How do you read Twitter?

I’m pretty sure I first became aware of Twitter two years ago around the time SXSWi 2007 was going on. It was fun to keep up with who was at which party and who was trying to get a cab home or to the next event.

Once I got involved with Twitter, I noticed that there were two styles of following people:

  1. Follow only people you actually know or want to read.
  2. Follow everyone that follows you (not including spammers, etc).

Steve Garfield from SteveGarfield.com apparently subscribes to #2. Steve is currently following 10,666 people @ twitter.com/stevegarfield while 9,714 people follow him. (note: Steve speaks about this in the comments below. Click Here to jump to Steve’s reply)

Meanwhile, Veronica Belmont appears to subscribe to #1 and is currently following 480 people @ twitter.com/veronica while 154,033 people follow her.

The question is “Which style works best for you?”.

Off the bat, following everyone didn’t work for me. That was when I was only following 200 people. I’m currently following 2,067 people @ twitter.com/billcammack, while 2,324 people follow me.

The first thing I did, back in the “200” days was make another account strictly for following the local NYC Twitterers (Yes, “Twitterers”. If they wanted their posts called Tweets and their users Tweeters, they should have named their app “Tweeter”. Too Late.). That worked well until basically all of the people I was following stopped using Twitter to make plans, favoring more private apps. Continue reading “How do you read Twitter?”

Blip on Blip #30: Grace Piper – “Fearless Cooking”


Formats Available: iPod (.mp4) | 720p HD (.mp4)

Behind the scenes @ blip.tv.
Prod/Edit/Camera: Bill Cammack

blip.tv’s Dina Kaplan interviews Grace Piper about social media, branding and her show/site Fearless Cooking

Grace Piper & Dina Kaplan

Shoutouts, Cameos & Photo Credits in this video:
Steve Garfield
Chris Brogan
Jeff Pulver
Laura Fitton
Sunny Gault
Charles Hope
Brian Shaler
NoodleScar
MissBHavens
Galacticast
VON
The Webby Awards
Bill Cammack

Jose, Kathryn, Steve, Hilary & Charles

Jose Castillo (ThinkJose), Kathryn Jones, Steve Garfield, Hilary McHone & Charles Hope

Talkin’ Loud (or just A LOT) and Sayin’ Nothin’!

2008 is going to be the year when “Live” becomes a MAJOR player as far as video on the internet. IMO, Qik is the frontrunner right now, with live mobile. The first person I was aware of running around town with a Nokia N-Series phone was Steve Garfield. Eventually, I became aware of Rupert Howe over in “Jolly Old”, filming, editing and uploading from his Nokia. At the time, it was quaint. At this point, it’s turned into a fad, and more and more people are “going live”. Not that what Steve or Rupert were doing was live video, but it was as close as you could get at the time.

Meanwhile, status update sites became all the rage. Now, whenever you want, you can broadcast to your “followers” what you’d like them to know. You can also receive information from people before it makes MSM headlines, like some bridge falling down in some town nobody’s paying attention to. As long as SOMEBODY sees it and twitters it (or pownce, jaiku…), relatively immediately, we know in New York City what’s going on in the sticks.

Unfortunately, all this new “look at me” media doesn’t come with a manual. πŸ˜€ It shouldn’t come with a manual, because that way, all the new people flooding in don’t mentally restrict themselves to the purported use of the site or app. However, for people that don’t understand how media works, they could end up broadcasting things they didn’t intend to, such as their lack of relevance and/or interesting things to say, and in the worst-case scenario… that they just don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s nothing wrong with that, but people need to be aware that they’re doing this to themselves.

This post isn’t for/about people that frivolously post text/audio/video on the internet as something to do. This is for people trying to make a name for themselves as knowledgeable people within their particular echo chamber.

There’s a difference between demonstrating that you own something and demonstrating that you truly understand what it is, how it works and how to utilize it. There’s a difference between demonstrating that you know ABOUT something and demonstrating that you’re someone knowledgeable and/or respected in that field. The more you go “Look at me!!! Here I am!!! Over here!!!”, the more opportunities you’re giving people to assess what you’re bringing to the table. If what you’re bringing is usually GARBAGE, you’re better off sparing yourself so much quantity and focusing on your quality.

