Health & Community: Pictures & Video’s Impact

I’ve seen YouTube’s power as a community, and occasionally it rallies on behalf of an individual or cause related to health. However I’ve yet to see a health community that’s truly powered by images and video (and involves patient-to-patient peer support leveraging webcams and the Internets).

In general, I like when the power of new-technology marketing is put toward a health cause.

Some of the graphics are a bit more compelling than others

Like imagine the video campaigns that can come out of the FDA’s imagery for cigarette packs! Graphic cigarette labels: Will they work? You damned straight they will… at least compared to text. The proof is in other countries.

They challenge, of course, will be to use these negative reinforcements the drive urgency, then positive-reinforcement and behavior change to help people. A scary imagine alone can have moderate effect, but people are generally more eager to change when you tell them how and try to go beyond scaring them into change.

 

Now on a happier but related note:

PatientsLikeMe is a health site where you can specify your illness(es), see how other people rated various treatments, and (if you wish) engage with other patients. The site jumped on my radar when it launched years ago, and I wrote the founder. It surfaced again when it surprisingly was able to publish findings on co-morbidities (if you have x illness, you may likely have y).

The site held a video contest answering the question “how has PatientsLikeMe helped you,” and here are the winners (see link for embedded videos).

Here are the top winners chosen across three different categories:

Most Creative Presentation:
tiredoftired of New Jersey for Depression Feels Like

Most Inspiring Story:
tired old me of Delaware for Patients Like Me: Bonnie Tipton

Top Voted (by peers):
Roulette67 of New Jersey for I Am Not Alone

 

Amateur Video Threatens Madison Avenue Budgets

As reported by The Onion, the Advertising industry is facing serious competition by amateurs.

Oh, did I mention you’re not pwning each other enough in the comments? Strap one on.

Impact of YouTube’s Shift from “Small Pond” to “Vast Market”

YouTube’s Gay Godfather (zipster08) explains YouTube circa 2005-2011… why independent vloggers are creating fewer videos and YouTube was more of a “corporation” than “community.” The “small pond” evolves to a “vast market,” meaning more competition for new creators and the oldies…

You may remember Zipster from the “YouTube Retirement Home.” But unlike his bi-polar chess-companion, he’s the energizer bunnystill going.

What Zipster doesn’t realize is that when YouTube deploys its new “Green Parrot” distortion filter, Zipster will look better (like this) and increase views by 63 percent.

Online Video in 2011: Ready for Drama?

Friends, online-video is going to be a fun storm in 2011 as the drama has just begun. It’s the first official business day of 2011, and that prompted me to awaken at 3:00 a.m. with great curiosity. I spent 4-plus hours diving into dozens of articles and blogs, and have wrapped it all up nicely for you. It’s my late Christmas gift.

Here are “things to watch” in early 2011, including some recent articles. See also my 2011 predictions, which is a mandatory scan. This will be on the exam.

Can WebTV tame the "Big Media" Tiger?

1. The WebTV Bloodbath Is Just Beginning: Check out this killer article by Fortune’s Jessi Hempel titled “What the Hell is Going On With TV” to get a flavor for the impending drama in this space. And I quote: “Netflix, Google, and Apple can’t just swoop in and disrupt the $85 billion home entertainment industry. The challenge lies in navigating the entrenched interests that make up the television business.” Jessi’s piece reminds us that only a 1/10th of a percent of people have left cable television for the web, yet Microsoft says 42% of the premium Xbox Gold users who rely on it to view video are watching more than an hour a day, or 30 hours in a month. “If you’re a cable provider, that should be terrifying,” says Forrester analyst James McQuivey. The author points to Clicker.com as one I’d watch closely… a made-for-web TVGuide and search tool that allows you to locate various shows (Modern Family) and select viewing options: free, per episode or subscription. But Jessi likes Comcast as a driver of a mature online-video model because it protects the financial interests of content providers (as well as its own). I sadly believe she’s right given the confusing and frustrating state of online-video on television today (which she likens to Internet circa 1998).  Fortunately we’ve got two forces to keep Comcast motivated: consumer demand and willing startups ready to meet that demand. And he, Comcast has been asked to be cool (see Bloomberg/Businessweek article).

