Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Do People Create on YouTube?

In response to my recent post, "Talent in the Age of Social Media," which discussed the nature of fame on YouTube, Ken G. responded:

I think there's also a couple of distinctions to make here. While some people on YouTube are looking to build on that into traditional fame in movies, tv, recordings, whatever, there's far more who have no desire for traditional fame - only a creative outlet while they enjoy their "regular" civilian lives.

There are a range of motivations that lead individuals to create for YouTube (as opposed to those who simply use YT as a place to post home videos).   I believe that a large majority (though certainly not everyone) fall roughly into three major categories.

Some, as Ken suggests, enjoy YT strictly as a creative outlet.  Subscriptions and a YT "career" aren't a priority or even a consideration.   Regardless, some of this group might reach a level of recognition (perhaps including what might be called "fame") -  and may in fact include the best and most creative of those referred to as YouTube "stars." Sometimes, if you enjoy what you're doing, your audience enjoys it, too.  This group is probably the most diverse in terms of age, from the youngest to the oldest users, and generally include the majority of vloggers, artists and musicians.

Others hope to use this world as both a place to build YT fame and as springboard to wider fame - these celebrity culture addicts, perhaps, see YouTube as the best "shortcut"available.  They might have a level of skill in music or comedy, but their motivations are based more on growing a following than developing their craft or a quality video "product."  They might, in fact, succeed working the system to reach a level of visibility and even limited "stardom" for a while, but like any of those who seek fame for fame's sake,  that sort of goal could lead, inevitably, to personal disaster.  At the very least, they're the sort of YouTubers with a huge following, but few actual per-video views.  If you actually see their videos, you're likely to scratch your head and wonder why.

There's also a lively third group that looks at YouTube and the social media environment as both a means of expression, and as a platform offering an ideal foundation on which to build their creative future.  They're not looking at achieving fame necessarily - but at using the overall social media platform as an opportunity.  This category can overlap quite effectively with the first category - perhaps consisting of the best of the social media / YouTube entrepreneurs.

There are, of course countless sub-groups and fringe categories that make up the YouTube world - but I'd like to hear your opinion - are these fair definitions?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fail: China's Success Ensures Google Ban Won't Succeed

The repeated attempts by China to ban Google's search engine [see yesterday's Mashable article] seem to be a futile attempt, to use the old cliche, to put the genie back in the bottle.

The steps that China is making toward the modernization of its economy and its desire to be technological leader continue to create conditions allowing forms of entrepreneurship that would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago.  The continued progress of Chinese society and the Chinese people, I believe, will require the same access to information and an understanding of online commerce that is critical in our own society. It seems as if the current Chinese government's attitude toward the control of information is almost archaic in the modern world, and doomed, ultimately, to failure as the entrepreneurial society continues to develop.

Unless a society is kept technologically primitive (as is the case in North Korea), it is virtually impossible to control information with the heavy-handed mindset that guided totalitarian regimes throughout most of the 20th century.  While it's true that this same free access to information may also allow for the spread of extremist thought [see "YouTube Banned in Russia" at Mashable], the overall advantages, I think, will far outweigh what is sometimes referred to as "the price of living in a free society."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Talent in the Age of Social Media

[Accompanies a Vlog of the same name,]

At lunch yesterday, i was describing to a couple of friends the evolving social media landscape of the YouTube community, as contrasted with the general perception outside the community, and the ways in which of the most successful YouTubers are earning an income in that arena.  We discussed the state of the  current programming - which is, technically speaking, very creative but still fairly primitive as compared to television and motion pictures.  To some extent, that's part of the characteristic of this world - the availability of cameras and editing technology that allows virtually anyone to create and build a following.  Generally speaking, what an audience freely accepts on YouTube would be rejected in other platforms. In much the same way, a great television program wouldn't necessarily be considered a quality motion picture.

