must point out that there are something like a dozen similar services and you can easily find a comparison of their features. I used bit.ly for a while, but switched back to Cligs in spite of the things I find tedious about their site.

If you're interested in knowing how widely your voice carries in the social media space, it's a good idea to choose a URL shortner and use it for a while to track responses. You'll certainly find something interesting as you do.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Did the world need a new browser?

...I've used them all. I used Lynx when the Worldwide Web was young. I used Mosaic when it was cool and exciting. I used Netscape, then later IE (reluctantly, until Microsoft finally "got it" about what made a browser good -- hint: it wasn't about adding new features that no one else could use in their own browsers), and I applauded Firefox (when it was called Firebird) and I absolutely danced and sang out loud at the release of Chrome.

I actually still use Chrome for most of my needs because it's just the "right browser." I often say that Chrome is the way I'd personally write a browser if I were to take on the task myself today.

So why would the world need Yet Another Browser?

Well, the folks who created Flock knew an answer to that question.

Using the Mozilla base, they've invented a browser that (like Chrome) acknowledges the world we actually live and work in today. In this world, web pages are pretty uninteresting. (About as interesting as segments in your neighborhood sidewalk.) What we expect now are RSS feeds, media streams, and social network viewpoints.

They put all this in here.

I downloaded Flock on the recommendation of an acquaintance on Twitter and for at least a couple of days I was completely smitten. This browser aggregates my social network accounts and gives me tools to see into the Facebook/Twitter/Myspace/PicassaWeb combine from one place. It provides a blog editor (which I'm using right now) that is highly useful for people who maintain more than one blog. It provides a "media stream" reader that gives a convenient and highly powerful look at your own (and others, if you wish) assembled collections of online photos, videos, and streams. And for some reason, I have really taken to the RSS feed reader -- I think because of the simplicity of subscribing, managing, and peeking into the various feeds.

My current complaint is that Flock does sometimes lag in terms of performance (I think the spell checker cannot keep up with my typing speed. A don't think it's quite as robust as Chrome, but I will say this.

It's fun to use. It's fun to explore. There are features that I haven't even tapped yet (like the ability to take a picture from a media stream, drop it on the "head" of someone among your Facebook friends, and then have that photo sent to them). I presume that as it progresses, the code will get tighter and more robust, and as more people adopt its use, I think you'll see this in use by Web2.0 power users. (Yes, I did use that term -- I apologize.)

Check it out, even if you love and adore Chrome. You may find that it's just what you want. If you use IE or Firefox and if you have Facebook/Twitter/Myspace accounts, grab this browser now! You may find that it alters the way you work.

---v

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tipjoy! I think not yet...

...I enjoyed learning about a money transfer service called tipjoy!

The intention is that they make it easy for people to pass small amounts of money, and for people to give money to a cause.

But for a system that does something important to facilitate money getting where it is going, I don't find enough transparency present, and the policies seem to all fail over to "tipjoy keeps the money."

The obvious inevitable clause in the privacy policy stood out large for me today. In effect, they say, if the company is acquired, any of your personal information and the information about your activities, becomes the property of the new company. I know that's true for everyone, but for a company at this obvious stage of development, that's a little scary.

I'd like to see a lot more about the organization, about the protections for the "contributor" and their money, and some bold success stories about people and organizations which are having the system work successfully for them.

The folks at tipjoy can provide these things easily if they're actually going to make it. And if they can't then it would be a bad idea to give them more information about yourself.

To say it another way, "Okay tipjoy! I will come out and tell you all about me, but I want to see a little more evidence that you're actually going to make it before I sit down over coffee with you. 'Specially if you want to put your hand near my wallet."

 ---v


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Clearer Vision

...here's what's needed now in the "fabric of the social media platform." (Hark! Consultant speak afoot.)

We need control over the portion that we see. It's like we need focal controls on our vision into spaces like Twitter and Facebook. We need the ability to "grow" a filter that brings our attention to the things that belong in our attention.

One thing from Facebook now that makes this more possible is the ability to filter out specific applications. Most of us see FB through the newsfeed and up until recently, the only choice you had with a high noise-maker was to filter the person's output so that you wouldn't see any of it. You couldn't filter out the "Peeps" and the "Easter Eggs" and the "smurf of the day" application.

If the person was introducing them into the stream, you had to tolerate it or they had to go. In the responsible age of application interface to the newsfeed, it's totally possible that we could dampen out the sound from a friend who's playing a game without eliminating that friend from our attention.

In Facebook I want to be able to say, "no quiz results" and "no smurf-wars" without having to say "no Freida" or "no Bob." If Frieda and Bob (both mythical) contribute to the newsfeed only with quiz results and their "smurf wars" high score, then they will be silenced anyway.

With this ability emerging on FB, it will be easier to hone in on just the material you really want to see.

---v