Click image to read more of Fortune's "What the HELL is Going on With TV"

2. Online-Video Platforms Continue to Get Commoditized, Then Interesting. Frankly I’ve never been as interested in the boring infrastructure supporting online video as I am the marketing, community and content that sits on top of it (where the air is easier to breath). But Streaming Media’s Dan Rayburn explains it well. Sure the space is commoditized, but just because YouTube is free doesn’t mean online-video platform vendors can’t charge a premium for more flexible solutions that can scale and provide unique functionality. According to Rayburn’s “Commoditization Is Not a Dirty Word,” vendors are shifting from talking about how they encode or embed (yawn) and how they a) integrate with ad networks and analytics, b) deliver the right video content to the right user on the right device. That makes sense, and I would not underestimate the power of a platform that meets the needs of creators and advertisers (David Russek‘s SevenEcho, for instance, is one of the best-kept secrets for storytellers and brands). There’s a wide opening for a video platform which better meets the needs of creators and advertisers (see MediaPost article by WatchMojo’s Ashkan Karbasfrooshan). The challenge, of course, is that today traffic (not content) is king, and YouTube continues to reign by miles (comScore). Thanks to music videos, Vevo and Blip.tv continue to grow — but still small fish.

3. YouTube Community Still Alive. Is YouTube a thing, destination or community? Yes, depending on whether you live there 2 hours a day or slide over to see the latest viral clip of search for a meme. Community is still alive, and the eager and weird folks from StirFryTV are cooking up a “YouTour,” a YouTube Tour which starts in Orland on a Jan. 18 event. It will include YouTube allstars Michael Buckley, Shane Dawson and CoolGuyWithGlasses. We’re not sure if John Basedow will be sneaking onto the YouTour RV, and going shirtless to each event to pitch his “Take Control Fitness Package” (making the rest of us feel like fat asses). Paul (odcasting101) remains alive with his YouTube Gathering ning. There’s a San Antonio, Texas YouTube gathering planned in June 17-June 19). While YouTube’s Creator blog has gone dry, it points to 488 YouTube gatherings listed on Meetup.com (mostly tiny ones). I just discovered YTGatherings on Twitter too, and it alerts us to such events like Jake & Amir’s Toronto event on Jan. 27, 2011. I’d be surprised if a YouTube event doesn’t spring up as part of the popular Austin, Texas SouthBySouthwest event March 11-20. After all, there are several YouTube and online-video sessions as part of the programing and Felicia Day is keynoting.

4. Video Search Will Suck Less Get Better. Sure we’ve been saying that for years, but ThinkJose’s Jose Castillo explains why video search sucks: “The internet was never designed as a platform for video… the basic structure and platform we are using to consume visual data is an outdated system originally used for sending text messages between universities.” Castillo reminded me that Blinkx.com is still around, and that Microsoft’s Bing search has a mouse-over playback (and don’t tell YouTube, but I think Bing is curating better with a homepage of videos that I regard as more relevant than what I’m finding on YouTube). He also points to CastTV, which provides blended results from YouTube, CNN, Amazon and other sites. See also Clicker.com (point one).

5. Video Greetings Will Get More Awkward in 2011: Cheesy Christmas video greetings were hot, with some being fabulous and others being downright painful. They didn’t stop, as evidenced by Profnet’s stunningly awkward 2011 New Years video. I hate to say this, but I think we’ve only begun to see how low corporate video-greeting cards can go. Sure this isn’t an “industry shaker,” but it sure will be fun to watch.