The discussion turned to the staying power of the top YouTube personalities - or any of the partners that have reached the minimal following necessary to qualify for that profit sharing arrangement.  With YouTube still being in its early childhood phase at five years old, it's an intriguing question to ask about the fate of popular YouTubers in a few short years.   Will they evolve with their audience and build upon their initial success?  Will they have the ability to maintain a following by keeping their channels creative and continue to provide features that make their channels successful?  Will some YouTubers prove to be fortunate reflections of their time, brief cultural icons of the YouTube community - but ultimately nothing more?

Even by looking at the rising and falling fortunes of popular YouTubers over the last five years, it's still a challenge to consider this world a few years down the line as it matures and brings in an even wider audience.  It's a greater challenge to take into account the young age of some successful YouTubers, as their changing lives and circumstance impact their ability to create relevant contact.

Ultimately, I think, talent will prevail.  Ten years down the line, we'll recognize some legendary talents unique to this platform, while others will exist only in faded memory - if at all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Teens and Social Media: Real Human Contact

As someone who began making films at eleven years old, I have a special interest in the young media creators (the young filmmakers of today) that are creating so much of the content on YouTube, and the most enthusiastic of whom attended the Vidcon YouTube conference earlier this month.

When I was a boy, filmmaking was something with which my friends would participate, but few shared my passion.  Most of my friends would be along for the ride.  When the film was done, I'd present it to family and friends, and that was the end of the story.  We had a fun time, but the process ended there.

Teens who create on YouTube have an entirely different experience. Even the simplest cameras and editing software offer a level of sophistication that I could only dream about.  While many young directors still might work with their friends at hand, they also are part of an exciting worldwide community of like-minded teens like themselves - people with who they communicate regularly through chat, voice and video, and with whom they often collaborate.  The tools are only getting better, and their ability to work together is only improving.  I'm excited about where this will all lead - for everyone.

While many teens still dream of movie and television careers, many of the YouTubers dream of continuing to create online video for years to come.  Some have already reached the status of being a profit-sharing YouTube partner, and many, I'm sure, will take part or even invent new methods of monetizing online content.  

Many of the teens I saw at Vidcon shared a similar sentiment when they posted their summary videos on YouTube after the conference - it was the best experience of their lives.   Why?  As much as they worked with and got to know each other online, the time they spent together at Vidcon was the highlight of their experience.  As much as some adults may worry about the impersonal online world, I believe that most people - especially teens - don't perceive that world quite as disconnected from reality as some fear.

After all, social media is ultimately about real human contact.

[If you haven't seen it already, take a look at my video about making films as a kid, "Crazy Adventures: Why I'm Here!"]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Forced Digitization?

I really think that the full digital transition of our society is rapidly becoming inevitable.

I've been  having increasing issues just trying to receive newspapers at my home.  I receive the Los Angeles Times seven days a week, and the New York Times on Sunday - yet the carrier who delivers both papers can't seem to dependably deliver them  - or mis-delivers the papers to another door - this despite the fact that I'm the only apartment in the vicinity that seems to receive a newspaper at all...

By contrast, I can receive the digital facsimile edition of both papers at a steep discount, , and be guaranteed delivery every morning.  With the Ipad (poor me may be forced to buy one!), I can read the papers as casually and easily as I can the paper edition.    I'm seriously starting to wonder why I'm bothering the hassle of fighting with customer service and paying a premium for it!

I wonder if the newspaper will one day go the way of the telegraph - and perhaps used in paper form only as keepsakes for special occasions....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

YouTube Pondered

One of the challenges of both learning and anticipating the social media world is the very fact that it's constantly changing and reforming.  Another challenge is the fact that the applications of social media are as varied as the individuals that use them.

In the case of YouTube, I've now created sixty videos of varied format (and, yes, quality), to better understand the environment - and what I might want for it (for that matter, where I fit in the YT universe). In some ways, I'm still not certain of my ultimate "product."  While I'm very much convinced of my theory that YT and social media is a third creative platform, I'm not entirely certain of my long-term destiny in this world..

As I was pondering this blog entry, one of my vlogging mentors, Andymooseman "liked" a video from a couple of years ago from another YT friend, Kenrg that perhaps best explains this difficulty I'm experiencing...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's a Documentary on YouTube?

