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Klout Now Factors in YouTube for Your Score

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Klout is on a roll! They now factor in YouTube as part of your social influence. This new feature rolled out Monday evening.

For those of you still trying to figure out Klout and if it has any importance, it’s basically a service that measures how influential you are in social media. Do you interact with your followers and friends and if so, how much? And for those of you still trying to figure out if Klout matters, let’s just say it matters to brands.

Once you sync your YouTube account with Klout, it will then analyze your subscriber count, comments, likes and engagement to add to your final Klout score.

Like I said, Klout is on a roll. They most recently added Foursquare check-ins and LinkedIn. What about Google+? The answer is yes, they will add it, as soon as Google released their API.

Klout said in a recent blog post, “We’ve already started work on ways to assess your influence on Google+, but we need Google to provide us with a system to access and identify your data. We’ve heard an API for Google+ is coming soon and we’ll be ready when it launches.”

Have you synced your YouTube account with Klout yet? I’m headed there right now. We’ll see if it makes a difference in my score.

Marines Head to YouTube for Ball Invitations

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My, my, my how times have changed. Would you ever have thought, let’s say 10 years ago, that a Marine could shoot a video inviting a major celebrity to an event and then get a yes?

Fast forward to the present, and one of the biggest trends on YouTube this week are the Marine Ball invitations that have been given out to stars like Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Betty White and Miley Cyrus.

Sgt Scott Moore with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan asked Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball in Greenville, NC on November 18th. His video currently has over 3 million views. Mila said yes.

Marine Sgt. Ray Lewis asked Betty White to the Marine Corps Ball in Fort Worth, Texas Oct. 29. She politely declined, but Linda Hamilton, yes Terminator Linda Hamilton, turned the tables and said she’s no Betty White, but she would go to the ball with Lewis.

The latest invite was extended to Miley Cyrus from PFC Hart. No word yet if she has accepted.

Just for fun..If you could invite any celebrity to an event, who would it be? Hmmm, I wonder if Bradley Cooper has any plans this weekend?

Google Reaches 1 Billion Unique Visitors in a Single Month

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Google is the first Internet company to reach 1 billion unique visitors in a single month, according to data from comScore. Since this number comes from Google owned sites such as the Google search engine, Google email and YouTube, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

This milestone was hit in May and over the past year, Google’s unique visitors have increased 8.4%. Microsoft follows with 905 million unique visitors, while Facebook went up 30% to 714 surpassing Yahoo.

Here’s how The Wall Street Journal defines the process of comScore:

ComScore’s estimates are based on its “global measurement panel” of two million Internet users, similar to how Nielsen measures television ratings. ComScore refines the estimates with “page view” data that it receives from more than 90 of the 100 publishers of Web content, but not from Google.

Although Google has the most numbers, marketers are starting to look at a visitor’s time on a site as being extremely important when it comes to how they spend their ad money. Who has the advantage there? Obviously Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, when do you think they will reach 1 billion unique visitors a month?

Redefining Cinema In A Digital World

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As an independent filmmaker, it is a great time for cinema thanks to the technological advances of the 21st century digital world. While there have been numerous advancements made in the equipment and software needed to technically make a film, the most impactful changes have occurred in how a film is funded, distributed and promoted. Let’s take a look at a few ways that the digital world is redefining cinema.

Kickstart Your Funding With A Proof Of Concept.
One of the hardest aspects of making a film, let alone any creative project, is raising the necessary funds for pre-production, production and post-production costs. If you don’t have the benefit of being backed by a major studio in Hollywood, you are either self-funding your project with credit cards and savings or borrowing money from friends and family.

Enter a new way of funding: Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com). Kickstarter allows you to creatively raise money for your project by designating how much you want to raise and how you will reward and recognize financiers based on the amount they give. Additionally, you can add text, images or video that will help sell the viability of the project as well as your passion, dedication and motivation for creating the film. If you reach your goal in the set time, you receive the money and Kickstarter takes a small percentage to cover their costs. If not, the people that pledged money will not be charged and you can try again.

Recently I was talking with a friend who was the Director of Photography for a film project called Cardboard Dreams which was successfully funded through Kickstarter. He said that the secret of success was in the creation of a “proof of concept.” They filmed the first six pages of the script and the resulting footage was edited to show what the finished film would look like.

There are many examples of successfully funded projects on Kickstarter’s website and I would encourage you to take notes and get creative.

Where Can I See Or Buy Your Film?
It seems that as each year goes by, there are more and more online distribution channels for independent filmmakers. Video sharing sites like Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) provide great resources for people who want to broadcast trailers and short films in a wide-range of lengths and resolutions. But what if you want to sell your film and recoup investment costs? While you can go the traditional route of creating DVD and Blu-Ray copies, there is an intriguing option called Openfilm (http://www.openfilm.com).

