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Creative Blog

Issues important to discern and creatively explore!

Next Phase of Social/Digital Strategy?

What is our social/digital strategy in a 2.0 world or even a 3.0 world. Is it one of social/digital practicality or is it just trying to begin to pull all these elements together? It is more than just having a social presence, having a website(s), having blogs, etc…how are we using these tools in our overall strategies as we communicate. What do we want to measure and how do we want to starting tracking “success”? I break this concept into two categories:

1) Community Building
2) Marketing

Community Building
Community Building is a huge portion of this social/digital initiative…and will always be when we are using social/digital tools. This includes all our PR efforts, community activities, blogging, give-aways, sharing, promotions, etc.

So let’s think about what we do when we are building our community:
1) We share to grow our followers (build our tribe).
2) We share to build digital awareness (spread our brand)
3) We share to engage conversation (get people to comment, like, retweet, etc.)

We leverage this community from a Community Building perspective when we have something exciting that is happening, crisis communication, event engagement, etc. But if you look above, each one of those three points is trackable.

So let’s look again:

1) We share to grow our followers (build our tribe).2) We share to build digital awareness (spread our brand)3) We share to engage conversation (get people to comment, like, retweet, etc.)

OK…let’s shift gears to Marketing…

Marketing
In the marketing world, this works hand-in-hand with community building. How can we leverage the community that we have built to create downstream revenue opportunities. Many hospitals talk about number of patients, so we have to decide what the “bean counters” consider the most important. How can we create social/digital initiatives that we can track over a period of time to find increase in downstream revenue opportunities.

Here is an example from my friend and colleague Reed Smith in Austin, TX. St. Davids in Austin has an an initiative called the HeartSaver CT…a simple example to consider. The goal is to promote this initiative using social, digital, and traditional means to get individuals to sign-up and have a HeartSaver CT. Basically, you sign up a form inside the website to come in for a $200 evaluation and chat with the doctor.

Here is a link to the page inside the website:
http://www.hearthospitalofaustin.com/our-services/heartsaver-ct

Here is a link to sign-up form:

http://www.hearthospitalofaustin.com/our-services/heartsaver-ct/contact-form

They used specific Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and traditional marketing efforts to direct people to this page, to fill out the form, and come in for this HeartSaver CT. This is done so they can track the following:

1) How many clicks to the page
2) How many of those clicks came from social outlets (Facebook, Twitter)
3) How many impressions in social outlets
4) How many filled out the form (Collected trackable information like name, address, etc.)
5) How many came in for the HeartSaver CT (immediate revenue opportunity of $200 per person)
6) Track downstream revenue from those individuals that had broader services from this visit (Track over a longer period of time)

Each of those items are trackable. Each of those gives us an idea how our digital efforts worked and if it create immediate and downstream revenue opportunities. From a social/digital perspective…you have to have built an online, social community. So when you share, there are people there to click and hopefully re-share. You are not only measuring the revenue, but you are measuring the value of the online community. You also measuring the value of their reach…so to speak.

So…you all are just as smart (if not smarter) than me and probably are already creating initiatives in our digital/social space that integrates marketing opportunities like this…so we can ultimately measure some success. In my most humble opinion (as we look at all of our social/digital outlets) I think we should ask ourselves the following from each of our outlets social/digital outlets:

1) What is the mission/purpose of this outlet? (social sites and web sites)
2) Who is our audience in this online community or digital outlet? (social sites and web sites)
3) How/what are we going to communicate to build community?
4) How are being a good steward of the larger community? (sharing to make the online community a better place)
3) How/what are we going to promote (initiatives) that we can track downstream revenue opportunities?

We want to build a strong online community. We also want to contribute to this larger community to make it a better experience. But we also want to share opportunities that create revenue as well…or do we?

A New…Digital/Social Media Strategy –> We are hungry for the next stage?

As I sit in a meeting discussing next years digital/social media strategy…I feel hints of my old days sitting in those morning editorial meetings as a journalist. Every morning, we talked about the stories of the day, relevance to the audience, timelines, how to tease, and how to cross promote.

Large organizations are no longer structuring new media & social media strategies…they are online content creators and providers. In the age of digital media…it is no longer about delivering content, it is sharing content. Big difference. Delivering and sharing are two completely different models and mind sets.

Today, my friend Sandy Dees of GHS.org shared a New York Times article about the digital/social strategy behind the movie Hunger Games. “Danielle DePalma, senior vice president for digital marketing, drafted a chronology for the entire online effort, using spreadsheets (coded in 12 colors) that detailed what would be introduced on a day-by-day, and even minute-by-minute, basis over months.”

As you read the article…this digital distribution strategy is more than just an editorial calendar, it is a timeline associated to digital scavenger hunts using Twitter; cultivating fans to take part in a virtual world like the movie Hunger Games.

We are moving past exploration…it is no longer about just creating a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel…we are in the age of engaging conversations and learning we must let the audiences guide us. It is no longer about using social and digital outlets to just post content and hope the audiences will come…more about how can we cultivate conversations.

Now, I know I am sharing what we already know…but do we really? We are still creating post card websites, YouTube channels full of content that no one will watch, Twitter feeds with little interaction. Large hospitals all over have numerous pages for no other reason than pleasing another department and hoping they are updating the page in three months. I have them in my newsfeed, numerous hospitals and none of them make me want to click…AT ALL. Or is that the point?

My colleague Reed Smith, who helps manage social and digital efforts for numerous healthcare organizations in Texas, shared some insight from his conversations with many of his counter parts from other hospitals during the social conference at the May Clinic. He explained that many large hospitals are dealing with the same situation…learning how to deal with digital and social efforts in a 2.0/3.0 world. Lots of departments, services lines, physician practices want to take part in the social space yet have a hard time living up the true burden, how to truly engage their audiences. Lots of spaces, lots of websites, lots of social accounts…leading to a house of brands.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center shares their social/digital tool kit online…funneling people inside the hospital to this site who are interested in having a social presence. If you want to join in the conversation…you must fill out the form. Cool tool kit…but it is more than a checklist…it is a culture.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pioneer in this space, leading us down a path of understanding how to integrate the social space into the daily routine of a physician.

As stated in an opinion article from the LATimes:

“The problem, Swanson said at the South by Southwest conference Sunday, is that insurers won’t pay for the videos she creates to educate patients or the blog posts she writes about important new developments in pediatric care. No matter that these steps would lead to healthier patients who place fewer demands on the healthcare system.

She does them anyway, but the idea of communicating online with patients is anathema to her fellow doctors. “There’s an overwhelming climate of fear” among physicians, she said, about the liability they may incur or the privacy violations they might commit if they respond to emails or write blog posts about medicine.”

We are our own news organizations. We are taking control of our content…but are we building communities? We can find metrics for success by building fan bases, creating social strategies to sell services? But are we really measuring success or just graphing some numbers to make ourselves feel better? Better that we are empowering our organizations as we take control of our content?