Having spent a years creating for traditional media, I find the experience of creating non-fiction for YouTube an entirely new challenge.  Though production and editing skills come in handy, the requirements of the genre are entirely different - for a wide range of reasons.  Almost ever genre appears on  YouTube, but in terms of offering audience-friendly documentary video, there are special considerations (Since many vlogs on YouTube are non-fiction by nature, I'll limit my discussion to the documentary form).

First, lengths are short in this world.  Though some create (or adapt) longer videos by posting multi-part videos, more effective programs are between 1:30 and 3:00 in length.

Effective YouTube videos offer a means of engagement, usually through the individual creator; in other words, the filmmaker is part of the story - he or she is taking you on a journey.  Even if the filmmaker doesn't appear in the video, the audience perceives this as a personal form of expression.  YouTube channels maintained by entities (i.e. corporations or comedy groups or otherwise more impersonal entities) can be successful, but are by their nature less engaging.

The technical considerations, for the professional, might seem difficult to accept.  Many successful YouTubers have only most rudimentary production skills - what they do have is the will and spirit to create.  While many are very interested in improving their game, production-wise, they're also interested in maintaining the ability to express themselves simply and directly.  To the YouTube audience, that is most important.

Renetto, whom I've mentioned here before, is a true documentarian in this world, and has developed a large, loyal following over several years on YouTube   He now shoots with the HD Cam on his iPhone 4 - he records and comments on his everyday life, including his family and his teenage kids.  He's honest, opinionated, and, after having had the chance to speak with him at  the "Vidcon" YouTuber's conference a couple of weeks back, I feel he's a true sage of the YouTube community.   Another YouTuber, ShayCarl, also records his family's life - he has a younger family, and offers a hipper take on the idea (think the popularity of reality television versus the traditional documentary).  He's currently one of the top personalities on YouTube.  Both offer a good representation on non-fiction in this genre.

Like everything in the YouTube world, the documentary world here is just taking shape.  Though I actually started creating on here with the idea that I was exploring a new world, I've since come to understand that I'm merging my old one, too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pathway Challenges

As new as I am to being an "active" member of the social media community, I have nevertheless become a passionate advocate - urging friends, associates, and industry contacts to learn and find ways of using social media to achieve their specific goals and ambitions.  Everyone's different, and individuals will find their own pathway through this forest of opportunities.

I'm constantly exploring and seeking out my own pathway.  Even as I urge others to take the time to understand how these tools work, I'm expanding my knowledge base and seeking out the right combination that will work for my goals.

Of course, my challenge lies in the fact that my goals are shifting as I focus on the emerging opportunities in social media.  I am already serving as a consultant to a number of clients and firms on social media matters; and in the past - even before my current YouTube efforts, I wrote several corporate blogs for a former employer and a number of individual clients.

Until I became active,  I didn't anticipate the clear opportunities that increased awareness and use of YouTube-type social media are making available.  To spread the word, as it were, individuals will need to use the tools.

Before you began using Facebook - did you "get it?"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Me 2.0

[See the vlog]

I like to think of YouTube  (and really, social media in general) as personally directed, ongoing reality shows.  Like reality shows, the truth isn't quite what it seems.  We present to the world an interpretation of ourselves as we would like the world to see us.  Even the most honest skilled "lifestreamers" (as Renetto calls it), present a subjective view of their own lives.  A camera is as small as an iPhone, impacts those around it.  

Camera placement, editing and the very events the vlogger chooses to share create an online reality that is harsher, grittier, or simpler and more peaceful than the off-screen reality. 

That's the nature of non-fiction in any form.  In fact, it's the reality of human existence.  While some people are more honest than others, we generally adjust our behavior in reaction to the circumstances  that surround us.  Yes, some are truer to themselves than others, but living in a society of any sort requires a set of behavior in order to function successfully.

In my short YouTube history, part of the fun has been discovering my online persona.  I've shared similar experiences with a number of YouTubers I met at Vidcon.  Each related their own period of discovery as they tried a number of approaches as they developed their unique personal brand.  Many successful vloggers ultimately found an approach that incorporated and enhanced elements of who they already were, and in time found that their online persona and offline reality merged into what we might call "Me 2.0."

