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Enhance Your Blog Readers Video Viewing with EmbedPlus

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One of the best ways to provide your blog readers with content they’ll love is with the use of videos. We all love videos, whether it’s because of the entertainment factor or our short attention spans. There’s now a new way to kick the video viewing experience up a notch.

EmbedPlus is a new service which gives you more control over the videos on your site and how your visitors view and interact with them. The service works on blogging platforms such as WordPress (with a plugin), Blogger and Tumblr. From what I can see, the process looks very simple and self-explanatory.

Some of the features include:

  • Sweet Spot Marking – Helps you catch the best parts of a video by revealing the scenes that are generating the most buzz by other viewers
  • Scene Skipping – Like DVD chapter buttons, click these to skip to marked times. Use the wizard to mark notable parts like game highlights, changing performers, and lecture sections
  • Real Time Reactions – Discussions about a video occur in many places. Optionally enable this button to show viewers the latest Internet reactions, right inside the player
  • Third Party Annotations – Add your own timed annotations to any video. Use it to display titles, captions, scene labels, and side comments during playback

As a blogger who uses a lot of video, this is definitely something I would like to look into. Can you think of any creative ways to use EmbedPlus?

Mastering Your Mobile Marketing Mojo

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… by Doug Devitre

The power of a computer in the palm of every person enables our society to receive, disseminate, and share information faster than ever before. The mobile phone we once relied on only made calls. Now we can watch videos, communicate face to face, and share documents from anywhere, anytime, and in any format.

Entrepreneurs can now be more flexible in servicing client needs with minimal investment and without being physically present. Innovations like cloud computing, mobile video, and apps systematize business operations. The time saved by integrating these into practices gives professionals more time to focus on prospecting, appointments, and sales opportunities.

Cloud Computing
Take a look at the My Documents folder of your computer and ask yourself which documents do you send out most to clients, customers, or partners on a regular basis. A company brochure saved as a .PDF, template employees can edit in a .DOC. file format, or .XLS spreadsheet that others can perform calculations from the equations you create.

Two tools www.Box.net and www.Dropbox.com will store the documents others request online and give everyone quick access to preview, download, and share. Every document and folder of documents is assigned its own unique hyperlink.

Download the apps for Box and Dropbox to your iPhone, Blackberry, etc. and when logged in all of your documents will be ready to share right from your device. This way when you are sitting in the fast food drive thru and someone requests your company brochure you can send it without waiting until you get back to the office.

Vivacious Video
Would you rather watch a 2 minute video or read a 500 word article? Personally I like videos because they explain advance concepts with visuals rather than trying to interpret text. YouTube videos are different than other video hosting providers because they can be watched on most devices just like they can be on a computer. Every video uploaded to video is a link. This link can be shared by email, text message, Facebook, or Twitter and watched on the mobile phone when clicked.

Instant Lead Follow Up
A website that asks for customer contact information in exchange for a special report, product offering, or service inquiry must be responded to quickly or lose the opportunity. The contact information can be emailed to you however few people check their email every 5 minutes. In addition to the receiving the lead by email set up a system where you receive a text message. Every mobile phone carrier has an email to text message address. Find yours here. Include this email in your website follow up system in addition to your business email address so that when someone inputs their contact info you receive both a text message and email in order to follow up.

Apps
The mobile phone that rests in your pocket runs applications very similar to the ones on your computer. Although they may not have the same functionality the ability to access contacts, documents, and budgets make it is easy to follow up on the fly. Some of my favorite iPhone apps are Box.net for online document storage, Kayak for booking travel, Tripit for storing travel plans, and Groups for email groups and group instant messaging.

Small business owners have many options to run their business while on the road and there is no one single solution. Those options can be customized to fit your specific needs by innovating solutions that the provider may not have intended. The more creative, practical, and succinct you are at arriving at your objectives the easier it will be to make more money from your mobile device.

Doug Devitre, Chief Experience Officer of Doug Devitre International, Inc. helped real estate professionals, brokers, and associations save money, time, and creates value using affordable technology solutions all over the world. Join Doug on the conversation on Facebook, on Twitter @DougDevitre or subscribe to Doug’s blog to get the freshest ideas on how to use technology in real estate.