I asked my wife today, why would you want to follow a healthcare organizations fan page? What would you want to get from that experience? She wants information that she can use, invitations to events to educate her about our child’s care. Relevant services that make sense to her daily life. No where did she say she wanted to see awards of recognition as a top hospital, best “this” and best “that”…she wants information that make sense to her.

I think I have to agree with Dr. V’s thinking:

“I can’t help but wonder if we’re in the midst of a social health correction – a readjustment of expectations and beliefs about the near-term potential of social media to revolutionize health.”

And I love this as he continues…

“We created filter bubbles that allowed us to hear the messages of those telling us precisely what we wanted to hear.  We saw the rise, plateau, and ultimate dissolution of social media consultants who would save us by telling us how to correctly use Twitter.”

It is time to move on and actually start engaging our tribe before we loose what we supposedly built over the last few years. It is time to consolidate, focus, and have a conversation with those who are our brand ambassadors. These social/digital outlets cannot save us..especially when all we do is use those channels/outlets as a one directional conversation and push our stuff. If we want to be a newsroom, content providers…it better be relevant or it will diminish faster than many traditional news outlets.

blogging is our story…our free will…content RULES!

There are so many mixed messages and “how-to’s” about blogging that absolutely drive me up a wall. It is actually disheartening to read much of the online conversation surrounding this space.

I spent Sunday night watching the mixed conversation surrounding opinions of personal blogs and the value they bring to the space. Many people think that there is no place for these personal spaces of exploration. Some people think that there is no room to use them as a journal or place to write our “pity parties.”  Some even think that you should use the same SEO and marketing techniques to broadcast and optimize for the web.

I have news for all you self-promoting, money hungry consultants who are trying to share your business and shape online content…go sell your mess to someone who is willing to pay your lame, nominal fee.

I am terming personal blogs as spaces to that are not used to generate a business lead or promote some service/product. These spaces are places of self-expression, places of free will, and spaces to write…just to write. These are spaces owned by those who create the content and if they choose to connect, open for commenting, post on social sites, make them anonymous, make them public, or share their darkest moments…then they are just as organic and crucial to the space of digital free-expression as business blogs.

“By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million only five years earlier in 2006.

Bloggers: Who are they?
– Women make up the majority of bloggers, and half of bloggers are aged 18-34
– Bloggers are well-educated: 7 out of 10 bloggers have gone to college, a majority of whom are graduates
– About 1 in 3 bloggers are Moms, and 52 percent of bloggers are parents with kids under 18 years-old in their household
– Bloggers are active across social media: they’re twice as likely to post/comment on consumer-generated video sites like YouTube, and nearly three times more likely to post in Message Boards/Forums within the last”

Ok…so if you look at these stats, you can probably infer that not all these bloggers are business bloggers. They are probably individuals writing about their lives, their kids, their thoughts, and probably have a tremendous sphere of influence. They are probably not writing to make money, they are probably writing to share and connect.

In the B2C world…we need these bloggers and all their willingness to generate self-expression and share raw, un-marketed content. We need them to write from the heart. WHY?

First…it reminds our souls that it is ok to share our thoughts/feelings/expressions online. We live in “free society” and we should encourage self-expression. I would be willing to bet that a small portion of these bloggers listed above tell a tremendous story and eventually turn this content, their into a book. I will address the idea of self-destructive content in blogs.

Second…from a digital marketer’s perspective, we need to share. We want them to talk about their experiences, their favorite food, their favorite place to go, what makes them happy, what makes them sad. Why, so if they happen to talk about “our” brand, then we can glean some rich consumer driven, un-solicited attitude that could help us better understand the effectiveness of our brand. If a mom was fussing about a bad visit with a doctor, I would want to know and have context so we could find a way to fix the experience.

Third…these blogs/journals/spaces of self-expression are spaces in our digital/social documentary. We now have a place that allows us to publicly share our lives then allow us to go back and re-live that experience. Blogs are perfect organizational tools for social content. It gives us the place to organize information according to dates, times, categories, etc. so we can go back and find that recipe, that video,  that thought we had that day when we were happy, sad, or whatever.

Fourth…these spaces can create rich communities. We are so bogged down with self-promoting, ego driven, digital marketers selling the snake oil that an “effective” community is all about large numbers. A rich, sustainable community can be a community in small numbers. I think of many blogs from women who are going through/dealing with breast cancer. These outlets are not only crucial for the healing process, but a place to connect with others sharing the same experience whether it is a shitty day or a high-five. We are social creatures and we want to connect with people having similar experiences.

Personal blogs are the backbone of this sphere of self-expression. We should not try to put these people in a silo and force them to conform to the same practices as those trying to make money from clicks. We should not also condemn these individuals for having enough strength to share their inner most thoughts online. BUT… Tumblr has drawn the line with this self-destructive content being generated by reversing it’s opinion:

“Tumblr has announced that the policy of permitting self-harm blogging has been reversed. The updated content policy will disallow any blog post which “actively promotes or glorifies self-injury or self-harm”. The company plans to prohibit content which urges cutting, disordered eating habits or suicide. Instead, Tumblr searches which look for these subjects will be directed to information on helpful organizations such as the National Eating Disorders Association and other counseling hotlines.” 

Yes…there maybe a line between self-expression and destructive discourse, but we have to be-careful how judgmental we are when we read. Maybe those same bloggers think your business blog is just as self-destructive as their whimpering about the day when lost a loved one, dealing with breast cancer, lost a child, or just got fired.

I am still thinking through where the line should be drawn between self-expression and destructive content, but this was not the topic for this blog post. The topic focused more on the need for more self-expression in blogs…if not more so than business blogs used to generate clicks, Likes, tweets, revenue, and other sources of business income.

Blogs are our place…our story…our free will to explore our ability to articulate our free expression.

Content Rules…It Is Our Story!

Japan Tsunami Remembered … the Social Documentary Continues

This past Sunday, March 11th marked the one year anniversary of the Tsunami in Japan. One year ago, we all watched it unfold online, on television, via radio…where ever we could get information. It was a disaster of international reach.

A colleague of mine from my television day told me a story as I was asking for help trying to find some unique video tapes. He told me this video tape was rare because of the Tsunami. The video tape was made in Japan by Sony and stored in a warehouse that was under water after the Tsunami . But the story only begins here…the engineers and staff from Sony had climbed to safety on the top floor only to notice another building off in the distance had school children on the roof, waiting to be rescued.

So those Sony engineers and staff built a boat. There was a huge boat on display downstairs of the Sony building…so they worked to transform that boat into a usable form of rescue. They eventually put it in the water and made their way over to the school to try to rescue the children. This story was passed around by executives during last year’s NAB conference.

Each day we are telling stories. Each day we hear new ones. Each day we read articles like this from Mashable using a timeline to document the events from a past event, specifically the Japan Tsunami.  We are human and we like to share, recount, and re-live a time from “our” past. So how about the technology, the social technology that now surrounds us to document these events.

