Why Half Your Audience Won’t Listen to You

"If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The strugge between 'for' and 'against' is the mind's worst disease." —Sent-ts'an, c. 700 C.E. Who is your target audience? The first question you need to ask before starting a communications project can come down to analyzing one key motivator for your target audience. Values. Before you can unite an idea with an emotion to inspire action, you have to understand why your target … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Free Mobile Books for Africa

I first heard about nonprofit Worldreader—which gives Kindles to students with little access to printed books in rural sub-Saharan Africa—last January on the Build It Kenny They Will Come Blog....  The following line in the post really wowed me: "Imagine, all the books a child would ever need to see them through their basic education, all packed into a ~$100 device." It turns out WorldReader is taking its idea of bringing free digital books to the developing world … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Women Who Tech Promo

I apologize to my regular readers for the lack of posts the last few weeks. I've been busy visiting my family out of state for Easter, had some unexpected Internet connectivity problems, and then was busy with client catchup. So my monthly video clip of the month post, usually posted around the first of the month, is way, way overdue. So without futher ado, here's my April 2012 video clip of the month: a video excerpt from the Women Who Tech TeleSummit after … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Precise Strategies Liberate

A sound communications strategy or creative brief is the most important part of a successful communications campaign or product. It is the firm foundation determining how your communications mix (i.e., public relations, advertising, promotion, and direct marketing) will work together to achieve your communications objectives. It is the genesis of every word you write, every product you produce, every conversation you start. All too often, however, communicators … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Leading Online Communities

How can you turn a leaderless communications swarm into a collaborative online community that achieves results? That's the zillion dollar question for 2012. As my runner up for January 2012 video clip of the month below shows (and anybody who has been following the news knows), self-directed communications swarms fueled many of the top news events of 2011. While my runner up for video clip of the month above is inspiring, especially on the New Year, my main … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Drought & Filter Bubbles

With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, I wince more than ever at a quote by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: “A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” What Zuckerberg's assertion means on a societal level—such as during a regional famine overseas—is the topic of my August 2011 video clip of the month. It features Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Creating a New Narrative

My February 2011 video clip of the month features the founders of the nonprofit Ushahidi (Swahili for "testimony" or "witness") discussing the revolutionary free and open source software they created for crowdsourcing and democratising information. If you haven't been following Ushahidi and crisis mapping, you've got to check the video out. The Ushahidi story is amazing. Ushahidi collects eyewitness reports sent in by e-mail and SMS/cellphone, allowing "everyone … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Anti-Genocide ‘Paparazzi’

My January 2011 video clip of the month is a MSNBC news report about an unprecedented plan to use crowdsourcing to stop war and war crimes in their bloody tracks. The plan, the brainchild of American actor George Clooney, is using commercial satellite images and the Internet to monitor the border between northern and southern Sudan. Oil-rich South Sudan is set to vote Jan. 9 on a proposal to become independent from North Sudan, a move the former U.S. Director of … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Christmas Flash Mob

My December 2010 video clip of the month is a flash mob surprising dinners in a mall food court with a breathtaking rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." Regardless of your religious preference, you've got to love the great performance and the reaction of the people around them. I picked the video because it's a wonderful holiday example of how two relatively small organizations in Welland—a town of about 50,000 in Canada near Niagara Falls—hit a home run … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Crowd Accelerated Innovation

My October 2009 video clip of the month features TED's Chris Anderson giving a fascinating talk on a new phenomenon he calls "Crowd Accelerated Innovation." Web video is driving the global phenomenon, a self-fueling cycle of innovation and learning that he says could be as significant as the invention of the printing press. By watching his video, Anderson says, "you're part of the crowd that may be about to launch the biggest learning cycle in human history, a cycle … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Conan’s YouTube Choice

My September 2010 video clip of the month features Conan O’Brien revealing the name of his new TBS series using a Sharpie and some white paper in a YouTube video. I picked the video because it shows how social media is changing the way major announcements are made. For most of the last century, major public statements were made through press releases and press conferences for the media. Today, press releases aren’t just for journalists anymore, and they are … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: ‘Guy Walks Across America’

My August 2010 video clip of the month is "Guy Walks Across America," a viral video on YouTube illustrating how social media is changing advertising. The video, funded by Levi's jeans (which is featured prominently at the end of the clip), has racked up more than a million viewers since its debut on YouTube July 20. It features actor/model Michael Johnson wearing Levi's jeans and a plain T-shirt on a 14-day cross country trip past American landmarks both major … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Social Media Revolution 2

My July 2010 video clip of the month is a recently updated video by Erik Qualman, author of the Socialnomics – Social Media Blog, demonstrating social media’s explosive growth in recent years. The video is a follow-up piece to his original social media revolution video from last summer. While some of the information is similar to last year’s version, Qualman has updated the data and included new figures for the first time.  A few of the highlights include: If … [Read more...]

Facebook COO Thinks E-mail is ‘Probably Going Away’

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg created a stir this week when she boldly said, “"E-mail—I can't imagine life without it—is probably going away.” Speaking at Nielsen's Consumer 360 conference on Tuesday, Sandberg said only 11 percent of teens use e-mail daily and instead use SMS and social networking. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in consumer technology, if you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow,” she said, “you look at what teenagers are … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: BP Commercial Spoofs

British Petroleum's (BP's) failure to adequately enlist social media in the communications battle over the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill made picking a single video clip of the month too difficult. So I've chosen two BP commercial spoofs, both highlighting BP's growing credibility gap as it desperately tries to control information and ignores the new (social media era) communication rules: collaboration, openness, transparency, and timeliness. While BP is … [Read more...]