Last night I went to my first Social Media Club event. It was kind of like Fight Club but with a lot less fighting. (OK, so maybe it wasn’t anything like Fight Club.) The focus of the evening was on the various roles for video in social networking and the three panelists – Steve Garfield, Larry Lawfer and Jason Alcorn – each brought a very different perspective to the subject. It was kind of ironic that video was the topic on the very day Google came out saying that the Internet can’t scale to deliver TV; but that didn’t come up.
Steve Garfield got the ball rolling with a nice intro to video blogging. He went through the nuts and bolts, demonstrated how to shot and post and showed some of the various posts he has made. Here’s a video he made during the event. The bottom line is that anyone can do a video blog, it doesn’t take a whole load of special equipment and it can be an engaging and interactive format. One interesting tidbit that Steve shared is that blip.tv creates its thumbnails from the image seconds into a video while YouTube pulls the image from the midpoint of the video. Who’d have guessed? (Steve was also packing a Nokia N93 which is one kick-ass little gadget.)
Larry Lawfer, of YourStorys, is not such a do it yourself kind of guy. Larry makes well-produced videos that might be used on the Web have a much broader set of potential applications. They focus on doing customer testimonial videos and he described some projects and outcomes that were truly impressive. It was pretty interesting stuff. One thing that I thought was kind of funny was that Steve was talking about the importance of spontaneity and authenticity while Larry was talking up the importance of production and quality. Different strokes for different folks – and uses.
The final presenter was Jason Alcorn of Mindshare Interactive. They help non-profits put video to work for issue awareness and fund raising. Jason played a video they did for American Rivers – a non-profit focused on – you guessed it – America’s rivers. What impressed me the most about what they were doing was that it wasn’t just video. It was a Flash that incorporated audio, video and navigable text to create a pretty sweet little package.
After the presentations we broke into groups with one of the thee presenters to talk about the topic in more detail. I joined Steve as I found the idea of content creation the most interesting of the three. We talked about why more people weren’t doing video blogging and decided that it came down to a few things – first, people wrongly assume there is a technical hurdle, then comes the problem that you actually have to have something meaningful to say and be able to say it in an authentic and visually compelling way.
We discussed the ways that video is changing the way people communicate – from friends Steve has made through connecting with other vloggers to things like Stickam that allow people to self-broadcast and interact in real-time. It was a good set of conversations.
After the event a handful of us went out for a few beers. Conversation there – at least the ones I was involved with – were pretty much focused on identity and trust online. All-in-all, it was a good night and I’m looking forward to next months event.
[tags]SMCBoston, Social Media, Video, Steve Garfield, blip.tv, YouTube, Nokia N93, Larry Lawfer, YourStory, Jason Alcorn, Mindshare Interactive, blogging, vlogging, stickam[/tags]