6. Video Destinations Rival YouTube: When I pop into a few well curated online-video sites, I increasingly believe YouTube, while still growing in views, will lose share in 2011. Check out Bing’s site and you’ll find a piece about Mona Lisa’s eye codes by NBC (saw it on TV last night), the “No” baby (that has viralinated), and how to break your soda habit via Howcast. That’s far more relevant than what I’m finding when I browse YouTube’s inhumanely edited topic areas, or surf my bloated subscription box. Yahoo Video is still luke warm, but I’d expect it to steal share with the shift away from consumer-generated content in March. AOL Video is still Revverish (insert tumbleweed and sound of crickets) but getting better. While YouTube focuses on being a platform, being relevant on television and mobile, and hopefully searching video better.

7. Damn We Need Curators. It’s simply not possible to “browse” for good videos on YouTube anymore, although perhaps Google will consider some of my unsolicited New Years Resolutions for YouTube. Ultimately I’m not likely to find good content surfing the “most viewed” on YouTube (now dominated by a few niche “web stars” that appear to be “crowd sourced” by a tiny segment of apparently stoned teenage video enthusiasts). Instead, we’re more likely to find it via curators like eGuiders. Why aren’t we seeing more curators (see NYTimes blog on subject from last year). For instance, ReelSEO’s Jeremy Scott carefully selected some fantastic viral highlights from last year. That was more helpful to me than combing through YouTube. I wrote a lot about curating in Beyond Viral; go buy that dang book so I’m not the laughing stock of Wiley. Hitwise’s Bill Tancer saw the migration of early YouTubers to curated content sites a year ago, but it’s been oddly quiet.

8. Online Video Gets More Social. I didn’t hit that hard enough in my 2011 predictions, so let me point to Hitwise’s report about Facebook driving the social engine of the Internet. Basically Facebook’s growth hasn’t slowed down, and MySpace and Bebo are crumbling. YouTube, surprisingly, is flat relative to Facebook. I’m telling you… watch for Facebook offering revenue sharing and see if the YouTube community shifts over to Facebook. Daneboe’s cracked Facebook via the insanely popular Annoying Orange with nearly 7 million “likes” (compared to only 1.5 million YouTube subscribers despite his 423 million views). Currently Daneboe uses Facebook to alert fans to a video, then streams it on YouTube where he generates a percentage of income. How easy would it be for him to start using Facebook if the company revenue shared? Most of us YouTubers haven’t cracked Facebook yet, and it’s high time for that. NYTimes Tech Blogger, Miguel Helft, also points to Clicker.com (someone’s doing good PR) for socializing video.

9. You’re Going to Pay More for Broadband: Video will soon dominate the percent of Internet traffic (see 2011 “Year Ahead In IT,” point 6). You .o5 percent of cable snippers are draining the economic system like illegitimate welfare recipients or those pesky entitled Boomers looking for social security payouts. Sure maybe there will be a poor-man’s broadband solution, but the rest of us are going to pay. With broadband suckers like Netflix and the new Skype iPhone Video one-to-one apps, do you honestly think telecommunication firms and broadband providers aren’t going to get wise? The U.S. is 18th in the world for speed, and we can bet that’s going to get some attention despite the historical year-over-year flat cost of broadband.

10. Google Going Beyond YouTube. Despite the GoogleTV Sony/Logitech launch running into a mix of praise and hiccupsreworking software and media-company resistance, we can expect Google to go beyond YouTube in 2011. Check out Information Week’s predictions on what Google will do this year. Among them: going Hollywood. That appears a difficult but inevitable play for Google to “organize the world’s information,” when you recognize “big media” as a large, sustainable chunk of it.

Finally take note of NewTeeVee’s Liz Shannon Miller’s poll about what force will really impact the space. Most votes are not for Hulu, Netflix, TV Everywhere, Apple or Google… most of us believe the real “shake up” or transformation will be driven by… something else. If YouTube and Facebook’s relative overnight success taught us anything about this still-maturing market, it’s that where there are problems and unmet consumer needs, there’s always something sudden and new that can keep it interesting.

Intravenous Twitter Drip of Online-Video Enthusiasts

Without bookmarks, RSS or e-mails, there are a few sites I remember and visit randomly.  It’s usually because I’m bored or curious (but don’t know what I’m curious about). For instance, TechCrunch, Cheapskate, TheOnion, Google News, Yahoo Buzz. What are yours?