Let’s say, for instance, that I told you I was going to the Yankees game, and I was going to text blog what was going on. Then, during the game, you start seeing this in my twitter stream:

It’s pretty warm today, considering it’s the Ides of March
Here we GO! The Yankees are warming up
Turns out that it didn’t rain as they predicted
The other team’s taking the field, sonnnnnn
I think I’ll buy some food
What a hit! :O
Seventh Inning Stretch!
I think that’s Stacey Dash! :O
Great game! Leaving the stadium to meet up with friends

Now… The FIRST thing that’s going to come to mind is “THAT WAS THE *WORST* ACCOUNT OF A BASEBALL GAME, EVER!” The second is going to be “Remind me not to hire that guy to blog ANYTHING”. The third is going to be “That was a tremendous waste of bandwidth”… Etc etc etc… Nothing positive. The only good things derived from something like this might be “He owns a cell phone”, “He knows how to connect twitter to his phone”, “He goes to Yankees games” and “He got to see Stacey Dash in person”.

Meanwhile, you STILL didn’t get the information. So then, let’s say you asked me directly what happened during the game, and I told you this:

The Yankees were there
The other team showed up too
People in the stands had a good time
There were some pitches and some hits
A couple of guys struck out
At the end, everyone left the stadium

Do you see how RIDICULOUS that account is? You would think that I was either avoiding talking about the game on purpose or that I really didn’t go to the game AT ALL. I didn’t tell you ONE SPECIFIC INSTANCE of anything that happened at the game. I didn’t tell you what happened TO anyone in the game, pro or con. I didn’t tell you what *I* thought about what happened during the game.

So, while I thought I was being clever and technological, all I was doing was demonstrating that either I was being purposefully evasive or I can attend and watch an event without understanding what happened right in front of my face… OR that I can understand what happened, but can’t properly articulate my thoughts. NONE. OF. THOSE. ARE. GOOD. THINGS! πŸ˜€

What you say is important. What you DON’T say is also important. WHEN you say those things counts as well. If your goal is to become a credible and respected source of information for people, you need to be RELEVANT, CURRENT, KNOWLEDGEABLE and CONSISTENT.

If you can’t do that, save your text/audio/video until you have something useful to contribute.

Community vs. Territory

I watched a video just now by Laura “Pistachio” Fitton that clarified for me a distinction I wanted to make, but that previously wasn’t coming together properly for me.


“sxsw seesmic junkies dinner” [permalink]
Now, that was a table FILLED with people that I’m either in direct contact with or follow on social sites: Laura Fitton, Jane Quigley, Jim Long, Phil Campbell, Steve Garfield, Christian Payne (“Documentally”), Patty Hartwell, Shannon Newton, Cathy Brooks

Around 4 minutes 30 seconds, Cathy mentions “community”. By the smiles on the participants’ faces and the fellowship, you can tell that they are all part of a community. What made this post finally possible for me is that while they became a community because of Seesmic, they weren’t interacting via Seesmic. They were IRL, having dinner together, chatting and having a good time. Somehow, what I wanted to talk about clicked after Cathy’s speech and seeing ‘community’ exist in a totally different environment.

There’s a difference between Community and Territory.

The word ‘community’ is often used to indicate ‘territory’… Like they might have a housing project named “Chicago Community”. In fact, those houses are territory. What makes them a community is how people interact with each other WITHIN that territory. You can live near someone and have NOTHING to do with them, not even to say hello as you pass in the street. You can live far from someone and talk to them every day and spend a lot of time with them, virtually on the net or by other means.

Having this feeling of community can easily give one the feeling of dominion over a territory. This is a false feeling, with no standing or merit… UNLESS members of said community are ACTUALLY owners of the territory, appointed agents of those owners, or members of the community that are willing to stand up and accept leadership of that group, lay down laws and enforce them. When there’s nobody in charge, there ARE no rules definable by the community. There are rules definable by THE OWNERS OF THE TERRITORY, which must be followed by all inhabitants of the territory, whether they’re a part of the community or not.

Thus, as popular as *A* community might be, without authority, anything they say regarding the territory is a SUGGESTION, not a MANDATE. It carries ZERO weight, except amongst the people of THAT particular community who are willing to follow the lead of whomever stood up and decided to make a rule… such as “How people SHOULD use this site” “What’s good etiquette on this site” “What new people need to know about this site” “How long posts should be on this site” “How you have to act after you post to this site”…. etc etc etc. It’s all hogwash and trivial banter to anyone that doesn’t subscribe to the community in which this so-called leader has chosen to lay down some laws.

Now… You ask “But, what if there’s only ONE community? Doesn’t that mean community=territory?”

