Flip Video Failure

The use of video in PR and journalism is booming. Flip, a brand of video cameras, are inexpensive, easy to use and becoming one of the most popular journalistic tools.

There are a lot of things that need to go into consideration when filming video for any sort of public use. PRWeek has broken pretty much every single video rule possible, as seen in the below video.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to start. So, I guess we will just jump right in…

First, panning. No. Not okay. The panning in this video is too fast and shaky. I can’t make anything out. Plus, whilst panning, sound can be heard from the person, well, panning. How can PRWeek remedy its problem? By never panning. Ever.

Overall, this video is just not visually appealing. We have already covered the sin of panning. But people are missing body parts. Heads, arms, legs are being cut out of the video because the, dare  I call them, videographer didn’t take time to frame and compose their shot. Even when it comes to the interviews of individuals, foreheads are missing. This is not okay.

The person taking the video needed to take a step back, look at the Flip camera and be conscious of what the video they are taking looks like.

Yet more crimes have been committed. This one in particular is the audio. Terrible, terrible audio.  The background music was okay, but when it last for a full 1:19, it gets excessive.

Then we move into the interviews. For starters, the people being interviewed can’t be heard. All I see is their mouths moving and some nodding overlaid with the noise of a large crowd. What’s the point of doing an interview if they can’t be heard.

Interviews should have been done in a quieter place, or an external microphone should have been used to adequately capture the audio of the interview. A simple fix, but if not done, can have dire consequences to for your video.


To add to the interview, the person doing the interview should not be heard. Just a quick soundbite would be fine from the person, but you really don’t need to include the ENTIRE Q&A session. The rest of the interview not used in the video can easily be used as quotes in an accompanying story.

Remember, when taking video, to get a variety of shots. You should get a few wide, medium and close-up shots. Also, for every interview, you should get about two-20 second B-roll clips.

Length is also a major issue for the PRWeek video. Nearly six minutes? I will have lost interest already. Aim for a max of two minutes…and keep it interesting.

What are some of your thoughts on this video and how it can be improved? Comment below:


What the Hell is SMO?

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, SEO is apparently dead. By the way…And just when we thought we were getting the upper hand on SEO and using keywords. I guess I am just a little behind.

The next, new big thing is SMO, Social Media Optimization. SMO is also known to have been called Social SEO.

According to PCSpeed.net, we don’t have to concentrate on using keywords. This new trend is to create appealing content instead of “following a strategy of filling up the Google database with low-cost content.”

Brian Solis, Social Media God, wrote an excellent two-part post (Part 1; Part 2) on SMOs. Obviously, SEO is used to by online writers to better the chance of their work to be found on search engines. Pretty self explanatory. Google>Type>Searh>Results. Hopefully yours will come up in the search engine result pages.

SMO is to be used, according to Solis, in addition to SEO to increase visibility in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Solis explains the make-up of a SMO-ed content.

iPad=Best Invention Ever? Can it Help Save Journalism?

The iPad may very well be THE BEST invention of all time. Mashable has even written a piece on why you need an iPad this Holiday season. Pretty much anything can be done with an iPad. It is probably the most versatile, advanced piece of technology available today. But lets move on from creating all this hype about it and get down to the nitty-gritty as to why it is so great.

In general, I think the iPad is the most awesome thing around. There are so many apps on there. “There’s an app for that” rings true with the iPad (or iPod Touch/iPhone for that matter). Hundreds of thousands from which to choose.

These thousands of apps are literally changing the way we live our lives and revolutionizing how we get our information. The news is so much more accessible now than ever. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, The Onion, Time, Newsweek, you name the news organization, chances are they have a mobile app. Many of these have apps specifically built for iPad.

Is it possible that the iPad is the future of journalism? Rupert Murdoch sure thinks so. It was announced that Apple and News Corp are set to launch The Daily, the first and only iPad-only newspaper.

This is a very interesting turn for journalism in the digital age. The Daily will have neither a print edition nor a website. The only way to read the paper is to download each edition. The weekly will be sold for $0.99 through the iPad app. The app will be available through the Apple app store sometime in early 2011.

It is reported that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp has hired about 100 journalists to run the “paper.” The preparation for next years launch is thought to be headed by former New York Post managing editor Jesse Angelo.

According to The Guardian, Murdoch believes the iPad will be a “game changer” with almost 40 million sold. A Guardian source said, “He envisions a world in which every family has a iPad in the home and it becomes the device from which they get their news and information. If only 5% of those 40 million subscribe to the Daily, that’s already two million customers.”

The “paper” should be fast-paced with a fun feel. The Daily will not just be a newspaper formatted for the iPad, but “will incorporate a great deal of video content and utilize the iPad’s technology in ways that no newspaper or website currently accomplishes.”