Social media and social networking in general has changed, at least for a portion of society, how people interact on both a daily and long term basis.  The concept of a personal brand is critical to understand for anyone hoping to use these tools to achieve specific goals.  

Obviously, I'm a big fan of social media.  I have to admit, however, that as I dig deeper and deeper into this world, I have to wonder if we was a society are entering a uniquely self-absorbed age.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

YouTube is a Secret

One of the most extraordinary facts of Vidcon was the fact that press coverage was almost non-existent.  The single article in the business section of the Los Angeles Times focused almost entirely on the partner program, and virtually ignored the many ways in which users are finding ways of making YouTube (and social media in general) work to achieve their goals.

Perhaps the fact that Los Angeles is essentially a company town explains the focus on YouTube stars, and the fact that there is a large concentration of them in Los Angeles.  It seems  as if it is becoming a mecca for the biggest stars.  Joe Penna, known on YouTube's MysteryGuitarMan, says in the article that "L.A. is like YouTube.  It's a place where I can do whatever I want.  Where else can you do that?"  He moved to L.A. from Boston.

The article is focused almost entirely on L.A. as the growing center of YouTube activity, and completely misses the bigger story of YT as an entrepreneurial tool.   Based upon the article, one would think that the gathering was simply one step above a fan convention.

There might have been other stories about Vidcon, but I'm not aware of any other media coverage.  Perhaps that's what makes my involvement and exploration of the YouTube so exciting - it almost seems as if it's still a big secret.  Without exception, anyone I speak with outside the YouTube world shares my excitement as I describe the unfolding opportunities.

I'm convinced that this will all change - I'm amazed that is hasn't already.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vidcon: So, What Does It All Mean?

I could go on for days and weeks about the atmosphere at Vidcon, the YouTube conference that just concluded here in Los Angeles - but I was just considering the lasting impressions left from the experience.

After spending three days immersed in YouTube culture, I'm more convinced than ever that this is really the beginning of a widespread revolution in human interaction.  As huge as YouTube has become, it's true power as a community still remains largely unknown beyond those of us who have chosen to be content creators. The YT world is empowering on so many different levels, it's almost overwhelming.

The difficulty that many people still have with social media, and social networking in general, is understanding how to use it effectively.  I know many people that realize that they should be involved in social media, but don't quite understand yet what that means or entails.  Complicating the matter is the fact that the rules are being invented daily.  Social media and social networking are strategies, not destinations, so they require a customized approaching depending on who you are and your goals and ambitions.

Vidcon consisted of 1,400 people, each building their own personal brand - each brand as unique as each individual.  Some are singers or musicians - others have tech shows, and still others are comedians.  There are some developed strategies in building a following on YouTube, but professional strategies - how to make money on YT - are still being developed.   The most successful YT partners are making a good living - but many other YouTubers are finding ways to put the platform to work to achieve their individual goals.  It's the ultimate in niche marketing - figure out what your brand is, and how to get the word out to the YouTube population, and you will find your specific audience.  If you're really lucky, you'll engage your audience and find ways of sustaining their interest. To some, that extends only to t-shirts and CD's, but also includes books, professional services, and consulting.  As the old cliche goes, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Having said all that - this is a world at the dawn of its creation.  To really be effective in this world, I think, content creators also need to help "spread the word" about the possibilities of social media.  After seeing the sea of talent (of all types and ages) at Vidcon, I'm convinced that the YouTube/social media environment (YouTube won't always be the only game in town) could be the most exciting entrepreneurial opportunity in generations.

It's not there yet, but  one way or another, it will be.

(and yes, I'm still on my Vidcon high.  Is it that obvious?)

Sunday, July 11, 2010


It's just before the evening concert here at Vidcon, so I thought I would take the opportunity to update my activities today.

This has been another day of bonding with the YT community, talking more with Renetto, while gaining some insight into the evolution of the YT experience over the last few years.  I attended a couple of sessions - one having to do with copyright protection, and another about the convergence (or lack thereof) of social media and Hollywood.

