Let me preface this post by saying that in no way am I medical expert or psychiatrist. But it doesn’t take a doctor to realize when something is strange. Viral videos – which many people aspire to create – seem to be having an unnervingly negative affect on some people’s health.
In July Newsweek published a cover story, asking if the Internet is ‘Driving us Mad.” The article looked at how KONY creator, Jason Russell, lost his mind after producing the most viral video in history, and was caught on camera at an intersection near his San Diego home, slapping the concrete and yelling about the devil.
In the end, Russell was diagnosed with a form of temporary insanity called reactive psychosis – and his wife stated that it had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. This was about the pressure of dealing with the attention that comes with a viral video.
Now today, we have found that another person in a viral video has suddenly died. Michael Leisner, a 65-year-old real estate agent, was featured in a YouTube video protesting against General Mills for being pro-gay marriage. In the video he tries to light some cereal on fire, but ends up burning more then he can handle, and flees the scene. The video has been featured on countless news outlets and television programs, and lead to Leisner being fired from his job. It’s reported that Leisner’ died in his car while waiting for his sons to finish playing tennis.
While the reason for Leisner’s death has not been determined, based on the timing it is fair game to speculate that the viral video could have had something to do with it. The amount of attention that any viral video brings to an individual – especially negative attention – can be way too much to handle, especially considering the number of media requests and amount of social media attention that one can receive.
This is a guest post by Mandy Miller. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyMayM.
Remember the “Live Under a Rock? Geico commercial? Well, in case you do live under a boulder, you may be wondering what this Kony business is about. Naturally, it stirs larger political and foreign relations and policy debates, but you have to give it to Invisible Children, it truly deserves the title of an “EPIC” social media campaign – at least for now. According to GigaOM’s estimates, the seemingly long (by YouTube standards) 30-minute video created by the group and shared widely on Facebook and Twitter was viewed 80 million times in just five days. In case you haven’t seen the video, give it a ‘quick’ view here.
I’ve worked and lived with many friends that have visited and worked specifically within Uganda as well as many other foreign counties within Africa and abroad. The tale and truth here is that these types of atrocities are nothing new. While generic in ‘corporate speak,’ I’ve seen many a social media case that attempts to ‘drive awareness’ to bring attention to them and, of course, bring a call to action. Never have I seen such a viral reception of a campaign of this nature.
The interesting thing about watching the Kony campaign is that it’s REALLY working. I’m not naming any names, but via my social media networks, I’ve been witnessing individuals who have previously voiced no concern or action in foreign policies, affairs, events, etc. now pushing on this content – pushing it hard, at that. The individual that spearheaded this effort, Jason Russell, produced an amazing video. In broadcasting, capturing human interest can be very difficult. Have you ever noticed how long a network news segment is? The average segment is a single minute – some are longer at two minutes. Now, think of the amount of information that goes into that. It takes talent to pull together a video that not only looks good, but ‘touches’ the viewer. I believe Russell has done just that.
While it’s too tough to tell where this campaign will go and how its success will be measured, an interesting point to think about is how this kind of multimedia will begin shifting how we market brands and interact with end-users and the general population. While it’s nothing new, even to people under rocks, the future of media is constantly evolving. With The New York Times recently putting the philanthropy beat on the chopping block, marketing communications professionals, and, more specifically, non-profits, have to be thinking of new and creative ways to cultivate conversation. My guess is that we are going to begin integrating multimedia and social media much more. You can see this in practice with the recent rise in infographics – packing a lot of useful nuggets into an atheistically pleasing package.
What other ways have you seen or think you will see media shift more towards integrating multimedia and social media?
Everyone hates paying extra money to check a bag when flying, but a group of US soldiers returning home from Afghanistan recently were particularly irked.
According to the soldiers, the US Army has an agreement with Delta in place where they can check 4 bags (Delta claims the 4 bag policy was for first class passengers only, but has since changed their policy so any soldiers can check 4 bags). Each soldier was charged $200 to check their 4th bag, which one soldier was carrying the weapon he was issued by the US Army.
While on their flight home, two US soldiers made a video and posted it on YouTube, explaining their frustrations with Delta. While the video doesn’t have a significant number of views yet, it is quickly gaining attention, and Delta decided to put out this fire before they had a United Breaks Guitars situation on their hands. Since the video was published, Delta says they have changed their policy so that any US soldier can have 4 bags on a flight.
The debate about which party misunderstood the policy can be determined by Delta and the US Army. However, Delta deserves kudos for understanding the power that this video could have, and acting swiftly to resolve the issue before it got out of hand.
I’ve done my best over the past several weeks to block out all of the royal wedding hoopla, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. In fact, I didn’t even know the royal wedding was tomorrow until someone informed me they will be watching it tomorrow morning (EDT).