With those numbers, the outlook looks pretty good. But, Mashable poses the question “will people pay $0.99 for news they can get for free on the Web?” Many think people will cough up the money and that it in fact has the potential to save journalism.

In Mashable’s October post “Is the iPad Really the Savior of the News Paper Industry,” it reported The Wall Street Journal for iPad has been downloaded more than 650,000 times since it was launched. It also reports the number of paying subscribers is in the “thousands.

Some newspapers think the print version is a way to legitimize themselves to advertisers. This is quickly changing. Mashable also reported in the same article Financial Times deputy chief executive Ben Hughes revealed to The Guardian that, even though its app has only 400,000 subscribers, it has earned more than $1.5 million since May.

How, you ask? Advertising. A report says in-app iAds are selling for about five times as much as online ads. In addition, the click-through rate is about 15 percent higher for in-app ads compared to normal online ads.

“Jason Fulmines, director of mobile products for USA Today’s corporate parent, Gannett Co., says the newspaper is charging Marriott about $50 for every thousand times, or impressions, the ad appears. The average rate for USA Today’s regular Web site is less than $10, he said. In the printed newspaper, the cost per thousand impressions on a full-page color ad that runs nationally is $103.”

That’s outrageous! There’s a lot of money that can be made in the iAd world.

But as Mashable puts it, “2011 is going to be another interesting year for the rapidly changing world of journalism.”

Now let’s get the discussion going. What do you think about the iPad-only newspaper? Would you pay for it? What changed in journalism do you foresee in 2011?

Discuss below.


DISCLAIMER: Although I have been employed by Volt Technical Services as a Campus Rep for Apple, Inc., the opinions in the above post is completely my own. I was not paid by Apple or any of its affiliates to write this.

8 Thing From our Childhoods we Forgot Existed

Remember those carefree days of our childhood? Those pre-facebook, pre-college days? Whatever happened to those things we used all the time and loved so much?

  1. MSN Messenger — Remember the days of coming home from school and loggin’ in to MSN messenger or AIM to talk with your friends? Oh, the emoticons! Does anyone still use MSN or AIM? They have made way for Facebook Chat. Why download a program when we can just stalk our friends and talk to them at the same time?
  2. MySpace — Social networking is king, but whatever happened to MySpace? It just…went away. It used to be sooo awesome to be friends with “Spork” and “Jesus” and change your background and theme every 20 minutes. I dub MySpace as the first viral social network. But, then, Facebook came and the only thing MySpace was left with is unmonitored profiles and band pages.
  3. VCRs, Cassette Tapes & the Discman — This brings us back to the time before you DVDs and BluRay, before we could rent movies through the mail or stream them on the internet. A time when music was still a physical “thing.” Video tapes would sometimes be “eaten” by your VCR and you would be devastated. Now we hardly have to worry about scratched discs. Just as long as you back your downloaded movie from iTunes on an external hard drive, you’d be fine. Same goes for music. First cassettes died, and now CDs are doing the same. And how did we used to listen to our music? A big , clunky CD player or even a Walkman. Now? iPods are synonymous with listening to music.
  4. Dial-up internet — No longer does it take 30 minutes to check your e-mail. Open your laptop, sign in, do your thing and your done. Maybe 45 seconds. The internet doesn’t make any noise, either. All the squeels and sprangz and bazingas from logging on to AOL? Oh, 1990s.
  5. Corded phones — Remember the ungodly long coil phone cords? Those ones your could walk around your house 12 times and still have cord to spare? No longer were those needed when cordless came about. Jump ahead a few years, cell phones appear. Do people still have landlines?
  6. Film — 35mm, APS, 110? 200 ISO, 800 ISO? Kodak, FujiFilm, Polaroid? How did we ever chose? Now we just buy a camera and it tells us what kind of memory card it needs. It chooses the ISO, speed and format in which the photos are saved.
  7. Floppy Discs — Computers aren’t event built with Floppy disc slots anymore. The 3.5” Floppy was the way to go when it came to early file storage and backup. Now we can save several 90 minute movies on a 32 gig drive no bigger than a Lego.
  8. “Real” Spam — What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Spam?” Pain-in-the-ass junk e-mails, of course. Remember the good ol’ days when Spam meant that gross canned meat no one ever ate?

What to do you remember from your childhood that is now moot? Disqus below:

10 Commandments of Social Media

I bring forth these commandments from the “Google God” Himself.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  2. Thou Shalt Be Social
  3. Thou Shalt Give Credit Where Credit is Due
  4. Thou Shalt Spell Correctly
  5. Thou Shalt Not be Narcissistic
  6. Thou Shalt Blog, A Lot
  7. Thou Shalt Explore the Interwebz
  8. Thou Shalt Network
  9. #ThouShaltNot #Hastag Everything
  10. Thou Shalt Have A Professional Presence Online

Any questions?