The copyright wandered endlessly without a moderator (or at least without an effective moderator).   The main questions revolved around YT's copyright protection scheme, which allows for copyright holders (or those that purport to be copyright holders) to protect an individual's video, and demand it's removal (or at least suspension) pending investigation.  For those in the profit-sharing YouTube partner program, the removal of a video is an impact on their ability to earn profits; for the rest of us, it's a major annoyance without a easy avenue for appeal.

I went to a YouTube-moderated session about technical improvements, both recent and future, and the discussion about other possible improvements to the site.  I'll have more on some of what I learned in a future vlog.  This session proved to be the most useful, with nuts and bolts information I could apply immediately.

The session on convergence offered - for me, anyway - the coolest moment of the day, as Internet Raconteur  Mikaleh stood up to berate an audience member who asked panelists Charlie McDonnel and Dave Days if they every had to to deal with resentment from struggling actors - the ubiquitous waiters who work for years to make it big - who might resent their "instant" success.  Mickalah pointed out forcefully that their success came out of hard, dedicated work over a period of years, and that anyone who felt otherwise was  simply to be be ignored (to which Charlie and Dave agreed).

In addition Renetto, I made a number of new friends - a couple of which I wanted to mention here.  Will, know on YT as TheCreativeJournal is a relatively new vlogger, like myself, and was having a great time discovering the community - vlogging his experiences.  I've been shooting, but quickly decided that my best bet was to cut together my experiences in one vlog....

I interviewed Camillo, a fourteen year old filmmaker (he'll appear on the vlog) who has been creating on YouTube for the past year as Hoptheborderstudios, and told how he clearly remembers getting on YouTube for the first time in 2006.  His family doesn't own a television - he gets all of his entertainment online.

Now, on to Day Three!

Friday, July 9, 2010


I'm about to go home and work tonight's vlog, but I wanted to take a few moments to summarize my final thoughts today.

I've had a great time, as you may have guessed from my first few entries here.  I've gotten to know quite a few veteran and new vloggers, and gained some reinforcement about what I'm doing - and where my place might be in this YouTube world.  I seem to be one of the rare exceptions in the professional non-fiction field to take social media seriously, based on the reactions I've been getting from a number of people - so I feel that I'm on the right track working to demystify  the YT community for that crowd.  I also feel that it can work both ways - I also think I have something to offer vloggers out there in terms of my experience in production.  There's a real interest with many vloggers in upping their game - and I think (perhaps) I can help in that regard.

As I said earlier, the kids I see remind me of the young filmmaker I was - kids are taking this seriously, listening closely at the various break-out sessions, and working hard on their vlogs.

I've had some great discussions with a number of people about the future of YT and social media, and I look forward to more such discussions.

I didn't quite shoot as much footage as I perhaps had anticipated - I'll try to work on that more tomorrow.

New subscribers continue to pop up courtesy of Renetto - it helps to have friends in YouTube places.  I've been lucky to have a few good ones, and I'm happy to add one more!  Thanks, Renetto (and all my new subscribers, when you get here!)


The most interesting development since my last entry was a conversation I had with Renetto, a vlogger who practices what he calls "lifestreaming" - recording his day to day life as completely as he can.  Today, that included an interview with me about my perspective on YouTube as a professional documentary filmmaker:

As is his practice, Renetto posted my video within the hour, and on his recommendation, I've already received a number of new subscribers.  In the YouTube world, that's an important technique in building your base - get endorsed by, or interact with other vloggers.  I'm still developing my technique (as one comment on the channel pointed out), but the growing base allows me to continue the process and receive more feedback.

I'll be looking forward to posting my summary vlog later tonight - and applying all I've learned here (and in other ways over the last few weeks) in the weeks and months to come.


I finally had a few moments to send up a report.  It's the lunch break here at Vidcon.

I arrived early - the conference is in a particularly congested part of town, so I made sure i had plenty of time to get here - not so much to get here early - but to avoid the traffic nightmare.

I'm enjoying the experience so far, but I have to admit that I'm not really learning anything I didn't already know.  It's been interesting to observe the crowd - so familiar faces, some no-so-familar, and others that are just wide-eyed kids with dreams.  It reminds me of when I was making films at 12 or 13 years old.