Regardless my my ignorance, this wedding is receiving a lot of attention, and businesses are trying to capitalize. While some attempts are a bit lame (i.e.: cardboard cutouts), T-Mobile did an absolutely brilliant job of capturing attention with a hilarious spoof of the popular JK Wedding Entrance Dance, which was also imitated on The Office.
This kind of marketing is so smart and creative, and reminds me of what Old Spice did last July. In case you haven’t seen the video, it’s embedded below.
This morning Gizmodo reported that Cisco has “axed the Flip cam.” The Flip video camera has been a great companion to many a PR professional at trade shows, conferences, industry events and for one-on-one Q&As. A moment of silence, please.
Jenna Wortham, a tech reporter for the New York Times, reacted via her Twitter account @jennydeluxe:
She is absolutely right. The “Swiss army-like smartphones” she is describing are going to become a one-stop shop for all your content creation needs. I am going to toss tablets into that ring too – the iPad 2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the like. What will be next, the death of the digital camera?
In a salute to the absolute supremacy of smartphones, I dedicate this song:
What do you think, readers? What device will disappear next?
Every PR/Marketing person dreams of being the genius mind behind a successful viral video. In 2011 content creation is king and producing an entertaining and informative video to raise brand awareness is a high priority for any PR/Marketing team.
Enter this superb infographic posted by Mashable. Seriously, superb. There are several valuable statistics illustrated here covering everything from the length of the video to the best sites to promote it on. Check it out:
- Videos that clock in at 15 seconds get circulated 37% more than longer clips
- People share video on Facebook 218% more than via email and Twitter combined
- Women account for 57% of social video views
This morning Leena Rao reported for Tech Crunch that Skype has launched Skype 5.0 with new features, most signifcantly, intergration with Facebook. While Skype has become the standard go-to for video calling, there was no social aspect to the service. Rao described the new integration:
“After logging in via Facebook Connect, you’ll be able to see your Facebook News Feed with the Skype interface, post status updates that can be synced with your Skype mood message and comment and like friends’ updates and wall posts.”
As a Skype user, I am thrilled to know that I can now access my entire Facebook social network and enjoy the free Skype services (phone calls and video calling) with all my Facebook friends. It will be interesting if the two companies collaborate to add new dimensions to this partnership for their joint users.
In addition to integrating with Facebook, the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Skype has also struck a deal with Avaya to intergrate with corporte phone systems. Verne Kopytoff detailed the news:
“Hoping to make inroads into big businesses, Skype joined on Wednesday with Avaya, a major seller of corporate phone systems. As part of the deal, Avaya will integrate Skype into its bundle of products for customers in the United States. . . Skype and Avaya both say that Skype could be used in calls centers and by sales staff. The technology would reduce corporate phone bills and allow consumers who use Skype to call companies free from a computer.“
While the Skype products may seem simple, their strategic decisions to align with the largest social network and a major telecommunications provider for businesses is nothing short of genius.
Early this week Universal Pictures invited RaceTalk to attend a private screening of the documentary “Catfish.” Given our extensive coverage of social media, and particularly Facebook, the studio felt we were the perfect viewers.
The film follows a young, New York City based photographer, Yaniv “Nev” Shulman as he forms relationships with a family in Michigan. After seeing one of Nev’s photographs in the New York Sun, this Michigan family sends him a painting of his photograph, done by their eight year old daughter Abby.
Nev winds up “friending” Abby’s mother, father, sister, brother and more via Facebook and communicates with them regularly. Over the coming months they share countless emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, photos, videos, song recordings, and of course, more paintings. Eventually, Nev begins to form a romantic bond with Abby’s older sister Megan. He talks to her every day on the phone, via text, email and she sends photos and recordings of her singing songs she wrote for him.
One evening Nev discovers via the power of Google and YouTube, that Megan has been sending music recordings that are in fact stolen from an artist named Amy Karney. When he confronts her about it, she becomes frazzled and overly emotional. From this conversation on, things with Megan and the entire family begin to unravel. In an attempt to get some closure on what now feels like a mountain of lies, Nev and the two film makers (his older brother Ariel and their friend Henry) decide to drive to Ipsheming, Michigan to meet the family in person and uncover the truth.
Without spoiling the ending, because if you are an active user of Facebook you must see this movie, I will say that “Catfish” caused me to rethink my personal approach to Facebook. As a PR professional, we counsel our clients on the use of social media and the real-time web, and encourage them to share, share often, and share with complete transparency. We position social media as an easy, low cost way to reach your target audience on the websites and applications they are already using. Personally, we do the same. We use our Facebook profiles to share photos, videos, articles we enjoy, blog posts we write and more. Facebook has become so ubiquitous; we behave this way without question.
In David Kirkpatrick’s book “The Facebook Effect” he chronicles the early days of Facebook when a user was required to have a college, .edu email address to join. Mark Zuckerberg felt the university email address provided a level of authenticity that you are who you say you are. Once Facebook was opened broadly, and that requirement disappeared, you could use any email address to sign up, even a fake one.