We still remember January 28, 1986…the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in front of our eyes. I remember watching from my 6th grade classroom as we watched the first school teacher go to space. It was just a few days ago, March 9th to be exact, that Huffington Post reported the finding of a new Super 8 film of an amateur recording of the explosion.

The article talks about how many people stored away old film from their past, and as they begin to go through their belongings…they find artifacts of national importance right in their drawers, closets, and attics.

These artifacts are so very precious, so rare, so valuable that even the Huffington Post finds the need to purchase the rights to this newly uncovered Super 8 film.  Compare this event to the Tsunami where we have thousands of user generated accounts of this day. Tweets, pictures, video, blog posts, Wiki entries…all of which unfold along with the main stream media’s reporting.

We no longer are having to rely on the individual to “just so happen” to find that Super 8 film, we now just do a Google search and the social documentary of our present day events unfolds right infront of us. We are writing the social documentary…and it is more that just recounting the day. It is sharing our thoughts, feelings, and expressions upon every update and upload.

How many of you saved stuff/articles from 9/11? I know I did…I purchased the NewYork Times and USA Today from Sept. 12, 2001. I saved every digital image I could find during those days so I could share them with my children one day. Sarah recorded the whole day of reporting from NBC News on VHS tape. All of this is locked away in safety deposit boxes.

Outlets like Facebook and Twitter bring the social documentary to the forefront. They interweave social memories using media in a time line fashion. No wonder Facebook has moved to the timeline interface, because we want to remember. Hashtags allows us to aggregate topics based on two variables: the particular hashtag and time.

We are creating the social documentary and it is unfolding right in front of us.

Is your social story your truth or someone else’s?

The social documentary is one of the most fascinating layers of this new era of social discourse that is believe is truly shaping our culture. We are surrounded by it, we are engulfed in the conversation, we are in dire need to interact…yet we sometimes despise the outcomes.

Everywhere we look…we are documenting our very thoughts. For every tweet we post, every status we share, every check-in, pin, video created…a time stamp and internet location bears down on this global platform of social commerce.

Why…why do we take part? Why do we so gingerly engage in this social drama to feed the ever changing need to share just one more time. We do it so colorfully that we take great pride interweaving our social drama…sharing when we are at the lowest and at the highest of peaks.

We find ourselves submitted to the brand autopsy leading charge as we are influenced to follow. Each time we document, each time we share, each piece of data…bits…bytes are uploading into the cloud for the social brothers to create more reports to feed the social machine.

This social documentary is interwoven in our everyday lives. I ask my students, what are the first things you do when you get out of bed and I wonder if it differs from most connected business leaders…”we” check our Facebook page then our email. Oh, then we get out of bed. We then share our morning thought and a morning picture of our loved ones. We then check-in for a coffee and a status update like we are turning on the keys of our automobile. Social sharing is as easily created as breathing the every breathe of our day.

This technological documentation is one hell of an aggregator. We can be found and held accountable for each tweet, update, picture, check-in, video shared. We find ourselves scared to talk more freely and engage in collaborative innovation through connectivity. Steven Johnson was hoping that this social share would allow a since of transparency that would cultivate thought and break through barriers. But now we are scared to say what we want because now the social share is our own social morality.

In update we trust…it has become our truth. We are creating the truths of today each time we document our thoughts, moves, opinions, reviews…etc. Whether if someone has passed away..or not…we choose to follow and tweet just so we can be “the first” regardless of fact…but it is our truth. Just ask Erin Andrews…from the romanticized scandal of the lewd photos to speculative tweets she is leaving ESPN…whose truth? Oh, and how about Komen and Planned Parenthood. Komen is probably hating the social documentary…just go read the recaps on Huffington Post.

We are creating these truths each day and we are shaping beliefs as fast as we can post the link. Why do you think politicos love the social space…ones beliefs can saturate a timeline enough and eventually create a truth which shapes a vote.

I just sit back and think about this large role of the social documentary…we have been creating the layers, the stories of our documented lives and it is unfolding as fast as we can get to a device and share it…or someone share about us. Don’t lie…how many times have you un-tagged a photo because you hated the double chin or even the person you were standing with…are you reversing truth?

The social documentary is all around us and we are taking part in it regardless if you like it or not. It has become our truths and we are shaping it for the brands and the social brothers to aggregate. We are creating their social commerce…we are just the documentary storytellers, sharing our lives with the world.

Is your social story your truth or someone else’s?

Social Sustainability – Social 3.0

It is time to move on and start thinking about the most important part of this social argument…how the hell we are going to sustain this movement and our communities.

It is time to get past the “Like” programs, the various blog posts for SEO, the YouTube strategies that might get over 100o views…we are emerging into Social 3.0 and it is all about sustainability and connected growth.

So what do we know…

We are in an age of Social 3.0 where we have been trying so many outlets as test beds (Social 1.0 & 2.0) and we are starting to see where we are gaining the most traction. Bottom-line…

1) Website is a primary destination point for fundamental information
2) Facebook is the primary community driver
3) Twitter is the amplification channel & secondary community driver
4) Blogs are our voice (our context) & secondary community driver
5) Pinterest is a Social 3.0 opportunity to engage that new age social/community influencer (women 25 -44)
6) YouTube is a organizations face/voice 3D along with being SEO driver

We know that the Facebook IPO is close and we are getting closer to a sustainable social model unlike the uncertainty of previous social models.

Basically …Facebook will be here for a while and many are predicting that it will be the place where we will push all our web traffic making it the most used dynamic portal to engage audiences. This is and will be a huge shift for organizations with static websites with small dynamic portals of information. What do we do with that site? Or should it be just a post card of information?

Pinterest is gaining traction (Mashable.com article on Dec 22, 2011) –> “The site is especially popular with women between the ages of 25 and 44, which comprise 59% of its readership, and the majority of those visiting Pinterest are female, consisting of 58% of its visitors in the past 12 weeks.”

So given this context…this begs the question of web/digital strategy: Should we force all web traffic through Facebook, making it the destination point for people then expose them to the website inside Facebook. Basically funnel all traffic through it. The analytics are there to support and we do not have to worry about down time.

Well this leads to how Facebook is changing it’s Timeline not only implemented for individuals, but coming to businesses/organizations pages on March 30th. What the hell do you do with that header and what about those tabs you paid for?

The new Facebook header becomes the dynamic portal for discovery.

Each time you change the header, you are uploading a new image. This image is put on the timeline as a public post, along with being placed on the header. So, we could use this as an opportunity for discovery. So think through all the events, initiatives, etc. that we are constantly promoting. We post a link to Facebook for people to click to learn more. With this idea, imagine adding some visual discovery to this scenario…people like to click images, photos, etc that come across the timeline.

With this scenario, uploading an image to that header position carries a promotional aspect. It becomes a main billboard.  So each time you upload this image for the header, it comes across the timeline for people to see and click. This could bring a new dynamic element of discovery to our Facebook page.