The Vlogbrothers - Hank and John Green, started out the session in the main conference hall, after which YouTube reps came out and discussed some of the recent and future adjustments to the YouTube world, the most dramatic of which is a program for YouTube partners, which will create a $1,000,000 fund to help partners with their more ambitious projects.  I wonder if non-profits should consider establishing similar funds for non-partner YouTubers  - I think there could be an argument for helping some of the more successful non-partners succeed, as well.  There are some great voices out there.

Haven't talked to as many people yet as I would like to - working on that.

All in all, so far, so good.  You can't go wrong when your first conversation of the day is with a puppet!

Vidcon Report 1

Morning began with everyone in the main hall - greetings from the Vlogbrothers - who organized Vidcon, YouTube corporate presentation a d some entertainment - extremely excited crowd. More later!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, July 8, 2010

There's NoCon Without Vidcon

BillTVMacon, a vlogger and former radio personality, will be leading NoCon2010, a YouTube channel for those who aren't attending the VidCon YouTube conference.  It's a simple online community gathering/discussion that will address one focus question each day: on Friday, the topic will be "how to get noticed;" on Saturday, production will be discussed, and on Sunday, the future and direction of YT will be debated.  It's a simple idea, and being a wide-open forum, I'm sure it will take some unusual directions - but I really do like the concept, especially for non-YT vets.  I'd be all over it, if I wasn't a YesCon guy....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Story. Telling.

I wanted to share with you a recent vlog by OhCurt, one of the vloggers I met during a meet-up in Santa Monica several months ago.  Though Curt's not a video professional, he has a great sense of story.  His recent vlog, "Green," is about his decision to leave Los Angeles in search of greener pastures in Northern California.

Look at the video, and you'll notice classic storytelling.  There's a beginning, a middle and an end in the vlog, even though it's just under three and a half minutes.  First, Curt makes a decision: he needs to leave Los Angeles.  Then, he heads out on the road and ponders the process of making the huge decision to leave his hometown.  Finally, he comes to a conclusion and expresses some peace of mind about the path he's now pursuing.

It's a simple, direct story - a lesson that can be applied in whatever type of video you're creating online, even if it's just a couple of minutes long.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Portrait of Our Time?

As someone who has made his living in non-fiction video, I'm fascinated with the idea of YouTube as a huge, subject-controlled reality program.  From the most intellectual vlogs, to the most disconnected teen (or adult, for that matter) stream-of-consciousness montages, I watch lives of all kinds unfold uncensored by an outside visitor.

In some ways, these self-produced videos are a truer portrait of individual lives than any documentarian could capture.  Some individuals find the intimacy liberating, and share with the world what they wouldn't dream of sharing with immediate friends and family.  The intensity and fun of teen life can't be captured any more honestly than by teens themselves, without adults around to influence behavior.

Of course, not everyone is honest with the camera, or at ease with sharing their lives and thoughts.  Many posture and present their interpretation of the person they wish the world to see.  Even that deception is fascinating.  I find it interesting to look at the sum total of a YouTuber's work to decipher just who they really are.  In the documentary world, there's a constant debate about the degree to which the camera influences what the audience sees on the screen.  Even when the subject is in control of the camera, and the footage that is actually posted, they are influenced by the nature of the social media world.  YouTubers like Renetto provide an ongoing narrative of their lives; but their lives are impacted by the very activity of creating that narrative. [Interesting side note:  Renetto now shoots and edits his vlogs entirely using his new iPhone 4]

I would hope that the billions of hours of video being uploaded to YouTube are somehow preserved for future generations - for within all of this content is, perhaps, the most complete portrait in history of a people and a time.  But who are those people?

In total, what do all of us on YouTube represent in the story of our time?


Sunday, July 4, 2010

I'm Going to Vidcon

[The Vlog on this subject:]

Right now, I know that some of my vlogging mentors are slapping their palms to their foreheads!  Vidcon?  Are you kidding?

