Five years ago we launched Ourmedia.org as the first free hosting and sharing site for video and digital media (yes, before YouTube). Secretly, I wished that more of the videos, photos and text dispatches coming through the door were high-quality citizen journalism reports.
It took a few years, but citizen journalism has grown up. Exhibit A: GroundReport, a citizen journalism site with an international perspective.
Recently I caught up with founder and CEO Rachel Sterne. GroundReport is a New York-based news platform that allows anyone to submit his or her own news articles, videos and photos. The best submissions are then published. “The idea is to give anyone a chance to participate in the media,” Rachel says. “People who experience world events first-hand can give us authentic context, create more engagement around it and share their story for the world.”
Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Festival for Talented Youth:
“Too many people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools
before they even know with whom they are swimming.”
Social business seen as making seismic waves in marketing, sales, operations
The adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking accelerated significantly over the past year, and it shows no sign of stopping. Global digital word of mouth is disrupting growing swaths of business models, and CEOs want to understand its opportunities and threats. Although the Web is resplendent with prognostications from social media gurus, the voices of enterprise practitioners are too rarely heard.
To remedy that, I’ve gathered the perspectives of highly experienced executives who share their thoughts on how Web 2.0 is changing their businesses and mindsets. They also share its limitations and problems. Keep in mind that each contributor wrote independently, and I have made no attempt to unify their views, although I will offer my analysis and conclusions as well as the intriguing backstory below. Here is a sampling of the group’s eclectic insights:
A seismic shift in marketing is emergent, and chief marketing officers will require robust strategies to succeed consistently with Web 2.0 and use it to their advantage.
Gamification will redefine “work” and “play” and gradually make them indistinguishable.
Performance demands on government will force it to shed its laggard stereotype and pioneer social business at local and federal levels.
Arguably the biggest disruption of all is that green energy is enabling billions of previously unconnected people to join the world as participants; China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the world, and millions of people are jumping online every year. Infrastructure limitations are forcing extreme innovation.
How mass collaboration is transforming company and culture
As chronicled in the just-published Decade in Review 2000-2009, the 21st century is proving to be volatile and disruptive in every way, and 2010 will continue the trend. Three disruptive forces are converging: the relative value of the Industrial Economy continues to fall as overproduction reigns. Globalization is replete with extras that people at the head table didn’t order. Most imperceptibly yet poignantly, the emerging Knowledge Economy is digitizing communications and changing the economics of knowledge and relationships.
Web 2.0 and social networks drive down the cost of communication, which accelerates volatility because when people talk, ideas change and lead to action, and digital conversations happens faster and less expensively. Social networks are rapidly making the Web human, thereby attracting an ever-larger portion of all human communications online. In 2009, adoption reached critical mass, ramping strongly among consumers, so many enterprises are following. The Web 1.0 adoption rhythm is very instructive.
Pervasive Web 2.0 also means reexamination or disruption of most areas of life, culture, society, government and business because social networks alter how many and what kind of relationships people have. The impact is similar to Ford’s production line, except it is more powerful: it scales relationships. Large organizations will remain in a profound state of turmoil because they were not built with withstand the volatility these forces are unleashing. Many Fortune 500 companies will be confronted with their survival, and some will not make it. Entire industries will consolidate over the next several years (automotive, airlines, banking, hotels, food, consumer goods…). Web communications mean we consume novelty far more quickly, which curtails product life cycles and leads to ultra-fast commoditization. Companies will require unprecedented innovation to even stay in place. New entrants around the world compete for customers and leverage their lower costs and better innovation processes. And Web 2.0 is still in the early stages of adoption.
During the recent annual conference of the Online News Association in San Francisco, I had a chance to sit down (literally on the floor) with Olivia Ma, news manager in YouTube’s News & Politics team.
YouTube is in the news again this week with the rollout of YouTube Direct, a tool to make it easy for YouTube users to submit clips that news media companies can choose to highlight. NPR, Politico, The Huffington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle are among the early participants. Scroll down to see the video explaining the program and YouTube’s announcement. (YouTube Direct was still in development when I interviewed Olivia.)