Good. Now, moving on. Social media is much more than just virtually “hangin’ wit yur homies.” You must remember, anything you say and do online will be read by someone. You are going to want to make sure you know what you are saying and posting because it could come back to bite you.

Those pictures of you passed out on your dorm room floor back in sophomore year? Hillarious? Yes. Does it put a good light on you? No. Not one bit.

At out last PRSSA meeting, we watched a YouTube video that was quite striking. The video “Social Media Revolution 2” will put a whole new perspective on what you do online. Watch:

First, remember: No longer does “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” apply. Think about this the next time you want to post something about someone or upload a video of you doing a Jag bomb at Johnny’s kegger.

It is incredible that 80 percent of companies use social media as a recruitment tool. As a matter of fact, that is how I got my job as an Apple Campus Rep. I fanned iTunes on Facebook, they posted that you could apply to be a campus rep, I did, was interviewed and got the job.

Even more amazing, of those companies using social media to recruit, 95 percent use LinkedIn. For those of you who don’t use LinkedIn, you should. Essentially, it’s an online resume where you can put your experience, network and get recommendations from your connections.

Danny Brown gives some awesome etiquette advice for social media on his blog. His basic premise is that what our parents taught us in our childhoods still apply today in the social media world.

Anyway, I digress. In short; Don’t be stupid. The End.

Is Facebook a Waste of Time?

FacebookAccording to a recent poll by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair, 36 percent of people think Facebook is a waste of time. How so? Yes, Facebook can be a waste of time in your personal life. How many of you have been doing homework and ultimately ended up creepin’ on Facebook? My guess? All of us. But from a professional and business standpoint, Facebook and social media are not wastes of time, at least when they are used correctly.

The opportunity Facebook gives organizations and businesses to reach the customers and audiences is HUGE! Where else do you have potential access to 300 million people around the world? Facebook.

The big beef I have with this poll is the lack of demographics and information about the poll. Nowhere could I find who was polled. It says 906 adults were interviews via telephone between Sept. 6 and 8. But, what does “adults” mean? Anyone over 30 who wears a suit everyday? Or does it also include college students who are legal adults.

Obviously, we see the percentage of men and women that answered out of all the people, but what about age groups? What percentage of 18-24 year old males and females said Facebook is a waste of time?

They also don’t include professions. How many of the people interviews are business executives? How many have a cubicle? How many are students? What did each of them answer?

They also failed to include that nearly 25 percent of these people answered that none of the given choices were a waste of time.

What are your thoughts? Is Facebook, Twitter and all other social networks just a big waste of time? Comment below:

Why Non-profits need some major help in the social media department

Social media is a quickly expanding area in business. Many have adopted social media as part of their communications plan, many of which are doing it successfully. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most non-profits. They often lack the manpower, resources and skills to properly use social media.

Social media was pretty much made for non-profits. Its services are almost always free which makes it a perfect communications and marketing match for non-profits. The problem is most organizations are not taking advantage of these services.

Of the organizations that actually have a Facebook page, for example, many don’t list any information. No contact, no website, no events; nothing. According to a 2006 study, (PR and facebook.pdf), almost all of the organizations studied listed its administrators on its Facebook page. However, few listed the organizations goals, mission statements or history.

Now, isn’t the point of social media to be social? If you aren’t facilitating conversation, what’s the point of using social media? They are just merely there because they are told they ought to be.

Non-profit organizations, much like for-profit organizations who are just starting out using social media, are often afraid of social networks. They also don’t know how to use them. One of the biggest fears is the thought of inviting negative comments and feedback. Although this may be true, it is not always a bad thing. It will give you a change to implement your awesome PR skills and make the negative situation better. WIN!

To better use social media, on of the first things non-profits should do is find an expert, whether that be a volunteer or an intern. Having someone to help who has experience using social media will be a huge asset to have. But, by far, the most important thing to do is communicate. Like stated before, without communication and conversation, why would anyone want to become a fan of your organization. About.com has an excellent list of 12 tips to help non-profits get into social media.

This may be a scary and overwhelming time for those just beginning, but stick with it and seek help and it could be a great success with a huge ROI.

I got skillz

As technology changes, so does the required skill sets for any given position. The same goes for journalism and public relations. The emergence of social media is quickly changing the way we do things. From blogging to Facebook-ing, tweeting and editing videos, new grads need to have a wider range of skills than ever.

According to Dave Fleet, Vice President of Digital in Edelman’s Toronto office, public relations practitioners have always been taught and should continue to be taught traditional skills. These skills include writing, communication skills, media relations, good work ethics, attention to details and being proactive. I completely agree with this list. There are essential attributes for working in public relations.