No. πŸ˜€

Even if there’s only one group of people in a territory that calls themselves a community, or in some cases, THE community (like THE HIP HOP VIOLINIST :/), without connection to or authority from the owners of the territory, they have ZERO say in what happens to that territory. Do they have say over their community? Absolutely. Community exists in the ‘heart’ and mind. Inside or outside of the territory, the community thrives as long as there are still people that believe in that community. Dominion over one’s community FEELS LIKE dominion over the territory that community’s sitting on when there’s nobody else there. πŸ˜€

When nobody else has access to become a member of the territory, there’s no turnover. It’s like having the air conditioning circulate air inside your house without bringing in fresh air from the outside. It’s cold, and it feels good, but it’s only representative of a tiny subset of the actual air available inside your house and outside. As soon as others are given access to the territory, strictly by definition, “the” community will shrink drastically in the percentage of the territory in which it can hold court.

As soon as you double the number of currently active participants, assuming that “the” community doesn’t welcome and absorb these new people “into the fold” and assuming everyone contributes an equal amount of posts, the visibility of “the” community is AT LEAST split in half, and they now occupy 50% of the territory. So now, there are at least TWO communities, even if they’re “the originals” and “the newjacks”. Even if the new territory members don’t form a formal community, they’re meeting each other and making connections and having conversations and adding each other to their friends lists and following and replying to their contacts’ posts. Depending on frequency of posting and replying to popular newjack threads, looking at the front page of a site, the presence of the original community (which, of course, was dominion by default, being that nobody else was there) won’t be seen as any stronger or relevant than the new territory members. As a matter of fact, “the originals” will be completely indistinguishable from “the newjacks”. This is only when you merely DOUBLE the number of active participants…..

The ‘solution’ to this is to enjoy COMMUNITY without feeling ENTITLEMENT. If you have constructive comments for people joining the territory that your community has occupied by default up until now, that’s great! πŸ˜€ If you have rules and laws and crabby things to say, “Save it for David”. What you have to say is meaningless without authority. The laws will be handed down by the owners & appointed rulers. In most cases, those are found in the ToS (Terms of Service). There’s no point in trying to defend a territory that you never owned in the first place. There’s no point in trying to maintain “market share” when eventually, ten times the number of people in your community will be “outsiders” occupying the same territory.

What you DO HAVE is YOUR COMMUNITY. You have your friends that you’ve made and socialized with and had good times with. You have the relationships you’ve fostered and the feeling of goodwill that flows between your community members. Nurture that and Enjoy It. πŸ˜€

Justin Johnson’s “Holiday Sweater” Song

Title: “The Holiday Sweater Song”
Directed/Written/Edited by Justin Johnson
Music: Steve Nelson
Vocals: Patty DeArteaga & Justin Johnson
Lyrics: Justin Johnson and Steve Nelson
Vimeo Permalink: [link]
YouTube Permalink: [link]


The Holiday Sweater Song from justin on Vimeo.

What says HOLIDAY COMFORT AND FUN more than a festive sweater, adorned with all manner of snowmen, snow women, dogs, snowflakes, and more. Let’s celebrate the beauty of holiday sweaters with some music combined with video!

HUGE thanks to all the people who submitted their videos for this, couldn’t have made it without all your support.

STARRING:
Jodi’s Kids

Alan and Wife

George and Nintern

Erik, Jared, and Lee

Giancarlo Florentini & Jon Grimm
http://wiseguypictures.net/

Amanda Ferri and Alex
http://bustedtees.com/

Shawn Pearlman

Ramon “The Iron Dove”

Steve Garfield
http://www.stevegarfield.com/

Josh Leo
http://joshleo.com/

Veronica Belmont
http://www.veronicabelmont.com/

Hayden Black
http://goodnightburbank.com/

Tim and Rachel
http://nextnewnetworks.com/

Streeter and Amir
http://collegehumor.com/

Michelle and Felicia
http://youtube.com/

Andrea Feczko
http://fastlanedaily.com/

Dave Seger
http://www.a-okfilms.com/

Dan Meth
http://methminute39.com/

Marissa Nystrom
http://celebzaredum.tumblr.com/

Erik Beck
http://indymogul.com/

Bill Cammack
http://reelsolid.tv/

Gary the Puppet

Nick and Richard
http://gawker.com/

Nick Douglas
http://valleywag.com/

Blame Society Productions
http://www.splu.net/

Erik X Raj
http://njfilmcore.com/

Kyle Fasanella
http://vilekyle.com/

The Thread Heads
http://threadbanger.com/

Halcyon
http://www.cockybastard.com/

ART BY
Ben Ross

MUSIC BY
Steve Nelson

LYRICS BY
Justin Johnson and Steve Nelson

DIRECTED / WRITTEN / EDITED BY
Justin Johnson

ReelSolid.TV 1-Year Anniversary

(Lafayette Hotel)
Neo: Whoa, deja vu.
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing, I just had a little deja vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it, was it the same cat?
Neo: Might have been, I’m not sure.
Morpheus: Switch, Apoc.
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: Deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something….

