Who Are You?

I’ve had some really interesting experiences as of late, which all revolve around the question “Who Are You?”. Not the absolutely unknowing question, as in “Who IS that over there?”, but the arrogant question “Who are YOU?”.

Let’s get it straight off the bat. “Who you are” is relative and completely subjective.

Am I an Emmy Award-Winning video editor? Yes I am. Have I been a National *and* International Emmy Awards Judge for several years? Yes I have. Does that have *ANYTHING* to do with how I interact with people? No, it does not.

2007 International Emmy Award JudgingBill Cammack & Elizabeth Hummer 1999-2000 New York Emmy Award WinnersDave & Bill @ NYNATAS - Emmy Judging

This is because what I’ve accomplished is NOT “who I am”. Similarly, what other people have NOT accomplished is NOT “who they are”, either. To take that one level further… Not knowing that someone’s accomplished something does not make them NOBODY or INFERIOR. Learning that someone HAS accomplished something doesn’t automatically make them SOMEBODY or SUPERIOR, either.

I touched on this topic peripherally in “How’s your logo working for you?” when I mentioned meeting Nathan Freitas. To expand… We had just come from a great frisbee game, and a bunch of us headed out to celebrate and socialize afterwards. I had played against Nate, and I thought he did well, and I hadn’t met him before, so I introduced myself to him. He didn’t recognize my name, and I didn’t recognize his, but he knew of ReelSolid.TV, and he and I had actually had text-based interaction way before meeting IRL because he had commented on a video I did about men’s suits. Interestingly enough, even though I knew NOTHING about Cruxy.com at the time, I knew I had a picture with Mike Hudack while he was wearing a Cruxy shirt. Nate immediately and adamantly informed me that I was mistaken, at which time I turned on my camera and produced said picture:

Bill & Mike

The point that’s relevant to this particular post is that I didn’t go from “nobody” to “somebody” when Nate figured out “who I was”. I went from “a person” to “a person that Nate had heard of, and whose work he had seen”. Same thing with me. For me, Nate went from “a frisbee opponent” to “someone I’ve met who runs a site where artists can upload their work and get paid for it”.

Most people who meet me have no idea “who I am”, and I like it that way. They have no idea that I’m an MIT graduate. They have no idea that I’m DatingGenius.

Limor, Phil & Bill
Brass Rats: Phil, Limor, Bill

I like it that way, because people are REAL when they don’t have a reason to sweat you. I love being “judged” by what people see when they look at me. 😀 I love it when people play themselves, because there’s no returning from that. It’s like “Before you knew who you were talking to, you acted totally differently towards me”.

Anyway… I’ve had several interesting interactions over the last three weeks, revolving around the question “Who are YOU?”

I ended up at this party, and I saw this random chick hanging out with three of my homegirls. Out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to introduce myself to her. What I intended to do was say hello to her and move on to hanging out with my actual friends. So I say “Hi. I’m Bill”, and her response is “You sent me a friends request on Facebook, and I declined it”. HAHAHA So I’m like ?????? because this is a totally new situation for me. Usually, when chicks don’t accept you on Facebook, that’s because they don’t want to talk to you AT ALL, so when they’re around you, they don’t say jack to you. So I’m like “Wait a minute… Let me get this straight. You just informed me that I friended you on Facebook so you could tell me that you didn’t accept it? :D” and she’s like “Yeah… Who the hell are YOU?”

So, this was really funny, considering that I have over 500 Facebook contacts and over 280 Linkedin contacts and over 650 Twitter contacts and over 600 MySpace contacts, not to mention people that know “who I am” all over the planet, from Hawaii to the U.K. to Tokyo to The Netherlands to California to NYC. Meanwhile, I introduced myself to this chick “cold”, not recognizing her face or body from anywhere, and not recognizing her as someone that I sent a Facebook friends invite to. In the future, when I figured out “who she was”, I realized that I had friended her because I saw that we had 17 mutual friends. There was nothing interesting or appealing about her. Similar to what happened IRL, I was extending the hand of friendship to someone who was friends with friends of mine.

So I found the question “Who the hell are YOU?” to be ridiculous, because it was as if she was requesting for me to audition to be her Facebook friend when I didn’t give a damn about her in the first place. It was like *I* had something to gain from it. Meanwhile, I could have ignored her completely and interacted with my actual friends and my day would have been exactly the same, except for a funny story to tell about how people get souped up and think they’re worth knowing for some odd reason. 🙂

Another interesting reaction I got recently was at a party. At some point, I took a picture with some chick that I had met that night. About 22 hours after I posted the picture to my flickr stream, I got an email from her with some sob story about the reason why she was asking me to take it down. I didn’t believe a word she said, but I gladly made it private, because every picture I take and post is with people that want to take pictures with me. Just the fact that she was asking me to remove it was grounds for removal. The question here is… Why the hell are you taking pictures with people and not expecting those pictures to arrive on the net? The only uneducated guess I can come up with is that because she had never seen me before, she didn’t figure that a picture she took with me would end up anywhere of note. According to her sob story, she didn’t want certain people to see her partying. The question becomes a) Why were you partying in the first place, and b) Why were you taking pictures with people if you didn’t want to be spotted partying?