The Halo Moment (Or, How I Learned To Get Over My Video Fears)

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If you call yourself a geek in the slightest, chances are that you’ve been playing copious amounts of Halo:Reach over the last day or so. If you’re not a geek, allow me to explain. Halo:Reach is the final installment in one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Oh, there may be more Halo games, but the developers have turned over the property, so this is the last game they’ll be doing, at least for a long time. For fans, it’s a big deal, and I’d be really surprised if this game doesn’t break all sorts of sales records.

To the point, Allison. Blogging tips, not video games!

Today, I wanted to talk a little about videos and how I used to be scared out of my mind to do them. (Still am, if we’re being honest.) Fear is a total buzzkill for bloggers, and although many say that they don’t do videos for any number of reasons (I don’t have a camera, I don’t know how to upload videos, I don’t have a good place to record them, etc, etc, bullcrap etc.), the real reason that most bloggers don’t do videos is that we’re scared of them.

It makes sense for bloggers to be uncomfortable at the prospect of recording videos. We spend most of our time behind a computer screen. Heck, there are some days that I don’t even put on pants (my apologies for any visual that notion has given you). People judge us by our thoughts and ideas, not by our looks, and that is extremely liberating. So, adding videos? Ugh.

Let me tell you a bit of a story, and the reason I started off this post talking about Halo.

Back when the Halo series was a lot younger, I used to play with three friends of mine. You can play Halo either online or locally, and we would just play locally because our Internet connection wasn’t really good enough for online play. It was a lot of fun, and since I was playing with friends, I felt comfortable and secure with my skills, even though they were all a lot better than me at the game.

Then, I started playing online a bit. I was able to get a connect that was good enough to play with people from around the world, and with my gender-neutral name and lack of girly customizations, I was just another one of the guys. Usually, I ended games middle of the pack – I wasn’t an outstanding player, but I also wasn’t a joke.

One weekend, my friends asked if I wanted to play with them in a tournament. My initial reaction was to say yes, but then I realized that I’d be meeting the other players face to face. That prospect intimidated me a little. Well…a lot. I was afraid that people would write me off as any kind of competition, just because I am female. I was afraid they’d laugh at me or roll their eyes every time I died. I knew then as I know now that I’m not, by far, the only female gamer in the world, but all the other girls seemed so good at Halo…and so pretty and so cool. I was self-conscious and afraid to take my gaming beyond the screen and into the real world. It was easier just to hide.

I ended up going to the tournament after all, and you know what? A few guys commented how it was nice to see a girl there (there were only two of us in the room I was playing in, out of 20-30 people total). Other than that, I was the same as I was behind the television screen – just another gamer. I’m guessing that some guys inwardly made fun of me or felt like I didn’t deserve to be there, but the general feeling I got from almost everyone was that we were just there to play the game.

And as I looked around, I realized that we all had things to be self-conscious about. While I was worried about being a girl, I’m sure other people in that room were feeling self-conscious about their weight or height or even skin color. We all have insecurities. So what? None of those things matter when playing a video game, and because we all showed up despite our insecurities, we had a total blast that day.

And for the record, I ended up middle of the pack again. So, that just went to show that people were playing with me in real life the same way they played with me online, where they probably assumed I was male.

I began to realize a few months ago that I was having a Halo Moment about posting videos on my various blogs. I’m self-conscious and insecure about my looks and voice, and I worry that readers will roll their eyes or not take me seriously. It’s easier to hide behind the computer screen and control what everyone sees by choosing what pictures of myself to post.

Do you need videos on your blog? No. Will they increase the value of your blog, help you find new readers, provide extra income opportunities, and just all-around show that you rock? Yes. Yes, they absolutely will. I was avoiding them for a long time, but the truth of the matter is that almost every blog out there could use a few videos.

So, a few weeks ago, I took the first step and ordered a Flip video camera. You all (well, most of you – I won’t speak for everyone) don’t care what I look like or what my voice sounds like. Neither do the readers of my other blogs. You care about my message.

I deleted the first video I made because I didn’t think I looked cool enough. That was a stupid Halo moment, because it was actually a decent video. It’s a process, learning to get over the fear of making videos for my blogs. I’ll get there, and hopefully have some videos to post in the coming months.

I hope you’ll take the first step with me by starting a fund today to buy the equipment you need to start making some videos. Or, if you already own even a crappy webcam, recording a few minutes to post on your blog.

At least track me down at BlogWorld and make a video with me. 🙂

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