Bank of America is Your Sweet But Senile Grandmother on Twitter

momDigiday writer Saya Weissman lists Bank of America in the top-5 brand fails on Twitter, and I just had my own amusing experience with the bank. Today’s lesson for brands is simple: while it can’t hurt to integrate your customer service help desk with your social media efforts, you probably shouldn’t have customer service reps manning the Twitter voice.

I’d characterize Bank of America’s Twitter voice as “well intentioned but lacking mental clarity.” But we can’t judge or condemn the bank! It’s kinda like an aging grandmother who may not be completely lucid, but she certainly means no harm.

Weissman’s gave BOA a “fail” because the bank provided a human but robotic response (“we’d be happy to review your account“) to tweets by activist Mark Hamilton (@darthmarkh). Hamilton, of course, wasn’t exactly keen to discuss an account. He had been tweeting about being chased away from a Bank of America by cops… it seems Hamilton had been drawing an anti-foreclosure message on the sidewalk.

My recent experience with the bank was almost as strange. Yesterday I saw that Bank of America television commercial (“Flowers“) featuring a dude bringing his gal a bouquet of flowers. Inexplicably the dude decides just one flower will do, so he leaves the rest in his cab.

My reaction to the ad wasn’t quite “I need to open a Bank of America account.” I was more thinking “I wonder what the next cab passenger thought when he found a bouquet of flowers in an otherwise empty cab?” So I tweeted: “I found the rest of the dude’s flowers in a cab. Can I keep them?” I didn’t expect a response, and frankly I was pleased to have one.

Naturally, my Tweet made absolutely no sense to anyone but me. That’s quite often my MO on Twitter. So we can’t blame Bank of America for asking for account details for clarity, right (“I’m not sure I understand the question… please send me a DM with more detail.” It’s just an odd response that sounds more SIRI than human. The logic appears to be: “when in doubt, a comment about our bank is probably an inquiry to discuss an account.” Hey that’s cool, though. The next time I have a problem with my account… I’ll just tweet something like: “increase my credit by $5K.”

Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother
Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother




The Top 10 “Viral” Videos of 2011 That You Missed

The internets are packed with Jessica Black and Nyan Cat videos that are proclaimed the most “viral” of 2011. But it’s time to take a look at 10 of my favorite videos you probably missed.

What was your favorite video of 2011? Enjoy mine… in no particular order.

10. People of Walmart 2
Jessica Frech gave us a sequel to “People of Walmart,” and it’s just as outrageous and fun as the original.

9. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Another rare sequel that is about as good as the original… Marcel was back thanks to the talented Dean Fleischer-Camp.

8. Pet Santa
Mike L. Mayfield topped his animation collection with Pet Santa. Perhaps some “recency bias” in this selection but it’s adorable.

7. Retarded Policeman: Nalts
It’s not a new video, but it returned to the web after a hiatus. And the series by Greg Benson and Ponce returns in 2012.

6. Charles Trippy Wedding
Internet personality sensation Charles Trippy married Ali Speed this fall, and Corey Vidal created this amazing music video.

5. Zoochosis’ “Thanks Smokey”
Zoochosis debuted this summer with a load of semi-pro but low-cost productions. Thanks Smokey is the hypnotic tale of a hiker who sees sheep in a new way.

4. The Scary Snowman
This year was Scary Snowman’s transition from obscurity to popularity, and his beach prank is my favorite.

3. How to Piss in Public
OffthewallTV/LastPictures gave us tips on how to urinate in public.

2. Dog Walks Down Steps On Front Legs
A guilty pleasure, and it’s short enough for the ADHD folks.

1. Ray William Johnson Parody
I’m not sure why I like this, but it’s an animated parody of Ray William Johnson, the richest YouTuber.

Busted: I Know What You Videotaped Last Summer

Busted. I’ve got 50/50 odds that you’re one of those people that secretly videotapes others. So I don’t want ANY more shit about my prank antics, okay?

Harris Interactive polled more than 2,000 adults and found that 50% of Americans would use a Smart phone to make a secret video (note wording is “would” not “did”). So what would we videotape?

