Category Archives: vodcast

Geriatric1927–the latest hit on YouTube

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.”

Why a sleeping cable guy should make you nervous

This guy named Finkelstein in Washington DC calls Comcast to get his cable fixed. The cable guy comes over and gets put on hold by his own service department for an hour, so he takes a nap. Finkelstein thinks this is funny so he videotapes the cable guy asleep and puts some music to it.

No big deal. Just like ten thousand other service problems going on right now. Amusing even. But then Finkelstein does what young interneters do these days. He shared his video. With a quarter of a million others. He posted it up on www.youtube.com and 227,000 others got the opportunity to share in his little joke.

It didn’t end there. The news media picked it up. I watched the video on KING5 last night on the 11 pm news. Not sure how many others picked it up or if the likes of CNN or other cable networks covered it as well. I did check and it was on Newsvine (www.newsvine.com).

The point here is not Comcast’s customer service problems (I’m a customer and they have problems). But it is the fact that any of your employees doing dumb things can easily be videotaped or simply show up in a blog, on a news site, or a vodcast. Talk about a glass house. Talk about transparency. When one partied-out cable guy decides to take a nap, suddenly it can become a major, major black eye for his employer and make national news.

The value of having a house with lots of windows is that you tend to want to clean up. Even those untidy closets and corners. So that is the first thing to think about. What needs to be cleaned up? What would be embarrassing and undo all the good work you do and effort spent on communicating and building reputation? But, dustballs will happen. Nothing can be perfectly clean and sooner or later one of your employees is going to take a nap in front of a camera or do something else to embarrass you. Then the question is, are you prepared to deal with it–at the speed of youtube?