Last week, I approached this chick who’s active in social media and is always asking her ‘fans’ for things. When she sends out mass emails, she’s all friendly and acting like she knows who it is that she’s interacting with and cares about them. However, when I arrived, not only was she completely disinterested in who I might be, but she failed to even state what her name was. I didn’t bother asking her because I already knew her name and what she does. I found it funny how someone could be such a beggar in social media, yet totally didn’t promote herself IRL. What sense does it make to make contacts with people via computer and then alienate them in person?

OTOH… There are lots of people that I met during PodCampNYC or at various Twitter Meetups or Meetup Meetups that are either AS GENUINE as they appear online or even MORE SO. 😀 A lot of what we experience of people on the net is merely the characters they’re portraying in their “shows”. When the cameras aren’t rolling, and it’s down to one-on-one communication and interaction, that’s where people really shine or they don’t. That’s where you get to see how people act when there’s nothing in it for them. No audience. No revenue-sharing. No business deals. Just you and them. Person to Person. Face to Face. What’s it like for you to be around them? What’s it like for them to be around you?

Bill & PhilAnnie, Patty, Joe, Roxanne & ChristineKathryn, Christian & Bill

Ultimately, the question “Who are you?” is unimportant. What’s important is how you carry yourself and interact with others. On the spur of the moment, when you meet someone, how do you react to them? How do you interact with them? Do you act differently based on their accomplishments or who they know? Can you have a good time with people that are willing to have a good time with you? What’s the threshold above which you’re willing to interact with someone standing next to you? Someone that sends you a social media ‘friends request’? Someone that’s a friend of a friend of yours, but you haven’t had personal contact with yet?

Is social media merely a networking tool for you, or are you looking to enrich your life by meeting interesting and intelligent people and cultivating relationships with them?

2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

NATAS + MySpace = 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

National Television Academy press release

LOS ANGELES – January 8, 2007 – MySpace, the world’s leading lifestyle portal, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, presenters of the coveted Emmy® Awards, today announced they have joined forces to honor premium broadband content on the Internet. MySpace will serve as the exclusive online partner of the Broadband Emmy Award submissions, empowering video producers and filmmakers to submit self-generated content for consideration through the official MySpace Emmy profile at http://myspace.com/MyEmmy.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences debuted its first Emmy Award for content distributed via broadband and portable delivery last year and honored creators in four categories. This year, The Academy will triple the number, honoring creators in 12 categories in four content areas: Entertainment, Sports, News & Information, and Public & Community Service. In addition, high school students are eligible for the National Television Student Awards for Excellence for broadband-delivered content in all seven student categories. Read entire NTA press release…

Now THIS is going to be interesting. 😀

[Full Disclosure: I am a NATAS Emmy Judge as well as an International Emmy Judge]

There are several ongoing debates within the community of people and groups who make videos and post their created content on the Internet. One of them is “what is and what is _not_ a video blog”. There’s another debate about videos posted in “closed” environments vs those posted in ways that make them accessible to whomever happens to be searching the net for video content. A MAJOR debate is what aggregators should and should not be doing with RSS feeds from either content creators or hosting sites.

Yet another daily debate is “what is QUALITY content?” or perhaps “what makes a show popular” or “what makes a show _good_”. The problem, IMO, with making distinctions about what constitutes a popular show is that depending on where you look and how you look at it, shows that get similar amounts of hits can be spun to look like either one is more “successful”. There is no agreed-upon site that can actually track site date consistently and accurately.

This makes sense, because there’s no bottleneck… Meda that goes to the internet goes straight out. It doesn’t have to go through EPs, producers, editors, quality control, legal, studios, stations, channels, local distribution points, cable boxes, televisions. There’s nowhere you can go and say “this show delivered 80,000 units through here and that show delivered 50,000 units, so the first show has more viewership for this period.