So is Social 3.0 about cross promoted social spaces that allows us to discover new places to engage. Audi thinks so…they put a lot of cash into their Super Bowl ads. Last year, Audi tried using a hashtag in their Super Bowl ad to promote a give away (#IsProgress Campaign)  It must have worked but was not sustainable long term.

So this year…they wanted to create a community of conversation around LED lights and vampires. They used the #SoLongVampires hastag in the Super Bowl ad that received over 2 million views and tens of millions of Twitter impressions a week after the ad appeared during the game.

We are learning…we are pulling back. We are starting to realize what is working and what just does not make sense for our communities. We are learning it is hard to create communities when there is nothing to connect people online.

We should no longer spray our marketing mess across all platforms…and hope someone will bite.  It was just a few years ago that males 18-34 were the main targeted demographic, but to me that has shifted with the social space making the female 18-34 a huge influencer, especially in healthcare. But Nielsen’s new Digital Consumer Report shows something interesting…Introducing Generation C:

“The latest Census reports that Americans 18-34 make up 23 percent of the U.S. population, yet they represent an outsized portion of consumers watching online video (27%), visiting social networking/blog sites (27%), owning tablets (33%) and using a smartphone (39%). Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike. Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more touch points for marketers to reach them.”

So how are we growing? How are we sustaining? Are we engaging new audiences? Where are we cutting the fat? Or are we in this just for the SEO and to collect some data points?

GHS Centennial Stories – Documentary Storytelling

Late last year, I was extremely excited to begin working with GHS to tell six amazing stories for their Centennial Celebration. I am extremely honored that they chosen to team up and commit to finding rich stories and tell them using a documentary, journalistic approach. As a part of this project, we will be working together to use social outlets to share these stories.

The first story is called “Symphony” and surrounds the life saving events of an attorney from Seneca, SC. Mr. Johnny Fields had a heart attack late one night and this story weaves together all the perspectives from each person involved in saving his life. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch this story and read the blog posts that I wrote that details the creative side of pulling this story together .

Documentary storytelling is my passion and I think this story documents Mr. Johnny Fields’ experience. He traveled over 60 plus miles by land and air to receive life saving care in 63 minutes…the time from the moment he called 911 until the cardiologist performed the procedure to save his life at GHS.

Stories connect people…Nielsen Digital Consumer Report

Stories are amazing and I am always amazed how stories can connect people. I am getting ready to launch a project this week with Greenville Hospital System, and I have been amazed how the first part of this project has truly defined the meaning of stories.

The first story was one of connection…connecting people, connecting their thoughts, connecting their perspectives, and connecting missions. As Greenville Hospital System grows and spreads it’s footprint across the Upstate of South Carolina, relationships and trust become key. No better way to connect these ideas, missions, and perspectives than by finding a common language and stories fill that void.

Nielsen Research just released the 2011 3rd/4th Quarter Digital Consumer Report illustrating the point that we are growing more and more as a connected culture. Media has become our connection point and technology has provided that link between brands and consumers…and consumers as a whole. Let’s look at some of the recent stats from the US by  Neilsen:

274 million have Internet access
169 million visitors to social networks/blogs
165 million people watch video on a computer

117 million mobile Internet users
44% of mobile Internet users have a smart phone

70% of time spent using a tablet is at home

76 million tv homes are HD capable
35 million tv home have 4 or more tv sets

We are connected, but does that mean we are connected? Just because we have a device and we have internet access? Yes, we are online…but content brings us together. Specifically stories connect us…we seek out common threads, rich information that touches us in a way to read, watch, connect, and even purchase. We want something more than typing in a URL, downloading an “APP”, turning to a televisions show, or engaging in online conversation.

Our stories connect us and we are consistently seeking stories that take us to new places and times. We are seeing more story development during large events like the Super Bowl. Brands are recognizing that consumers want a story to follow. Audi’s Twilight commercial during the SuperBowl allowed people to continue following the Twilight storyline and connecting in conversation over Twitter using the #SoLongVampires hashtag.  Millions of people connected in conversation weeks after the SuperBowl…all via a story of vampires. Cool.

Stories connect us…we just have to find the right story to tell.

 

Audience is our friend…love your audience

I was having breakfast with a client and friend…Sally Foister. We were chatting about marketing, social media, digital media, etc. The one thing that we kept on coming back to was the idea of knowing your audience.

She has one of the most interesting jobs, in my humble opinion, as she is the Director of Marketing for Greenville Hospital System here in Greenville, SC. Imagine dealing with all the audiences and marketing efforts for the largest Non-Profit Health System in South Carolina. Audience is key.

As we were talking…I just thought more and more about the idea of audience. It is so key in today’s balancing act of digital media, traditional media, and even public/media relations efforts. We can get so hung up on our message, our brand, our services…but sometimes we have to sit back and think about those who are receiving this message. What about those who should be receiving the message and are being marginalized by virtue of our marketing efforts.

Sometimes it it is good to pull back and really think through the people we are trying to touch, have a conversation with, build community around, or just meet. Marketing is more than just delivering a message…it is also about engaging conversation. Before we can engage conversation, we must truly know who we are chatting with…who is on the other side of the coin.

When we use social outlets to post content, do you think through who you are posting the update to…who do you want to read this message? When you are creating a video…do you think through the audience? Can you visualize the audience and see the message, hear the message, share the message through their point-of-view.

Sometimes it takes just a few minutes to do a simple audience analysis, to sit back and visualize who you want share your message with. Then, imagine life through their eyes, ears, daily routines, and heart.

When we call our parents, talk to our children, share dinner with our significant other/love one…we talk and communicate with love and compassion. We do so because we really know our audience. We have taken the time to learn how they think, how they listen, how they see the world. We listen to their responses and try to respond with respect and more thought provoking conversation. Imagine if we used this same method with our marketing efforts.

Audience is key…and marketing is still communication.

***Sally is also writing a blog, just in-case you want to read…CLICK HERE

Do we really want Pinterest to become the next Social Marketing Outlet?

How many of you are on Pinterest.? I know I am and have been for about a year…especially after my wife told me about this neat little social network. She had to send me an invite in-order to join and ever since then…I have been pinning away.

What do I use it for? Well, between creating a board for my favorite photography gadgets, my gift wish lists, books I want to read, and even vacation destinations for Sarah and I…I am hooked!

Lately, Pinterest is starting to get lots of interest with the mainstream media including USA Today and Mashable.com.

In October 2012, USA Today wrote an article about Pinterst, “Pinterest stands out in crowded social media field.” They state:

“Time magazine called Pinterest — a website where users post collections of images of their favorite food, clothes, places and everything else — one of the five best social media sites of 2011, along with Google-Plus and Klout. The company has raised $27 million in venture capital led by the firm Andreessen Horowitz, which several tech news outlets have reported as valuing Pinterest at $200 million.”

Mashable.com started posting articles about Pinterest this past June and ever since have been featuring articles about this social outlet, leveraging the holiday audience. To date, you still need an invite to join Pinterest…but if you have a friend, they can invite you to this “some what private” social outlet.