Olivia (@oliviama on Twtter — follow her!) talks about YouTube‘s astonishing growth, the birth of the YouTube Reporters Center — it’s a resource to help you learn how to report news, with instructional videos with tips and advice for better reporting from top journalists — and how YouTube has become a video platform for hundreds of US senators and congresspersons.
• Every 60 seconds, 20 hours’ worth of video is being uploaded to YouTube, which is equivalent to 86,000 full-length Hollywood films being uploaded every week.
• As of this past spring, the US Senate and House of Representatitves now have hubs on YouTube. Some 98 senators nearly 400 of the 435 members of the House now have YouTube pages, as well as many government agencies. “It’s amazing to see how governments around the world are starting to use this as a way to engage with their constituents,” Olivia says.
• Olivia reminds us that, with millions of people now carrying around video-enabled cellphones, Flips and Kodak Zi8s, you don’t need fancy video recording equipment to capture newsworthy or interesting moments. “Just do it,” she says. “If you’ve got the means, just start shooting video and start putting it up on the Web.”
• Some companies are still nervous about having a presence on YouTube. But Google encourages businesses to come on board. Olivia notes that YouTube now has thousands of professional content partners, ranging from Hollywood studios and tech companies to news organizations. So there should no longer be a hesitancy among online news organizations about whether you’re allowed to post to YouTube. You are.
Thanks, Olivia, for the interesting insights and for being good sport by agreeing to sit on the hallway carpet as the conference was winding down.
While I admire YouTube for all it’s doing to enable citizen media, I’m less than happy right now because I’ve tried several times to get high-def versions of my videos (including this interview with Olivia) working on YouTube, without success. So I’ll put that down as a to-do list for early December: Figure out why my standard compression settings for high-def H.264 video aren’t good enough for YouTube.
Regular readers know that Socialmedia.biz covers not just social media but also citizen media — and it’s all melding together anyway into one giant conversational media ecosystem, right?
So I was gladdened to hear that Google and YouTube have taken another tentative step forward into the realm of citizen journalism with Monday’s launch of the YouTube Reporters’ Center. Above is one of the featured videos: NPR’s Scott Simon on How to Tell a Story.
While the pleas of some in the news profession for Google to step in and “save” the U.S. newspapers industry are downright silly, Google and YouTube are doing the smart thing by focusing on the journalism, not the underlying publishing platform, and by underscoring the need to uphold journalism values and standards instead of throwing it all on the scrapheap and starting from scratch, as all too many bloggers want to do.
Here’s a guest post by my friend Oliva Ma of YouTube’s News & Politics team announcing the new Center:
Helping you report the news
Ever captured a natural disaster or a crime on your cell-phone camera? Filmed a political rally or protest, and then interviewed the participants afterward? Produced a story about a local issue in your community? If you’ve done any of these things or aspire to, then you’re part of the enormous community of citizen reporters on YouTube — and now we’re launching a new resource to help you learn more about how to report the news.
If I could point all the 18- to 29-year-olds in the land to one video about how the social media revolution has fundamentally reshaped power relationships and entrepreneurial opportunities, it would be to this 13-minute video riff with Shira Lazar.
I’ve been following Shira’s online pursuits for a couple of years — she posts videos from her Nokia phone at shiralazar.com — but I didn’t meet her until last month’s South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, and came away enormously impressed.
Shira, who’s based in Los Angeles but can often be seen at tech events everywhere, describes herself as “a crossover personality/hyperjournalist” who develops content for the Web and TV. (Hyper in the sense of modern, multifaceted and multimedia, rather than overcaffeinated.) [OK, Shira claims she said “hybrid journalist.” Maybe so. But hyper seems more apropos somehow. Besides, what’s a hybrid journalist? Half reporter, half tomato?]
She offers advice to those just starting out in the workforce or with a Web enterprise who don’t necessarily want to work for a big company: “Find your voice. That’s the most important thing: What makes you stand out?” Start blogging and twittering to develop your personal brand.
She also talks about how traditional news and entertainment media are now embracing this strange new world of social media. “They want to be in our club now. It’s pretty cool.”