On May 27th last year (2006), I made the first post announcing Reel Solid TV. My first videoblog post was one year ago, today. [ReelSolid.TV Episode 01]

It’s been a very interesting year… kind of like a wild ride with endless twists and turns. Blogging, Videoblogging, Compression, Editing, Production, Pre-Production, Hosting, Conferences, Socializing IRL, Social Internet Networks, Festivals, New gadgets coming out every day to make it easier to connect with each other……

In the end, I look back across the last 365 days and I see 157 episodes and I don’t even feel like trying to count how many hours of content. :/ When I make a “ReelSolid.TV Season 01” DVD, I’ll let you know how long it takes to sit down and watch everything I posted in my first year of videoblogging:

MasamiBillShow – 5 Episodes (April 13, 2007 – April 24, 2007)
The Lab – 6 Episodes (March 16,2007 – April 20, 2007)
ReelSolid.TV – 49 Episodes (May 28, 2006 – May 11, 2007)
Eight Million Stories – 97 Episodes (November 20, 2006 – April 05, 2007)

I ended up with several shows because they’re all different topics, styles and lengths, and I didn’t want to dilute one show with another one. I thought that would be beneficial to me so that I could point people to one specific style of video that they might be interested in. At this point, I’m a fan of consolidation. Put the video where people expect to see it. Myriad shows under one brand… one focus… one RSS feed.

Steve Garfield said he subscribes to people. I’ve found out that I do the exact same thing. I don’t so much watch JetSetShow or Galacticast or SomethingToBeDesired as I tune in to see what Steve & Zadi did this week or what Rudy & Casey did or what Justin did. I would watch if it were the same thing every week or if it were different every week. I would watch whether the shows were produced daily or arrived sporadically in their RSS feeds. Similarly, I’m going to consolidate MY shows into MY RSS feed, and people can watch it if they feel like it.

A very special “thank you” shout-out goes out to my Season 01 subscribers! πŸ˜€ It means a lot to post a video and get a certain number of downloads right off the bat. It also means a lot for y’all to post *FEEDBACK* when you watch a video that you like or even one that you don’t like. I’ve had several conversations over the last two months where I started to describe one of my episodes to someone, like my Vlog Deathmatch Music Video Promo, and the person I’m telling goes “Yeah, I saw that… That was great! πŸ˜€ I especially liked the part where…….” and I’m standing there like ??? because I had received ZERO FEEDBACK from that person that they even SAW that video. To date, I have 929 views on my VDM Official Entry (Starring ActionGirl) and I have 27 comments on the page. :/ FOUR of the comments were BY ME, so either those 24 people watched that video 38.708333 times each or the amount of WATCHING far outweighs the amount of COMMENTING! πŸ˜€

Recently, much has happened to change the game, and BillCammack.com / ReelSolid.TV is going to flow with that. Stay tuned for live events, interviews, contests, forum discussions, collaborations… even AUDIO PODCASTS!!! :O Now that Season 01 of ReelSolid.TV has been spent learning the technology, the ‘business’ of videoblogging and the philosophies behind all of that, Season 02 is going to be WAY LESS about organization, structure and paperwork and WAY MORE about content creation and self-expression through video & audio… which is why I do what I do in the first place.

Thanks again, all… especially those that dove into videoblogging as soon as they realized what they could do and have made their knowledge available to other people, like on the yahoo videoblogging list and freevlog.org.

Deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something….
ReelSolid.TV Season 02 kicks off NOW!!! πŸ˜€

ReelSolid.TV  "301"

billcammack

Monetizing Digital Video

A lot of people video blog just because they feel like it. What IS a video blog? or a videoblog or a vlog or…. don’t ask! πŸ˜€ There are as many definitions for a video blog as there are _names_ for video blogs. Some people consider any video that’s placed on the internet eligible for the title “video blog”. Most simply, Steve Garfield would say “A video blog is video on a blog”. πŸ˜€ So expand your idea of what a blog is to include a video… ANY video, and there you have it.

Does that make someone that has a blog with videos on it a videoblogger? Again, don’t ask! There’s the issue of what kind of videos are on the blog. Is it video of kids falling off of skateboards? A cat playing with a ball of string? A scripted, weekly comedy show? Citizen journalism from the streets? Someone sitting alone in their room talking to their iSight as if it were a real person they were having a conversation with? Is it made by individuals? Is it made by companies that were formed and funded with the sole object of delivering video content on the internet? is it made by a television studio as an afterthought or addition to their actual television shows? Do all of those count equally as “video blogs”, assuming they meet the base qualification of being “video on a blog”?