Is the Mashable Effect starting to set-in, since they are the online social media magazine. You can see articles listed headlines including “The Top Brands on Pinterest“, “5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest to Boost Consumer Engagement“, and my favorite “Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network.”

If you are a growing social network and you want to grow to the masses, you want an online media outlet like Mashable to write about your organization…and write regularly.

But as social consumers and connectors, do we want Mashable to take interest? Do we want main stream media to take interest. Facebook is no longer Facebook with the slick marketing of brands. Twitter is becoming overwhelmed with daily satire of “he said” “she said” quickly jumping to headlines. Between athletes, political outlets, and other individuals…it has become the first place to find people in the match-up of “one-ups”.

Yes…many people are in social media overload. I know I have been…my Facebook page is overloaded with friends, family, and others ranting political discourse leveraging digital word-of-mouth. So…can we keep Pinterest closed…fun…private…and enjoyable?

Do I really want to be influenced inside Pinterest? Do I want brands trying to build an experience for me inside my digital repository of fun-ness? It is the next big un-tapped market…I guess. I have sat through many marketing meetings thinking and wondering if Pinterest is a place to build a brand presence.

Econsultancy.com writes in the article “Revealing the demographics behind Pinterest’s users“:

“comScore says that the blossoming social curation site has over 4m registered users and is growing rapidly, while Google Ad Planner shows that nearly 1.5m people visit Pinterest every day – spending 14 minutes on the site on average.”

Google Ad planner shows that Pinterest users are:
– Largely women (a 80% to 20% ratio)
– Aged mainly between 25 and 44 (accounting for 55% of the group, 30% are 25-34, 25% are 35 – 44)
– Just 25% of users have a bachelors degree or higher
– The majority live off a household income of $25-75k”

YES to this statement in the article: “So there’s some truth to Matt Buchanan’s post on Gizmodo yesterday that proclaims Pinterest as ‘a Tumblr for ladies’.”

No wonder brands and marketing staffs are trying to find an open path…this is a rich, wide open playing field. Even though these stats are wide in the bell curve, they seem every similar to the bell curve most healthcare marketers are looking for when connecting their brand to the end consumer.

Well, Facebook must see the value…now you can have a certain area to show off your pins in the new Facebook timeline. Yep…Facebook and Pinterest together connection people to brands. Hmm..

So…WHY. I want to keep it closed. PLEASE??? I want to enjoy pinning, sharing, and interacting with my little want lists. Well…I am not sure we can hold of the wolves, let’s get ready as brands and marketers like myself begin and continue to infiltrate Pinterest. Or maybe it has been open the whole time…we are pinning brands on our boards.

 

Accountability for ReTweets, Shares, and Likes – SHAME ON US!

Should we be accountable for the information we share, we re-share, re-tweet, “Like”, or repost? What do I mean…should we be accountable when we add to the mis-reporting of information?

Well…this is what had me thinking, and it all started with this report:

Then CBS News reported this on the social space:

Then a barrage of followers, local news outlets, media outlets, and social media consumers began sharing as fast as wildfire. This was just one of the many tweets that were flying around on Facebook, Twitter, and other social outlets…people sharing false information:

This is a tweet that was shared on someone’s Facebook feed. So this one piece of information was shared by three different source before I found it!

So should we be accountable for sharing information and adding to the massive mania that ensued, like tonight with Joe Paterno’s health situation.  Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute does a great job of recounting today’s reporting or information surrounding Joe Paterno. I also used some of his screen shots for this blog post.  Jeff included this in tonights recap:

The Associated Press took some pride in having waited, and thus not reported the false rumor. AP Director of Media Relations Paul Colford told Poynter in an email, “At no time did AP report or imply Paterno’s death on any platform. AP was relying upon actual reporting. Just like with the aftermath of the [Gabrielle] Giffords shooting.”

Oh yeah…remember that!

Steve Safran does a great job recounting the escalation of tweeting and sharing from notable mainstream media outlets during the Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting.

“While the story of the Tucson shootings spread, early reports were mixed and often conflicting. This is often the case in a breaking and developing event. However, incorrect reports that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died spread across the Twittersphere, sparked by tweets by NPR News, Reuters and CNN — some of which were subsequently deleted.”

Oh…I guess if we just retweet, share, or even “Like” mis-reported information, we can just go back and delete it for some damage control. But it is sad when family members have to take on the social space to discount the social eruption of mis-reported information:

There are many great journalists out there and I want to give a shout out to @NewMediaJim for sharing this with us!  Here is the actual tweet from Joe Paterno’s son:

So back to my original question…should we, the collective social media voyeurs be held accountable for mis-reporting of information. Should Twitter, Facebook, and other social outlets hold the users of these accounts to a standard in the terms of agreement?  Here is something interesting in Twitter’s Terms of Services:

“You understand that by using the Services, you may be exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive.”

Now I realize that there is no way that we could hold every individual responsible and legally culpable for sharing, re-sharing, retweeting, or even clicking the “Like” button surrounding incorrect information. It is the same as standing in room with your family during Christmas and saying that Aunt Sue has a bad heart, and before you know it the rumor has spread to family members that did not attend the get together that she had died.

But…if you were Joe Paterno’s family dealing with the massive story surrounding Penn State this part year, would you be upset when it was mis-reported that Joe Paterno had died. I would even be inclined to say that they (the Paterno family) might have some legal standing to file a suite against the media outlets’ mis-reporting this information. An how about the Gifford’s family?

Should we as consumers of information hold  the outlets that share this information accountable? Should we publicly question there sources of information and even rally for larger ethical standards. Well…maybe not, we are voyeurs just as much as they are…we are consuming and still following them online.

Social Media Exhaustion – Over-Loading and Over/Mis-Reporting

Is this us…are we now the media? You know…”The Media”…

You know “those” people that compete to report information to gain readership? To gain clicks? To gain recognition of exclusivity? I used to be “The Media” and know what it means to compete to be the first to report, to provide the first images, the  first information…hell, I lived it! I still claim to be the first to fly over southern Louisiana in a helicopter to capture the first images for the world to see…just after Katrina.

Why does it matter? Why do we compete to stack our timelines when we hear some dies? Is it out of the need to share or to be the first to put it out “that” information? Do we consciously think about it as we do it…or have we bought into the synchronous style of social reporting. Are we digital voyeurs?

Facebook knows it…they openly admit they do not want to be the content creators but the content aggregators. Their timeline has the the “News Ticker” and will be adding new “Gestures” so people can do more than “Like”. Oh yeah…we can now subscribe to people without becoming friends, placing thought leadership into individuals’ timelines.

It can work to our advantage where we watch hurricanes and earthquakes unfold via Twitter. Providing rich information necessary to help people in need when the “mainstream media” had to have two sources to confirm. But…oh but…we see the flip side everyday from mainstream media we trust and support. We watched this misreporting happen during the Rep. Giffords shooting where it was misreported over the airwaves and the social spaces that she had died. Yep…just have to be the one to say it first. Mainstream media led the way and we followed by retweeting faster than we could stand it. We had to be the first to post the unconfirmed information to our timelines…to be the first to tweet and post those links. I wonder how many went back and deleted those posts? I wonder if I fed the frenzy?