“Catfish” demonstrates that the internet and in this case Facebook, allows users to not only share content, but to also steal content; to poach photos, videos, music and more and re-purpose it for their own use. The current explosion of content on the internet and social networks provides users with the ability to pluck content off the web and create an entire identity with stolen information.
Nev is still an active user of Facebook. His experiences have not diminished his use of the network. However, “Catfish” will force you to re-think the way you use Facebook and exactly how open you want to be with your personal information and the people you allow into your network. This film is a haunting, brutally real look at the power of social media.
Back in April I wrote about Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference that was taking place in New York City. I praised the conference and its attendees for providing advice on social media best practices live from the event. The live tweeting was so impressive I felt like I was there in the auditorium.
Yesterday, I actually was in the auditorium as Pulver brought his traveling conference to Boston for the first time. The conference began at 9:00 am and went until 6:00 pm with over 61 speakers on the roster. Each group that took the stage had 10 minutes to share how Twitter and/or the real-time web have impacted their goals professionally and personally. Below, a few highlights from the day:
Jeff Pulver, @jeffpulver – Check out Pulver’s opening remarks to kick off the day:
John Daley, @Boston_Police – Daley, deputy superintendent for the Boston Police, shared that the department is using Twitter to broadcast vital, public safety information to the city of Boston and their broader Twitter followers. The police see Twitter as an effective way to disseminate critical information in real-time. Daley also noted that citizens have begun reporting crimes to the police via Twitter. They tweet updates and photos, typically of crimes they consider “too small” to dial 911. Who knew!
C.C. Chapman, @cc_chapman – C.C. is on a mission. A mission to give dads who blog as much power and recognition as the infamous “mommy bloggers.” During what was by far the most animated speech of the day, C.C. shared his personal quest to force consumer brands to recognize fathers as a key sales demographic. Marketers, pay attention. The dads have wallets too.
Patrick Larkin, @bhsprincipal – Larkin is the principal of Burlington High School where he is trying to bring the school into the digital revolution. In addition to teaching a Web 2.0 class to his students, Larkin is working to educate families on the importance of digital education for students. During his panel, Larkin said, “We need to teach our children to use social media. Without that, the diploma doesn’t mean much.”
Amanda Palmer, @amandapalmer – Palmer, best known as part of the musical group the Dresden Dolls, shared with the audience that, “I was able to ditch my management and my record label to launch an album all via the internet.” She went on to say how her Twitter followers have been incredibly supportive and a resource she didn’t realize would be so critical. She said, “Life is becoming easier, faster and cheaper as we harness the power of social media.” Rock on, Amanda!
Georgy Cohen, @radiofreegeorgy – Cohen is the managing editor of web communications for Tufts University and has one of the best understandings of the power of social media that I have encountered. Not only does she see the value in active social media platforms for the university, but she is consistently engaging with students, staff and alumni to build meaningful relationships. Cohen hit the nail on the head when she said, “We have to be in the ‘now’ because our brands already are, whether we are or not.” I was also impressed by Cohen’s decision to harness the strength of content creation and launch a Tufts website called Jumble (their mascot is the Jumbo) to aggregate all of the best content created by students, staff and alumni. For colleges and university seeking social media best practices, look no further than Tufts.
Chris Brogan, @chrisbrogan – Brogan, a high profile social media player, author and the president of New Marketing Labs, spoke to the group about Twitter and other web applications simply serving as a platform for larger goals. In one of the best quotes of the day he quipped, “No one ever asked Hemmingway what kind of pencil he wrote with. Don’t ask me what blog platform I use! That’s not the point.” View Brogan’s entire talk here:
For more information on the speakers at the Boston 140 Characters Conference, check out my live updates @MollyGaller on Twitter or the #140conf hashtag.
At the close of the event, Pulver said, “This conference is not a tech event, it’s a life event.” Thank you, Jeff Pulver, for a superb day that reminds us all that the next big thing could be just a tweet away.
Infographics are quickly becoming a media and public relations industry buzz word / topic. Why you ask? Two major reasons. As corporations continue to shift into their role as media companies and content curators, they’re realizing the opportunity to package interesting data to the media and consumers in new ways. More importantly, media organizations and editors are now focusing on finding new ways to engage their readership. Infographics happen to solve both of these problems by packaging data in a way that makes it both engaging and easy to read.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey for Racepoint Group’s video newsletter to discuss how brands and agencies can leverage infographics and why they’re becoming the “new slide shows” for media outlets desperate for engaging content. While Sam cautioned that infographics aren’t B-roll (most media outlets like to play a role in building them), he did pass along some interesting insight into how PR practitioners and marketers can leverage the media’s interest in this new category of content.
For more insight on infographics, along with the latest news and trends in marketing, PR and communications in the technology space subscribe to Racepoint’s “The Point: Tech Edition.