At first glance, Openfilm looks and functions a lot like YouTube and Vimeo. But as you look into their different user types, some amazing functionality is added based on how much you are willing to spend. By spending $2.95 per month, you become a “Plus” user enabling you to accept donations from major credit cards through PayPal, guarantee TV placement through a partnership with TiVo, Boxee and HCC TV, and even sell mobile versions of your film. Upgrading to $9.95 per month makes you a “Pro” user and gives you added features such as selling digital copies of your film and even renting your film.

Openfilm appears to be a groundbreaking website for independent filmmakers who are looking to not only gain exposure, but to create a sustainable and profitable distribution channel.

Get The Word Out By Putting The “Social” In Social Media.
Social media is leveling the playing field when it comes to promoting independent film. There are so many different ways to get the word out ranging from Twitter to Facebook and everything in between, that it is almost impossible not to create an effective marketing campaign using these tools, as long as you follow a few simple rules:

  1. Fight the urge to spam people.
    Social media is about engaging in a conversation, not spamming people about how great your film is, or even how awesome of a person you may be. You are a person connecting with other people. If you take an interest in them, most likely they will take an interest in you. Crazy things happen when you respect and engage others.
     
  2. Have somewhere to send people.
    It pays to have an online landing page to send people to allowing them to learn more about your film, watch a trailer, buy a DVD or digital file or even find out how they can help spread the word. This can be as simple as a one-page website, a Facebook fan page or a profile page on Vimeo, YouTube, or Openfilm.
     
  3. Seek out people with online influence.
    By seeking out people who have online influence and engaging them in conversation, there is a tremendous opportunity to not only develop a great relationship, but to establish an advocate that would “advertise” your project to their sphere of influence.
     
  4. As the Hollywood machine continues to crank out “safe” movies based on superheroes, award-winning novels and sequels, there is tremendous opportunity for original ideas to be funded, distributed and promoted through these new and innovative ways. All it takes is the vision, passion and action of a creative and self-motivated filmmakers to realize that the power is in their hands, should they ultimately want it.

Using YouTube Moderator as a PR/Marketing Tool

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Do you have your own YouTube channel? Have you used YouTube Moderator? If not, it may be worth checking out.

The tool, only available on channel pages, allows viewers to answer a question or participate in the conversation – with other viewers voting to push select comments to the top of the list.

Moderator allows any YouTube user to collect commentary, questions, or ideas on your YouTube channel and watch the best ones rise to the top. It’s easy – you bring a group of people together on a topic of your choice, and leverage their collective wisdom to vote on the best video and text submissions. You can respond to individual submissions, or the entire conversation, in a one-to-many dialogue.

You can use YouTube Moderator in a variety of ways as a PR/Marketing tool…

  • Gather comments/reviews on a new product/service. Create a video showcasing the product and ask for thoughts/inputs/ideas.
  • Gather questions for an interview. Obtain the most pressing questions for your executive staff or key personnel in your company.
  • Run a Contest. Create a contest based around creating slogans, taglines, asking the best question, and more.
  • Run a Promotion. Add a viral element to your promotion, enticing the audience to participate and vote.
  • Obtain New Content. Entice your followers to submit content, advice, or tips on your service.

How would you use YouTube Moderator?

YouTube Person Finder Helps Connect Missing People in Japan

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Last week YouTube launched Person Finder – a channel that aggregates video messages from those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Their goal is to process and add more than 80 video messages shot at shelters by TBS (a major television station). They plan to increase the videos by adding content from other stations and also individual videos.

The site links to the Google Person Finder (2011 Japan Earthquake) (which also launched last week) and together they hope to bring families back together. You can search by entering the names of a missing person, the name of the place they lived, or the name of the shelter locations.

The search box only supports the Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana character sets used in Japan.

Does it Matter How You Go Viral? Or Just If You Go Viral?

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Last week Rebecca Black was an unknown. This week she’s had over 10 million views of her YouTube video for her song, Friday.

The problem is … the reviews are not all positive. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any positive reviews. But the video has blown up across all social media veins – Facebook, Twitter, Google Trends, and YouTube. It went from 4000 views last Friday, to 2 million views on Monday, to nearly 10 million today.

How did that happen? Well, part of the rise may spring from Michael J. Nelson, who tweeted a backhanded compliment (and a link) last week. He wrote, “Let this be on your lips as you head into the weekend (it also answer the ? “what’s the worst video ever made?”)” Other networks, including Comedy Central, began talking about the video – watching it spiral out of control and onto iTunes.

Which begs the question – does it matter if you go viral for the wrong reasons? For Rebecca? Perhaps. But for Ark Music Factory (the company that launched the video), I’d guess it doesn’t matter to them at all! Because users who watch the video are very likely to click on their other videos … maybe to see if they’re all bad, or maybe to see if there’s a diamond in the rough. And it’s all exposure for them. Especially now that parodies are creeping out of the wood-work.

What do you think?

Mark Burnett with Brian Solis: Convergence

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Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit.

The full title of this session was “Convergence of media and the future of unscripted drama on the web.” Brian Solis (author of Engage and creator of the Conversation Prism infographic you’ve used in at least three slide decks so far this year) interviewed Survivor creator Mark Burnett on how networked communication is challenging, supporting and transforming shows like his.

Cartoon: Jeff Probst tells a contestant 'You've been voted off the island. But on the brighter side, you're trending on Twitter.' It was a fascinating conversation, starting with the essential importance of story to both blogging (something Solis speaks about so eloquently that I wonder if he might have the same kind of spec screenplays buried on his hard drive that I do) and shows like Survivor, where Burnett invoked Joseph Campbell and walked us through the show’s imagery of life, death and  rebirth.

From there, the two looked at the way the online backchannel has transformed water-cooler conversations. Those conversations now start during the show itself, and take place everywhere, Burnett said. “The water cooler is now omni-present.”

Cartoon: two people at a water cooler. One asks: 'So, didja see the liveblogging for Survivor last night?'

The conversation ranged over football legend Jimmy Johnson’s appearance on a rescheduled Survivor to the MTV Movie Awards, before they launched into Burnett’s latest project, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. He described Alaska as “epic”, and we became the first audience to see promotional footage from the upcoming show.

Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit. Then, at the end, Solis announced a surprise: the footage was being released to the world not through the usual channels, but via Steve Garfield’s YouTube channel. (Burnett acknowledged the plan may have initially caused some agita in the executive suites at TLC.)

TLC exec's head exploding. But tastefully. And educationally. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is that very video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7xnvXMHxGE[/youtube]

YouTube Adds Banners, New Embed Features, and More

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Subscribe to me on YouTube

What is your video blog hosting website of choice? If it’s YouTube, you’ll be happy to know that they’ve added new features, including new ways to embed, annotate, and promote your videos and channel!

YouTube updated their blog on Friday to add their latest features to the video player services, including:

  • Promotional badges: Promote your YouTube channel on your blog or website.
  • Local music listings: A new addition to their revamped music page is the “Events Near You” section.
  • Annotations upgrades: You can have your annotations transparent with black, white, or half-transparent black text.
  • Redesigned video manager: Offers new ways of managing, sorting, and reviewing videos you’ve uploaded.
  • New embed features: A new embed code style lets you view embedded videos in a Flash or HTML5 player
  • HQ Webcam uploads: Upload high quality from your Webcam.

Tag You’re It! – Why Tagging Your Content Is Important

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Tag You're It

If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, “We live in a Google world.”  It is true, we don’t order Chinese food, find directions to the store, or stalk old girlfriends without using Google.  Being findable in this world is important if you are trying to be found.  Businesses especially must pay attention to how their customers can find them.  Keywords and key phrases are how that is accomplished through the use of meta tags or just tags.

Tags are a keyword associated with content attached to it.  If you want people to read your latest blog post on how to wash a cat, you have to determine how they would look for that content and attach that key word or phrase to it.

The same rule applies to your content as a publisher whether it be a blog, a podcast, video or even your photos.  We often put pictures into our posts that we find which we feel are relevant to our content, the title or completely off the wall for that matter.  We find those pictures at places like flickr, istockphoto, and yes, Google image search.  We enter a keyword into the search function of those sites to find a picture for the content.

In addition to being searchable or findable, it also has the effect of increasing traffic to your content and makes the content watched, seen and readable.  One of the things that I do on a regular basis is to search out and find anyone that mentions BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  You can imagine all the different variations of that and the number of tags used to describe our event.  This is also why we like people that use a common tag.  The most used tag last year was of course “BWE09” and this year we are urging everyone to use “BWE10”.  This allows us a quick reference to your blog post, your picture on your photo sharing site, your podcast and your YouTube (owned of course by Google) or other videos. A YouTube search with “blog world” returns 234,000 results.  We all know it may be difficult for me to look at that many videos.  Using a tag like BWE10 focuses the searcher into your content. A similar search with BWE09 allows me the benefit of watching less that 150 videos.

If your content is well done and is something we need to share with our community, we find and share it.  This in turn increases the readers, listeners, or viewers of your content.  We are still pouring over the content generated as a result of the 2009 event in October, I am finding new content daily and still trying to read all of it.  As we grow and get bigger and have more content generated it is going to be tougher to find your content and thereby making it even more important for you to tag appropriately.

For the upcoming show in 2010 we are asking everyone to tag your content “BWE10”  If you Tweet that hashtag, put that in your post, attach it to your videos, photos and podcasts, I’ll be there to say hello.  If it is something that needs to be shared with the thousands of people in our community, we’ll do so and increase your traffic and readership.  If I miss something because I couldn’t find it, your content may never get discovered and broadcast further.  We are listening and we are paying attention to what is being said. Tag your content!

Photo Via SD_Kirk

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