We are overloaded…extremely overloaded. USAToday.com published predictions for 2012:

“In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.”

Yes…I bolded the important part. An we are in the midst of a fight over how content is created via the web…all the way up the food chain to the Congressional ranks with SOPA.

Our timelines are overloaded with individuals fighting to report information faster than the next. Lots of unconfirmed information from deaths of people we know to out-of-context quotes from political candidates. My social space is a competition between individuals competing to express opinions formed from mainstream media about political figures to videos captured of political candidates in the midst of heated, out-of-context debate and conversation.

Have we become the 6 O’clock news right inside our own timelines. No offense to the many of my friends and colleagues that are true journalists…but my timeline has become daytime drama from 4-6:30pm replacing the soap operas and 5-6pm news.

We are overloading our friends, family, and colleagues with un-truths in our social spaces. No wonder the numerous predictions across the spectrum have predicted 2012 as the year we pull back from the social space because of fatigue. Forbes.com just reported that Facebook flirting causes 1 in 3 divorces in 2011 overseas in England. This past March, The Guardian reported: “Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the “primary source” of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.”

I am a bit overloaded, trying to help clients sift through the social space…in the hopes to find the way to engage in digital word-of-mouth. It is a lot to sift through especially when our own personal space is a barrage of over-achieving social reporters. They are either competing to become the first to report or the first to pick a fight with a local church, hospital, brand, or “ex” something. No wonder customer service has become the next marketing (as reported by Forbes.com), because people have lots to report and fuss about online.

Yep…so who is the customer service for this rant? Well…maybe it is time to just trim back our social spaces; find better connections, richer content, and fonder communities. Time to get real.

***Image from Mashable.com via this link: CLICK HERE

Facebook Community Funnel – Capturing Digital Word-of-Mouth

I am always thinking through how to find new ways to share stories and funneling like minded people to your story. The digital road map is important, especially when you have many communities online and great stories to tell. The goal is get people to share…basically take part in digital word-of-mouth.

For the last few years, I had the opinion that you should always make your website your mothership…but recently I have really began reconsidering this opinion. For one thing, it is all about audience! But…the delivery mechanism/channel is always a part of this equation…which leads me broaden my opinion with some new options.

If you look at this diagram…you will see that the information and audience flow is to build communities based on content/information in your social/digital spaces…driving them to your mothership (website). This is a simplistic view of how a B2C organization can capture audiences, distribute information, build conversation, and drive traffic back to the mothership. But what and how is a traditional website really serving your audiences especially in the world of dynamic content?

I am finding more and more people are using social outlets as their mothership, to capture and engage audiences then direct them to a final destination for final information. But, if the final spot is your website…what are we doing to deliver the information that provides the return on engagement? Why not keep them in the dynamic content area, where the community is thriving.

Two years ago, Sally Foister of Greenville Hosptial System looked at me and said something that has stuck with me…every B2C organization should a Facebook presence. Five years ago, that statement was applied to every B2C organization should have a website. Now the trick is to drive traffic to a destination point that is not the end destination but a dynamic portal that continually engages the audience with some action.

We are going to see some interesting movement in 2012 especially with Facebook planning a $100 Billion IPO. Let’s consider some stats surrounding Facebook:

  1. 800 Million Users
  2. 1 Trillion Page Views
  3. October 2011 – Facebook reached more than half (55 percent) of the world’s global audience and accounted for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world and 3 in every 4 social networking minutes. (via ComScore.com)

So instead of thinking in terms of driving traffic to one mothership…how about funneling traffic through Facebook. Basically use Facebook as the community funnel of information, capturing the audience in one dynamic, community driven hub.

So let’s look at some of the reasons, well I mentioned the statistics above.

First – One of the first reasons is the Timeline which has aimed to make Facebook the destination for all media. People are able to dynamically  post all types of media right inside the Facebook Timeline making it easier to interact with the media and the community that surrounds the person/brand that posts the media.

Second – The Insights area for brand pages. The Insights tool provides publishers who use Facebook plugins with analytics on how content is performing. Now they can see those analytics in real time. You can see how “Like” button’s perform and the interactions based on demographics,which may enable site owners to target specific audiences.

Third – The Ticker which is the update to the News Feed. This serves as a “real-time feed of activity away from Facebook. Taken in tandem, these updates indicate Facebook’s growing desire to be to discovery what Google is to search — that is, the market leader for the new dominant form of currency on the web.” Facebook does not want to be a creator of media, they want to be the ultimate curator of media.

Fourth – The idea of expanding Gestures. They want to expand the “Like” button to developers allowing them to create concepts like “Watched, ” Listened,” Read,” and other buttons. “These actions are the next step in integrating Facebook with every part of the web. It’s possible you’ll be able to click a Facebook “Challenge” button that would let you post a game challenge on your friend’s wall, or a “Cheer” button that would let you support your friends when they need it. And yes, you could theoretically create a “Dislike” button through Facebook’s new initiative.” (via Mashable.com)

So for this model of the Community Funnel to work, you have to build a solid Facebook Community, give the community a reason to engage with one another, invite more friends, and make it easy and for the community to talk about you online.

The idea behind the community funnel is to build solid communities outside of Facebook, drive the communities to engage in Facebook, and given them a reason to want to find more information inside your mothership (web properties). Twitter, YouTube, and E-Newsletters are entry-point communities that can expose individuals to content. Then you drive this community to engage with more like-minded individuals within your Facebook presence.

Links and references used in this blog post:

http://mashable.com/2011/12/29/facebook-predictions-2012/

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/12/Social_Networking_Leads_as_Top_Online_Activity_Globally

http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-gestures/

*** Image from MindFireInc.com

Looking back over 2011 and beyond…thinking forward to 2012.

Have you sat back and thought about what has truly defined you both personally and professionally? Can you think about one point in time that has truly changed who you are and how you approach life and your career? There is not a better time to do so than at the end of calendar year…a time of reflection. I have numerous moments in time that have defined me, and a few have pop-up in my mind.

1) Defining moment in 2011 as a person.
It was January 1, 2011 and we were driving back from the Christmas cabin in Georgia. We had just finished enjoying a week of vacation in the Georgia mountains and it was time to make the treck back to civilization. As we were coming through Atlanta, Sarah asked me if we could stop to get a drink. I was sitting in the car waiting for her and she opened the door and hopped back in with tears rolling down her face.

I began to think of the many reasons why a female would come back from a restaurant crying. She looked at me and said…”I am pregnant and I am scared!” The past three years we experienced three miscarriages, not making it past 10 weeks. She was happy that once again she was pregnant, but upset and scared she would loose another pregnancy to miscarriage.