To be successful as a public relations practitioner today requires new skills. It is essential that new grads know how to blog, use social networks and their tools, know what microblogging is and how it can be useful, search engine optimization, RSS, blogger relations (in addition to public relations and media relations) and ethics involved in using social media. Absolutely! These are necessary skills, but most people don’t know how to use them, why they are useful and their potential in public relations.

Fleet says you don’t have to blog, but should have an understanding of their importance and that you should be interested in their uses. I agree and disagree with this. Yes, we should know how blogs can be used and understand their importance, but to say you don’t have to blog to understand this seems ridiculous. I see this as being like writing a book about open heart surgery without ever experiencing it. You just can’t. Social media is hands-on and should be learned in such a way.

All of these skills should also be used in journalism. In a Mashable post by Vadim Lavrusik, some skills that are essential for journalists are listed. With the slow  death of print journalism, journalists need to become multimedia storytellers. Lavrusik explains multimedia storytellers tell their stories “through video, text, graphics, audio and photos.” He also says the best way to learn these skills is through hands-on experience. In addition, he says journalists need to practice blogging regularly. This is so true.

I think between the two professions, the new sets of skills that are needed are covered. The need to know not only social media, but programming such as HTML and CSS is a huge need as everything is going online. I am happy to say I am at least familiar with all these skills. Many of them I practice regularly.

The big problem with learning social media skills is that most companies and newspapers are reluctant to adopt them. It seems they think that because it has worked in the past, it will continue to work for them in the future without any change. Unfortunately, this is very wrong. Companies don’t really have a choice but to adopt. It is becoming a “survival of the fittest” sort of situation. Learn it or fall behind your competitors.


On the other side of things, many companies have adopted social media. However, some of them have such strict policies on its use that it is almost the same is if they never adopted it in the first place. I think this Dilbert strip I found, on Lee Aase’s SMU-G website is funny, but very true in the business world.

Lee Aase is the Director Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media. I was lucky enough to sit down with Aase in December and discuss social media’s role at Mayo. He told me all of the above skills are essential now in communications. It’s an excellent way to connect an organization with their clients, customers, patients, audience or what ever else you want to label people. He discussed how interaction is key. This rang true as I found during my independent study fall 2009 semester. So what if you have a Facebook page? If you don’t do anything with it, its about the same as not having it at all.

I leave with this: master these skills and you could be very successful. Don’t just master them, though. Participate, interact, communicate. Show you know what you are talking about.

Edina: Move Complete

It was an exciting day today in Edina (for me at least). Today was my second day on the job, but first FULL eight-hour day. I got more training today than I could shake a stick at. I got training on Expressions this afternoon. Edina uses it for editing their website. Kind of confusing, but shouldn’t be too hard. The most difficult thing is actually finding the page I need to edit. I also learned CastNet which Edina uses to create “slides,” more or less, for Edina 16, their public access channel.

Jennifer Bennerotte, Director of Communications, gave me some training on how to use her camera. It is an awesome Canon; one like I would like to own some day. She showed me the different lenses, settings and more. She also gave me a few coupons for free classes at National Camera Exchange. I hope I can get to the first two soon! I am really excited about it. I wish I could get to a class tomorrow, though. I have a photography assignment for Tuesday already. I will be getting photos of the Edina Fire Department while they train at their training facility.

In other news, the communications department is no longer located on the second floor of city hall. This afternoon, we picked up EVERYTHING and moved downstairs. It was relatively exciting. I guess about as exciting as moving an entire department’s offices as possible. I look forward to coming back on Tuesday. i will have my own HUGE desk. They even got a new computer for the intern/my desk. I just need to raid the office supply room to stock my desk with the necessities. I will have to update Tuesday afternoon about my new desk and photographer experiences.

Until later-

And so life begins…

It is an exciting time in my professional life! I am happy to say I have successfully completed my summer internship with the Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was a great time and I definitely learned a lot.

I have officially started my final semester as a college student. In 108 days, I will be a college graduate! Time sure flies! I think this will be a great semester. I am taking PR campaigns, Mass Comm History, Multimedia Writing and Introduction to Non-profit Leadership. Should be fun!

On another note, I have been able to secure an additional internship for this fall semester with the City of Edina in their Communications & Marketing Department. I will be starting on Aug. 31. I am really excited to be able to further expand my knowledge of the communication field.

Through December, I will still continue to work for Volt as an Apple Campus Rep. I tabled all summer during freshman orientations about the back to school promotion. I am looking forward to holding two “Mac 101” workshops for those who are new to Macs or just want to learn more.

Until later!