On TechCrunch I found an article about Blekko, a search engine that avoids spam by only indexing sites identified by people (like 2100 university sites). You use slashes to refine your search, so I tried Nalts and /date. That awakened me to a SocialTimes piece Megan O’Neill (Tel Aviv) curated a bunch of people and websites worth following on Twitter if you’re an online-video enthusiast. It’s quite handy, but I’m biased because I made the cut. 🙂

The Twitter accounts include ReelSEO’s Mark Robertson, GigaOM’s Ryan Lawler, Shape Shifting Zadi Diaz, as well as a bunch of people I consider “Friends” by a broad definition (meaning I have met them in person, I like them, and we share interests). Author Steve Garfield, Revisiond3’s Jim Louderback, Michael Buckley (WhatTheBuck), iJustine, Charles Trippy, Kassemg (the guy I know least among these). By a pure definition they’re not exactly friends, though. But isn’t the term “friend” changing because of Facebook’s use of the term?

Hey on that note, what’s a close friend? I’d consider a “close friend” someone you’ve known for a year or more, you’ve exchange meaningful information, and you know well and vice versa (meaning you each know your family/friends/significant others). For me, a friend isn’t competitive, they listen, and they share values. They can differ in many ways, but enjoy each other’s conversation and company. Most importantly, they forgive lapses in communication (something important to me because I’m spread thin and often vanish). I can think of dozens of people who are too frustrated by my intermittent communication to consider me a friend, and others who I can call after a long lapse and it’s like no time has passed.

Photo by Jim Davidson (Bucknick)

Anyway, Megan also assembled a nice collection of online-video stats and news websites (these are her words below). I’d suggest adding a few sites sites like ViralBlog, ReelSEOUrgo6667‘s stat site called Social Blade, and Renetto’s MyU2b).

  • Unleash Video Unleash Video is a video entertainment sharing website.  On their Twitter account they tweet about videos and news from their website, but they also tweet about general news in the online video space and they always have something interesting to share.
  • Web Series Today – If you enjoy web series then Web Series Today is definitely a must-follow.  Web Series Today tweets about the web’s top video series and is the best source for unfiltered web series information online.
  • Viral Video Chart – If you love being the first of your friends to know about the latest viral video hits then Viral Video Chart is the Tweeter to follow.  Viral Video Chart tweets about all the latest and most popular viral videos on the web.
  • Viral Viral Videos – Viral Viral Videos is also a great source, tweeting about viral videos as they go viral.
  • Web Video News – Finally, Web Video News is a great source for online and web video news, research and trends, compiling news from a variety of different sources across the web.

My list of linked sites is somewhat arbitrary and antiquated, but I hope to revise it. Please let me know what else you read for news about online video, and I’ll try to refresh the list with these and others!

Another Film About YouTube, But I’m Not In It. So Skip It.

Another YouTube film…

Another film about YouTube and its community. But I’m not in it. So skip it, and see “I Want My 3 Minutes Backinstead (see article and high-definition trailer).

Just kidding. Maybe. Butterflies is a movie about the YouTube people and community, and its trailer features Renetto… So, yeah, they’ve probably been working for years on it.

There’s your standard-issue MrSafety and WhatTheBuck quotes. Your basic LisaNova interview. DaveDays smiling about the mulah. I would have thought ShayCarl’s fame hit after post-production, but it didn’t stop him from sneaking his way into the stills. Shay, you’re the Michael Cain of YouTube.

But best of all, you get to see Xgobobeanx cry. Because comments can hurt. Funny how both films dealt with that issue. My favorite is still “I want to shit in your mouth.”

Hurt me in the comments section below. Hurt me!

Here’s the PopTub interview with Chuck Potter about “I Want My 3 Minutes Back.”