What I did not realize is that Sarah had been carrying pregnancy tests around with her for the last six months…testing on a regular basis. For those of you that do not realize…those pregnancy tests are expensive and she was carrying around a bunch. I would be willing to bet she had a half dozen in her pocketbook…we invested in a lot of those little things.

We immediately called our reproductive endocrinologist (RE)…we had made an appointment to talk about what were the next steps in getting pregnant again. We left a message that we were pregnant and we were wondering if we could reschedule the appointment. They immediately called back and wanted us in the office to run tests ASAP. January 1, 2011 was the day that we began thinking about Rose Frances…that little miracle was born on September 6, 2011. What a way to start 2011.

2) Defining moment in 2011 as a professional.
Have you ever had that one project that defined you as a person and professional. That one project that made you think harder and deeper…pushed you to work harder and see life through a different lens. Well, that happened to me in 2011. I received a phone call in January about a project The Duke Endowment was pulling together, one that was still on the drawing board.

They had the vision of telling stories surrounding individuals who are making a tremendous impact in their communities. These individuals are special people who lead organizations/initiatives that are supported by grants from The Duke Endowment. This project is called Profiles of Service…one that would allow me to practice all my journalistic skills of documentary storytelling. Over the next 8 months, I was able to work alongside The Duke Endowment, capturing stories of four individuals in both North and South Carolina. People that were and still are making a tremendous impact in their communities, leading initiatives that bring change.

Each story was located in a different part of North and South Carolina, allowing me to travel from the mountains of Western North Carolina to the low-country of South Carolina.  Four individuals, four stories of dedication and service, and hours of interviews captured and shaped into a final product for people to enjoy.

3) What I am looking forward to in 2012.
I am really excited about 2012…two projects that I am working on for this upcoming year. The first is a project with Greenville Hospital System, telling stories from inside the walls of this healthcare organization. There will be more to come over the next year…but I am really excite about this project!

I am also excited to be partnering with Safe Harbor in Greenville, SC. Six months ago, they came to me in the hopes to produce one video as a multi-purpose tool from fundraising to sharing their story online. After spending a few days with them, I realized that one video is just not enough to really share their story. Over the course of 2012, we will be sharing some amazing stories, from those who been impacted by domestic violence to those who are trying to create change in the community. We have already been working together for the last 6 months and we are looking forward to sharing some amazing perspectives.

It is my belief to look back and reflect and to look forward to something amazing! I am excited to be embarking in my third year of business!

BR

3DTV and Why??? Or Why Not???

Ok, ok…I have had more people ask me about what I think about 3DTV and the production of 3DTV. Mainly, people have asked me about two separate topics, first being whether I will be producing 3DTV projects and what do I think about 3DTV as a consumer based viewing option. OK, strap in and let’s go! This is a long post, so get a drink and a snack and maybe some Ibuprofen?

3DTV Production and Workflow?
First, let’s tackle my thoughts on creating 3DTV based productions. First of all, it is a whole new workflow to invest when the creation of content that has yet to find a true market. My customers have yet to show interest in this offering, mainly because the type of groups I work with do not necessarily have the target audience that consumes this type of offering.

Yes, we can go purchase a camera and the editing software and hardware upgrades to manage this workflow…but it would mainly have a purpose of forcing a market into this offering.

When we converted from SD video production to HD production, lots of the production skills changed and how we deliver this product. From the cameras, software, hardware, and the end consumer.  Then there was the creative element, what do we do with roughly 26% more screen real estate. A lot of people think this is not a big deal…but this is a huge workflow decision and how to creatively produce content to fit 16X9 screen resolutions in a still evolving 4×3 screen world (the old television screen size). Yes, more and more people have HDTV’s but it still is not the industry standard, yet!

Given this context…there is a lot to consider when producing 3D content. Do you want to make everything look 3D just to do it or do we want to produce content that leverages the style of 3D, exposing the audience to new visual cues. Also…do we want to produce content that requires people to take one extra step…put on some strange “looking” glasses. Yes…imagine the boardroom setting showing a video, hey…pull out your glasses to watch this video. Oh, I forgot mine…that is ok, just watch the weird colors overlap.

So on the production side…I will sit back and see how the market evolves *AND* when and if clients join the 3D TV conversation. Then I will decide if that will become a client offering.

Now…let’s attack the consumer side. Specifically…will I purchase a 3DTV for the home and what do I think about watching 3D content at home and in the theater.

First…let’s talk about how it effects the eyes.
I come from a long family history of bad eyes and those who have a “lazy eye.” I am the abnormal person in the family with 20-15 vision…I was at one time recruited to join the Navy since I had great vision, I am 5’9″ and my undergrad was in Mathematics. I couldn’t enlist because of my Asthma. But…everytime I watch a 3D production in the theater, I get a headache. Yes…I take the glasses off and my head hurts and it takes a while for my eyes to re-adjust.

In December 2009, Avatar was released in theaters in 3D…many people took to the “airwaves” to react to 3D production. The British Telegraph wrote this article in January 2010: “Do 3D films make you sick?“:

“But no matter how advanced the technology, a significant minority of the population cannot sit through a 3D film without experiencing discomfort. More than three million people in the UK have eye conditions that impair ‘stereoscopic vision’ – normal, two-eyed depth perception – making it difficult, or even impossible, for them to experience 3D.

When watching something in 3D, our eyeballs rotate inwards, with accommodation as the goal. But if that happened, the viewer would be left focusing on a spot in front of the screen, rather than focusing on the screen itself. But this confuses the brain because the eyes have converged without accommodation. Instead, the eyes oscillate between their natural inclination and the artificial state demanded by the film. This can cause extreme eye strain, migraines and nausea.”

During the summer of 2010, TechSpot.com wrote that Sony updated their Playstation 3 Terms of Service Agreement statement:

“Sony, no doubt preferring to play it safe, has issued a warning saying these problems are not to be taken lightly. The latest Playstation 3 Terms of Service statement advises that anyone who experiences ‘eye strain, eye fatigue or nausea’ should turn off 3D immediately. Players can begin using the technology again when discomfort subsides, however.”

But in January 2011, NYTimes wrote an article saying that many eye-specialist fired back by questioning Nintendo’s new warning.

“Nintendo said several days ago that children under 6 should not look at the 3-D screen on its new 3DS hand-held device because it could harm eye development. The admonition raised skepticism and eyebrows among a group that knows a lot about eye development: eye doctors.

Some of the world’s elite pediatric ophthalmologists said the Nintendo announcements surprised them because it seemed to have little basis in science. ‘The fact you’d watch 3-D in a theater or a video game should have zero deleterious impact whatsoever,’ said Dr. Lawrence Tychsen, a professor of pediatrics and ophthalmology at Washington University in St. Louis.”

Based on this research, it made me start thinking whether my little nieces should be going to watch movies like “Alice in Wonderland” which was released in 3D at the theaters, especially since they are showing signs of “lazy eye” and they are under the age of 6. Now this has nothing to do with Nintendo, but it does draw health concerns for me as an uncle and parent.