On top of that, there are several ways to get data from a site. If someone goes to my web site, they might view a page and then not view the video. They might open the page but not read anything on it at all. They might bypass the main page because they linked to a permalink for one post. They might not hit my site’s pages at all if they subscribe to my videos in RSS. They might not hit the RSS more than once if they are downloading the videos and watching them offline. So… if one site uses page hits to judge popularity and another site uses video downloads, they’re going to see things completely differently, even looking at the exact same site. If you have to have a particular widget installed to count in the rankings, you can forget it entirely as far as accuracy. Anyone who hits the site without being “part of the program” doesn’t count in the stats.

Anyway, I doubt the 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards will have anything to do with page hits and downloads. The Emmys in general are about quality content and quality production values. That’s what makes this contest interesting. MSM (Main Stream Media) is now getting involved in putting clips on the internet in mass quantities. All of a sudden, there are videos on MySpace with laugh-tracks. :/ All of a sudden, a “new” show appears with 30 episodes uploaded on the same day! :/ Reading the eligibility requirements for the MySpace contest, “Repurposed material originally produced for traditional media is not eligible”. That’s good, because cutting three minutes out of a professionally produced, shot and edited piece shouldn’t put you in position to compete with someone that made their video specifically for the internet. That doesn’t mean the internet piece isn’t well done or professionally produced, but it’s apples vs. oranges.

The first category open for submissions is “Entertainment”. It’s open right now, and “News & Documentary” opens on Feb. 26th. They both close on March 26, and finalists will be notified in April.

As usual, make sure you read the fine print in contests or even when you choose a hosting service to upload your videos to. Check out these terms of service in The Rules of the MySpace My Emmy contest:

By entering the Contest, you grant Sponsors a perpetual, fully-paid, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, sub-license, exhibit, transmit, broadcast, televise, digitize, otherwise use, and permit others to use and perform throughout the universe the Material (including without limitation, the underlying intellectual property therein to the extent necessary to exploit Material) in any manner, form, or format now or hereinafter created, including, but not limited to, on the Internet, and for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising or promotion of Sponsors and their services, all without further consent from or payment to you. The completion, expiration and/or termination of the Contest shall not affect Sponsors’ rights regarding Materials or Sponsors’ other rights hereunder. Sponsors shall have, forever and throughout the universe, the right to use such Material in any manner as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, including without limitation, the right to make changes, alterations, cuts, edits, interpolations, deletions and eliminations into and from such Material and the right to package such Material with those rendered by other Entrants in connection with the exploitation of such Material, all without further consent from or payment to you.

That’s fantastic! Look how progressive those terms are! Throughout the universe! 😀 Wow! They must know something we don’t know about pending space travel. Anyway… here’s the link to the Broadband Rules from MyEmmy.TV. If you’re willing to pay the $400 entry fee, you can skip all the TOS shenanigans and soul-selling.

The MyEmmy.TV page also includes the Judging Procedures & Criteria:

JUDGING PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA:

Content, Creativity and Execution are the primary standards for judging. Each criterion is given equal weight.

Judges will focus on the clarity of presentation of information, as well as the visual impact of the entry. Judges can also give weight to the entrant’s utilization of “broadband” capabilities, (e.g., interactivity, and viewers’ choice of images). Although any entry originally produced for “broadband” transmission is eligible to compete, the more the web’s capabilities are demonstrated in the production, the better the chances may be for winning.

Advocacy and presentation of strong points of view are eligible for award consideration. “Self-published” work by individuals as well as production entities is also eligible for consideration.
All “Broadband” entries/URLs will be viewed at home and judged in one round to determine the nominees and winner. Judging panels will consist of content experts rather than technicians. There will be separate panels for each category, although there may be an overlap with some judges serving on more than one panel. Judges vote via secret ballot using a scale of 10 for the highest and 1 for the lowest rating in each area (Content, Creativity, and Execution), for a total of 30 possible points.

OK… So I see what’s going on now. 🙂 Myspace is holding a contest in which the winners will be sponsored to the official Emmy competition. There are going to be two levels of judging. You can skip one level altogether by paying the entry fee and going straight to http://www.myemmy.tv/ . If my understanding after skimming the official entry rules is correct, as long as you made your content specifically for the internet, any level of professional involvement, time or money spent on the project is fine.

I’ll be interested to see what MySpace promotes to entrance in the actual Broadband Emmy Awards. Let’s see if any of the “mom & pop” user-generated content gets the nod over studio-produced work. I’ll refrain from mentioning any shows that I think could compete favorably… VERY favorably in the competition, just in case my region is involved in the judging and asks me to participate.

Either way, I think both the MySpace contest and the official Broadband Emmy Awards are fantastic ways for content creators to gain exposure and/or accolades. It’s definitely worth considering entering… whether it’s a video that was already done (since March 2nd, 2006) or one that you’re planning up until April 2007.

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack