A 79 year old man from England sits down at this computer and records a video about the new phenomenon of young people sitting down at their computers and recording videos of themselves talking about their world. What happens? A half million people watch it. Then dozens, if not more, send their own video message to the sweet old man who promises to “bitch and grumble” about life in his video postings. He posts more and tens of thousands watch his every video. 6500 subscribing to his feed so they won’t miss a word the old codger has to say.
The story hits the MSM (mainstream media). Suddenly thousands of others become aware of a lonely old man in England who just seems to want to talk to the world and learn about the new ways of communicating.
If you are in communications, you are probably sitting up and taking notice. If you aren’t sitting up and taking notice, let me suggest a few implications of this:
– there’s a nice old man in England who needs some PR help. It appears he is so inundated with emails that he wasn’t able to return an email from Reuters. When you get to him, tell him that next time he needs to be better prepared to deal with a media and stakeholder onslaught if he suddenly finds himself the subject of internet and MSM attention.
– YouTube is a phenomenon because it has established a strong position as the central place for just about anyone to post and view videos.
– If you are in communications and particularly crisis communications–you better get prepared to deal with video as a PRIMARY means of communication. Pictures tell the story and particularly in a global information environment where the messages can be conveyed universally. Take a clue from the Coast Guard who not only knows how and why to use video, have put in place the technology that makes it possible and easy for their communicators to do it quickly. Nearly everyday the TV news carries video provided by the Coast Guard doing their job such as in the Cougar Ace rescue.
– Geriatric1927 (the screen name of our old video star) demonstrates a number of the key points of the book “the Long Tail” By Chris Anderson. He is pretty far up the tail, definitely into the “micro-hit” category. An example of an amateur (to the extreme) make a few videos that have far more views than about 99.8% of the 13,000 films made each year and shown at festivals. This would be a great case study in the Long Tail phenomenon. Can one manufacture such interest? Is this just the “fifteen minutes of fame” that we all can expect to get?
– The enthusiasm of many of those responding to their new friend in England is interesting in itself. Young people are welcoming him into their world. “You rock, dude!” is the message. Please make more videos. They are intrigued that someone clearly from another world (almost from another planet it may seem) has entered their world and attempted to communicate if not in their language then at least in their media. The response is overwhelmingly positive. The crankiness and nastiness that seems to permeate this world is not tolerated as those few who attempted to mock the gent were soundly booed by the others. There’s a message here from the predominantly young crowd on YouTube and other places like MySpace” “Come on it, the water’s fine.”