You Tube – Clean Up or Censorship?

hot off the press…

A YouTube for All of Us
As a community, we have come to count on each other to be entertained, challenged, and moved by what we watch and share on YouTube. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make the collective YouTube experience even better, particularly on our most visited pages. Our goal is to help ensure that you’re viewing content that’s relevant to you, and not inadvertently coming across content that isn’t. Here are a few things we came up with:

* Stricter standard for mature content – While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they’re flagged, we’re tightening the standard for what is considered “sexually suggestive.” Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they’ll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older. To learn more about what constitutes “sexually suggestive” content, click here.

* Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity – Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favorited,’ and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we’ve found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.

* Improved thumbnails – To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You’ll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index.

* More accurate video information – Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.

The preservation and improvement of the YouTube experience is a responsibility we share. Let’s work together to ensure that the YouTube community continues to thrive as a positive place for all of us.

The YouTube Team

Brief Editorial:
by Zack Scott

1. Why should videos be demoted on profanity alone? Why not just hide them for people not logged in and are 18 or older?

2. Some of YouTube‘s most popular stars…Bo Burnham, Charles Trippy, sXePhil, Chris Crocker, Mark Day, etc…(name as many as you want) all have used profanity.

3. The new thumbnail idea sucks. Now what if none of the thumbnails are good?

4. YouTube sometimes features videos with profanity.

—————–

OK, now I finally understand YouTube’s “Stricter standard for mature content”

“Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favorited,’ and other browse pages.”

They must not like sXePhil.

Former Top YouTuber Leads Vlogging Revolution

Vloggerheads launchesFor months, YouTube Cewebrity Paul Robinette (Renetto) has been posting video blogs (vlogs) about his discontent on YouTube. He has criticized the site for how it handles the small but vocal video community, and has stirred up drama with the grace of an Olympic gymnist.

In the past few weeks, Robinette quietly launched Vloggerheads.com with 250 plus fellow vloggers. I previously reported that he was launching RenettoTube (see site), but apparently he had some help from branding experts.

The site, which was created using ning, is by invite only (info@renetto.com), and has already banned at least one controversial YouTube poet. The site has rules of ettiquette and is working to keep out unsavory “haters,” “trolls” and “pedophiles.” Fortunately that crowd has its own site (utubedrama.com). And don’t pretend you don’t surf for your name there weekly.

Renetto, who shaved my head years ago when I desperately wanted to be him, once topped the charts of YouTube but has fallen down the top 100 even faster than Nalts (which is rather sad given that I “jumped the shark” more than a year ago).

Renetto is loved and hated, but often the subject of discussion (see outtake clip that spoofs Renetto from a video I shot this week with YouTube Whore MrSafety). He’s best-known for his Mentos parody (nearly 10 million views) and was quoted regularly in the early media coverage of YouTube. In late 2006, Robinette rallied in support of YouTube-challenger Live Video, then changed his mind and brought about McCarthy-like challenge to those who abandoned YouTube (and took great pride in helping unravel LiveVideo). See NY Post article for more.

Vloggerheads is being listed as a “placeholder” site with larger goals. However it’s already attracting some of the YouTubers who don’t have top rankings but are staples among the inner circle of a vibrant community. My “poster child” of the online-video community (Nutcheese) is already addicted and that’s slown down her visits to Stumble! by 26%.

With just 800 videos to date and no apparent revenue model, Vloggerheads won’t soon be a threat to YouTube. But it’s an alternative virtual city where “hard core” community members are gathering, debating, communing and creating drama…

A smaller pond for those feeling lost in an increasingly commercialized YouTube?

Here’s my social commentary on vlogging. I wasn’t too sarcastic was I?

P.S. A reporter from Wired.com contacted Paul and said she heard about him from Nalts’ blog. That’s the power I have in media. Like TechCrunch I can make or break a company. Arington eat my pie hole you viralvideovillain promoter.

Viacom Becomes Poster Child for Good Cause Gone Overboard

viacomm logo for public domainIf you think you have the worse job in the world, imagine working for Viacom in the public relations group. The organization has decided that, above all else, it must fiercely protect its copyrighted material. A worthy cause when your core asset is not your people, but your family of brands, movies and shows.