Now let’s talk about those gamers!
I have many friends that are gamers…I am sure you have friends that sit hours and hours in front of the television playing their Playstation, Wii, XBox, etc. With the advent of Playstation and Nintendo with 3D games, how can one sit with the glasses on and play games for hours. I would have a migraine and want to sleep for hours. As I was surfing around, doing some research on this topic, I found this blog post by Jason Weissman titled “3D Gaming is Doomed to Fail.” Hmm…that is a big statement, which perked my interest.

“The biggest barrier for this technology is that using it for more than an hour (or in some cases even less time) causes tremendous eye strain and headaches. If you are like me, you likely have lengthy game sessions. I tried several games in different 3D modes on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and while the games generally looked great, the experience was not one I’d often seek to repeat.”

So if people in theaters are feeling this way, and the gamers are sharing the same concerns…I am starting to wonder if this makes sense for the house. Once again, here is is Jason Weissman:

“Many people have asserted that 3D will never take off in the home because gamers would need to wear 3D glasses. That is why the 3DS is not typically denigrated in the same manner and why many people say they will wait for glasses-free 3D televisions.”

Now let’s talk about the glasses!
Yes…those pesky things that we have to wear to watch 3D content whether in front of a television or in a theater. I have many thoughts about the glasses. Why do I want to wear glasses in my house to enjoy content? Now I understand there is not a lot of content out there, and I would have to subscribe to 3D programming…but I am not sure I would want to put on those glasses to watch ESPN’s College Football in 3D for a 3.5 hour game.

I like to drink beer and eat food that usually is not healthy during these games…so imagine wearing the glasses, getting a headache during the 4th quarter when the game is getting good. Then proceed to the bathroom because the 3D effect has set-in and it is time to puke. I understand this is a bit extreme, or is it? Especially if you are like me on Saturday’s and like to watch HOURS of college football.

Good3DTV.com reported that in ESPN’s initial study/research with 3DTV, eye strain can be reduced with frequent breaks. Hmmm…interesting.

“The network has stated that a wide range of 3D TVs were used, including passive and active 3D TVs to conduct the study. Most of the complaints about headache came from the viewers watching active 3D television. Most people watching passive 3D TVs were almost not affected. Duane Varan, executive director of the Disney Media and Advertising Lab, further stated that the passive 3D TV viewing was much more pleasant owing to the viewers being able to interact with other people watching in the room due to the lighter set of 3D glasses they were wearing.”

Those glasses can be costly ranging from $25 to over $150 dollars. Ok, let’s buy a television for close to $1200 and then purchase glasses to watch the content. And then make sure you hit the Walgreens or CVS for migraine medication…oh do not forget the Tums.

Let’s wrap it up!
Another interesting note from the ESPN research study…“According to Varan, advertising for products in 3D is much more effective. The desire to buy a product that has been advertised in 3D format has increased from 49 to 83 percent compared to an advertisement in 2D.” 

Oh yeah, those ad dollars…we will get back to that in a second. Or, let’s tackle it right now. Television networks are in dire straight…need to find another way to generate ad dollars. Yes, just like when HDTV was originally created in Japan in the late 80’s. They needed a new revenue stream, so they gave the consumer a reason to buy a new television… because all content was going to be released in HD.

Bottom line, you have to buy the right television and wear glasses to enjoy the experience, and only for a short amount of time.  Maybe if this technology pushes into wide acceptance, more people will spend less time watching television, because headaches will detract from prolonged couch potato syndrom.

So, what will I do with 3D content? I will not produce 3D content quite yet…I will wait to see how the market reacts this year (2012). I do not think that 3D TV has a place in my living room, it does not make sense to watch content with glasses in the comfort of my home. The theater experience will remain the 3D experience for me. I do not mind paying to go watch certain movies in 3D, because I believe that the movie theater still has a place in our American fabric. The movie theater is a time to take the family to watch something special, and 3D content is still considered special to me, not everyday.

BTW, here is a GREAT article by TVPredictions.com called “10 Reasons Why People Won’t Watch 3DTV” and here are the list of reasons. Note, this article was written this past summer…so some of the reasons might be evolving. But, I found it interesting.

  1. 3D TV Interrupts Your Viewing Experience
  2. It Makes You Sick
  3. Millions of People Just Bought New TVs
  4. There’s Not Much 3D to Watch On My Cable or Satellite
  5. There’s Not Much 3D to Watch On Blu-ray
  6. People Hate the 3D Glasses
  7. The Glasses Are Too Expensive For a Family
  8. 3D TV Is Not HDTV
  9. 3D TV Is Not Easy to Use
  10. 3D TV Has Lost the Culture War

I would recommend reading the explanations for each point, I think you will find it interesting. CLICK HERE to read the whole article!

***Image at the top from Think Like Maxwell blog…CLICK HERE to read!

 

GoPro makes Wide Angle and Fisheye Cool


***Video is from GoPro’s YouTube account.

For years I have been shooting with wide angle and fisheye lens. Whether it is with my still image cameras or video cameras, I have always purchased wide angle and fisheye adapters. If you have ever worked with me, you will notice me constantly using this look whether for interviews or cool, interesting shots. I have purchased many different wide angle lens adapters for my broadcast cameras, prosumer cameras, and even my Canon EOS digital cameras. I am willing to spend more on the glass than the camera itself…whether it is Century Optics, Canon, or Sigma lenses.

From the earliest days of my career in broadcast television as a photojournalist, I have always used this perspective…to me this makes the picture warm, visually interesting, and intriguing. Most people react to the style with strong opinions…you either like it or you don’t. Trust me…I have many mixed reviews, regardless I love this style and look. These perspectives sometimes bring a sense of curvature to the image.

So I just purchased my first GoPro camera, which is a small compact camera with the ability to capture HD 1080p images using a standard wide angle lens. This perspective gives an 170 degree perspective. These cameras have taken on the extreme sport scene, providing a rich perspective as they are mounted in places like the front of a surf board or the wing of a plane. But…what you will notice are the wide angle perspectives in the videos captured, giving a complete viewpoint of the whole “subjects'” surroundings.

If you watch the video above, you can see all the different ways people are using these cameras…making the wide angle look and interesting, appealing, and widely accepted practice of capturing images.  I love this look and love the warmth it brings to the screen.

I also like what GoPro is doing on the digital/social media front. Their website is rich with lots of product descriptions, images, and YouTube videos showing how customers/professionals are using these cameras. They also have a place for people to submit videos they have shot with their GoPro cameras for use in future promotions. Even better, they have the Daily Giveaway where people sign-up to win their products daily.

If you go to their Facebook Page, it is nothing extravagent…just fans submitting videos and pictures shot with their GoPro cameras. “Simple” must work for them in the social media world…they have over 1.3 million “Likes” on their Facebook Page.

Bottom line…GoPro is making the wide angle and fisheye look cool, innovative, and mainstream. I am a fan of the look and the camera!

Do you notice these types of shots in videos? Do you like the fisheye look? Love to hear your thoughts!