Many argue, with some validation, that YouTube gatherings should be organic affairs, and that there certainly shouldn't be hefty admission fees associated attendance at these events.  While I agree that most gatherings of YouTubers and YouTube enthusiasts should be as open as possible, I look at this specific as an opportunity to gain a sense of both the YT community, and the approach the entertainment industry at large is taking with the YT phenomena.

This is a world that is being defined by independent creators from young children to the elderly; it's a form that is being invented every day.  It's also a form, I believe, that offers great opportunity.   What does opportunity mean on YT and in social media at large?   For most, social media and YouTube is simply and purely a means for self expression.   To some seeking more tangible "success" on YouTube, the prospect of a YouTube partnership (a profit sharing arrangement offered to successful YouTubers) looms large; to others, it's a means to drive other ventures: selling or promoting music or a musician (so many have already heard the instant legend:  Justin Bieber came out of YouTube).  To the media at large, it's seen as a way to drive traditional media - everything from trailers to exclusive video content.  The "Fred" YT phenomena of a couple of years ago led to a movie deal for the teen creator.  For most, social media and YouTube is simply and purely a means for self expression.

My belief, however, is the greatest opportunities for social media lay just over the horizon.  If social media is a platform of self-expression distinct form television and movies, then I believe it will evolve and become something that individuals will produce for in its on right - not as a means to another end.  The kids today that create YouTube videos as a means to develop a career in movies will create tomorrow to build a career in social media.  

I'm going to Vidcon to better understand the direction of the social media community (while clearly recognizing of course, that many others can't be there).

Where do you think social media is going?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Leadership and Social Media: Your Thoughts?

Vlogger Kenrg recently sent me this excellent quote about leadership.

"To lead people walk beside them ... As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate... When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!'" - Lao Tsu

I have a particular interest in leadership and leadership development. I find the challenge of being a good and effective leader to be one of the more fascinating aspects of human interaction.  My work as a filmmaker demands leadership; I've also been in the position of encouraging leadership; and finally, I've been involved in team situations under both poor and excellent leaders.

I will soon be introducing an important new section of this blogsite that will explore the existing and potential of leadership as it relates to social media.   Here and on my vlog,  I'll relate some of my own experiences, and how I've learned the hard way about the challenge of leadership.  More critically, how do we define leadership in the world of social media?  Who are the leaders and trendsetters in this world - or is the overall world of social media, by its very nature, leaderless?

I would like to explore how individuals are using social media as a tool as a leadership tool:  How do you use social media in establishing your credentials as a leader in your field - or, how do use social media to lead a team toward a focused goal?

I look forward to your responses and experience, everywhere from school (where we all first observed poor and great leadership in our teachers) to the workplace.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Chocolate Vlog!

See the vlog at:

About a week ago, I ordered a custom chocolate bar from .  From the long list of choices, I chose a milk chocolate bar mixed by five handpicked ingredients: Banana granola, hot curry powder, Kit Cat chocolate bar pieces, mango "dices," and organic roasted peanuts.   I ordered the hot curry powder not only because of my curiosity, but because I thought it would add some "spice" to my vlog.

Within hours of my order, I learned that my chocolate bar had already shipped.  It arrived on a Saturday, two days later.  In anticipation of shooting the vlog, I left it the box in which it was mailed.  I actually didn't get to shoot the vlog for four days.  Since Thursday is said to be one of the best days to post on YouTube, the timing would be perfect.

I recorded the vlog with great anticipation.  Would the curry powder blow smoke out of my ears?  To be honest, I was a bit surprised that the result, while absolutely delicious (how could it go wrong when I chose all the ingredients?), I have to admit I was a little disappointed that the curry powder didn't seem to impact the taste.  Of course, by loading the chocolate bar with a full list of ingredients, maybe the competing tastes cancelled each other out - I don't cook too often, so what do I know?   In retrospect, I wonder if I should have settled on fewer ingredients.  Hmmm....I guess I'm need to order ANOTHER Chocomize - there are worse fates, I think....

As for the vlog, even without the (anticipated) surprises, I think it came out okay.  With music and some special effects (taste test instant replay), I think it came out okay.  What do you think?