What about production values? Does the audio have to be good? Does the video have to be steady? Does the editing (if there is any) have to be decent? Does the video have to show something about you or your environment? Does it have to mean something to anyone? Who’s watching it? Friends? Family? People you don’t know that live in other cities, states or countries? What’s your responsibility to your viewers? Do you make videos with the viewer in mind or only yourself, and if they don’t want to watch, they can “change the channel” by clicking on a different link?

See what I mean? πŸ™‚ Don’t ask. Let’s just assume that there’s something called a video blog, and lets assume that it’s “video on a blog” like Steve said.

Now, lets assume that someone has this video blog and they want to make some money from it. They have a few options. They could get sponsored by some group, in which case they are paid to put their show on regardless of how many views/hits/clicks/whatever they get. They could sell advertising themselves and include the ad in their actual video. They could have advertising on their web page and not on the video at all. They could place their video on a hosting site that features revenue-sharing.

If you post video to a revenue-sharing host, the basic deal is that the host makes arrangements with advertisers to pay them to place ads on their site or on their videos. The “sharing” part comes in when the host offers content creators (the people actually uploading the videos) a percentage of the money that the host gets from the advertisers which happened to be generated by a video that that creator uploaded. There are wikis on the technical aspects of this, including “cost per impression” (cpi), “cost per action” (cpa) and “cost per click” (cpc). You might get paid if the advertiser’s ad is seen. You might only get paid if the ad is clicked on by whomever views your video. You _might_ only get paid if someone clicks through AND buys something from the advertiser. Even then, “getting paid” depends on you getting enough credits to get over a certain amount of currency, say $20, because it doesn’t make sense for companies to send out individual checks for 15 cents each to thousands of people.

Once you’ve decided on a host, you need to decide (assuming you GET to decide) how ads are run on your videos. There are several options for this, the basic ones being pre-roll, post-roll and mid-roll.

Pre-roll means that the advertisement comes on before your video plays. You will hope that this video is really short, because people are going to tune out if they decide they aren’t willing to wait through advertisements they didn’t ask to see when they clicked on your video. Then again, that might not matter if you get paid just for showing their ad. Since it’s in the front of the video, the viewer already saw it, so you get paid, right? Well… maybe. It depends on what the host considers a “view”. If “view” means that someone started your video, then you’re good. If “view” means someone COMPLETED your video, and they tuned out because of your pre-roll ad, you lose. πŸ™‚

Post-roll means the ad comes on after your video has played all the way through. The risk there is that the viewer won’t watch all the way through. Once they get to the end, either you get paid when the ad shows up, or you get paid if they click through or you get paid if they click through and buy something.

Mid-roll means the advertisement comes on while your video is still playing. Mid-roll can be absolutely ridiculous, depending on how it’s implemented. I saw a mid-roll ad that took up the whole screen of the video AND replaced the audio like a regular commercial that comes on television. When the ad came back, the video had been running the whole time, and whatever was said during the time was completely lost. It happened to be on an interview show where the accomplishements of the interviewee were being listed. That kind of mid-roll doesn’t work, because they just throw the ad in anywhere. If you don’t care about your content, however, it doesn’t matter. If you weren’t telling a story anyway, and it doesn’t matter to you when sections of your piece are obscured, then it’s fine. As an editor, I can tell you that A LOT OF ATTENTION is paid to where we go to commercial, how many times we go to commercial, how we go to commercial and how we come back to the program from commercial. Throwing up full-video-sized advertisements just anywhere is completely horrible and ruins immersion.

There are other forms of advertising while your video’s being played. There might be visual advertisements that don’t take up the whole screen and don’t obscure audio at all. There might be ads that don’t run on your video but next to your video the whole time it’s playing. These ads might be animated or change every few seconds. I find these types of ads REALLY annoying, because the motion pulls your eye from the video content and ruins immersion. Once again, this choice is good for people that don’t really care if someone’s watching their video or not. If they’re using the video to get your eyes on their advertisements… mission accomplished.

Personally, I’m a sponsorship fan. There’s too much business involved with monetizing video for it to be worth ANY of my time to deal with it. The more time you spend trying to advertise your videos, the less time you spend MAKING those videos. πŸ™‚ I’d rather leave it to the hosting site, set it and forget it. Also, unless you know A LOT of kids that fall off of A LOT of skateboards, you’re not going to be creating consistent viral video…. well… unless you’re one of these video thieves that steal other people’s content and re-post it… but that’s another issue entirely.

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