But is the legal attack on YouTube (which now appears to invade the privacy of YouTube creators and viewers) worth the fuss? Viacom is becoming the poster child for excess… a noble cause gone mannic like God-honoring terrorists. It’s making Disney look like Kevin MacLeod.

If you haven’t been keeping track, many of the most popular videos on YouTube right now anti-Viacom rants. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could hit the top of the “most rated” section if I shot a video of me pooping… as long as the title was “Viacom Sucks.” Heck- click here for a search on YouTube by the word “Viacom.”

TheReelWeeklyNews has made a whole cause out of calling out Viacom in a series of videos (with a somewhat annoyingly rhythmic speech pattern) that are further catalyzing the YouTube community’s absolute despise of Viacom. See video below.

Even the jaded are aghast. Viacom may have a legal right, but the PR damage will not soon heal. The real question is whether that damage will trickle down to Viacom’s otherwise beloved brands

We’re talking big names with strong equity: Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, even AtomFilms and AddictingGames.

In the meantime, I’m staying the heck out of it, and making videos of myself pouring candy into my coffee. A cause against Viacom will forge a temporary bond among advocates of privacy and freedom of speech. But it’s fleeting. Like Stephen Covey says about bashing people behind their back… it forms a cheap morter.

I’d avocate that the energy now placed against Viacom (or Scientology for that matter) would be more influential if it was directed to a positive alternative. Kinda like athiesm — being anti-God isn’t really a sustainable position. You gotta be for something else. For athiests, maybe that’s pro-science or pro-intelligence or something. Not really sure. God strikes me as a bit more interesting than science. And while I’m on this tangent, why are athiests always trying to prove God doesn’t exist and force believers to prove He does? I believe in God but if you don’t, it doesn’t really concern me.

So what is that positive alternative to Viacom’s madness? I dunno. I’ll leave that to smarter people. I don’t even know what net neutrality means, so I’ll go penis poke someone.

Can Amateur Online Video Power Health Community?

I’ve been saying for years that I’d trust 100 patients’ diagnosis and recommendations over one doctor’s. It’s the power of the masses: a large set of less educated opinions are more likely to be informative than one educated professional. As an example, I posted a video last night called “5Ks are brutal,” and described some symptoms I’ve had with my back and leg (fast forward to 1:50 to hear how I describe my pain and tingling in one leg).

Within 10 minutes of my hitting “upload,” someone suggested it might be Sciatica (see Wikipedia entry, which itself is a collective explanation and not necessarily informed by medical professionals).  As of now, there are several hundred comments, and a few others agree it could be sciatica.

viewer diagnosis of sciatica

I found this comment fascinating because I think bohogirl1, a total stranger, helped save me weeks of misdiagnoses- and her response arrived almost instantly. I do find my doctor to be largely informed (she’s seen here in this parody, where she was good enough to pretend to diagnose me with “video virus.” But I’ve been experiencing these symptoms for more than a month, and haven’t felt compelled to visit her… it’s time off work, a co-payment and I’m likely to get the “HMO runaround.”

Clearly this wouldn’t work if nobody was watching my videos, and it’s not very sustainable. I doubt many would subscribe to a YouTube channel of random patients complaining about inexplicable medical symptoms — much less offer free diagnosis. But I do think that online-video will power health care communities. Already we’ve seen communities form around medical conditions — especially severe ones like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, or mental illnesses (see crazymeds.us for some collective experiences related to pharmaceutical treatments related to depression, anxiety and other neurological ailments).

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and now Revolution Health, has indicated that as co-pays rise and consumer-directed healthplans push costs to consumers, patients are likely to become more informed and seek out other patients for efficient coping with illnesses. When I had a family member diagnosed with cancer, the second thing I did (after surfing the credible sites about cancer) was look for people that had experienced his rare type of cancer… to find out what to expect in treatment and recovery.

I struggle with exactly how video and health community will collide. I would imagine that if community forms around medical illnesses, people will want to exchange stories and advice in a more personalized way… and video is the most visceral means for this. That said, most online-video consumption is related to news, humor and sex. So this will be long-tail stuff. Yet certainly more profound.