• 23% – people in embarrassing outfits
• 20% – athletes at a sporting event
• 15% – someone tripping/falling
• 10% – sexy waitress at a restaurant
• 9% – shirtless hunk mowing the neighbor’s lawn
• 7% – cheerleaders
• 7% – boss or coworker sneaking a second doughnut
• 6% – disgusting grooming habits
• 5% – couple kissing or making out
• 8%- other

The Future of YouTube Using YouTube

Check out Tim Schmoyer’s new show with ReelSEO (Mark Robertson) on the subject of online video. I’m biased because I really, really like Tim and Mark… but you’ve got to admit the format is tasty. Rapid-fire delivery of important topics, like YouTube’s changes, TV networks online, and even! And he’s got BLOOPERS!

Tim plus ReelSEO is like peanut butter and chocolate, and the vlogger videoauthority promises to show us how to change our YouTube name without losing our subs and starting over. Hmmmm. Go sub.


Great Resources on Creating Film Look Using HD-SLR Cameras

What are the best free online-resources to help you create a film look with a digital camera (even a $500 HD-SLR camera will do the trick). While writing my last post about how to create film-like effects using an HDSLR camera within a budget, I realized there’s loads of great articles, blogs, video tutorials, discussion boards and other forums to the free exchange of what people learn in the trenches. So here’s the beginning of a list of some very useful posts — some new and some old. See my last post for tips like using depth of field (with decent lens), 24-frames-per-second, panoramic display, decent lighting and audio.

Now for some free online-resources to help further…


The "bleach bypass" effect is seen here, where black and white (toned silver) sit over a more subtle color.
  1. Curated Articles on Making Video Look Like Film: Urban Fox curated some articles on making video look like film, and is well worth a glance. I especially liked Christina Fox’s article that sums up selecting an HD-SLR camera, using 24-frames-per-second setting, using depth of field, and lighting. He also mentions sound quality, and FilmRiot has a segment devoted to surround sound.
  2. Softweigh Multimedia has some detailed tutorials for building some clever video camera gear at nickles on the dollar. Note that what you’re purchasing is not the device, with supply estimates usually in the 10 or 20 dollars. You’re buying instructions.
  3. DIY Lighting Hacks: You know lighting can turn an amateur video into something quasi-pro, but you don’t know that you can make dramatic improvements to your lighting without spending a fortune. Got a coffee can? A milk-bottle jug, or a ? Want to make an affordable light tent to give your photos or video that catalog-like professional look? Check out Darren Rowse’s “DIY Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers” at Digital Photography School.
  4. [/caption]Bleach Bypass: There’s a very cool video software effect that comes with some editing packages called the “bleach bypass” (also called skipped bleach or silver retention) look that I used in this Fringe parody. It creates bold colors and a really cinematic look. I constantly search how-to videos before applying this effect, and often mistake “bleach bypass” with “bleach bypass” for reasons that are obvious at least to me. Here’s a nice how-to on creating bleach/beach bypass using Final Cut Pro. I typically use Final Cut Express to fetch this effect, but only after I’ve edited the video using my antiquated iMovie 6.
  5. iJustine Blog: The top YouTuber provides a list of her production equipment in a post titled “How to Make a Video.” Couple that with the VideoFilmMaker’s contrast/zebra effects and you’re in good shape.
  6. Software You Didn’t Know You Needed: Rocketboom has a post about video-making software that I visit every once in a while to remind myself the name of software that I probably already own but can’t find.
  7. Videomaker’s Forum: Lots of smart vid production die-hards peruse the Videomaker forum (see home, which has search) to provide great answers to the curious. As an example, here’s on about HDSLRs.
  8. My little homemade Amazon store features some of the best-reviewed HD-SLR cameras. Buy 'em here and maybe I'll finally make some Amazon Affiliate money to offset my obsessive purchases of gear.

    Howcast Quick Videos: This short, instructional video site was founded by Google Video alumni, and offers a sleuth of simple instruction videos across a wide range of topics. You may want to search Google and Howcast” when seeking a video how-to. The search engine has a difficult time finding just the video production clips, and as you can see in the Howcast search results for “video production,” A refined search for videocamera did somewhat better. Some stink like “How to Get Great Video Production,” which is simply an air. The “How to Get Your Video Noticed on YouTube,” which is somewhat painfully remedial but useful as a primer.

  9. Picking a Semi-Pro Video Camera (in case the increasingly popular HD-SLR still cameras with video aren’t cutting it): VideoMaker’s blog (August 2011) has a nice post on the leading semi-pro (or professional) video cameras available, and here’s the WillVideoForFood Amazon store for these brads, which range from $2K to $5K.
  10. Shirtless Apprentice: While this For Your Imagination show was cancelled in 2008, its archive of production tips are somewhat evergreen, and the format is fun and simple.