Video in your back pocket

phone-945451_1920 (2).jpgWhen I went back to school in the spring of 2011 to do my Masters in Digital Journalism and New Ventures I was digitally challenged, and determined to do something about it.

After 20 years in the television business, producing documentary and lifestyle series for specialty cable networks around the world, I was going to get the chance to learn about digital media storytelling.   It was exciting!

I didn’t understand theories of technological disruption and innovation until after I entered the program, but I knew instinctively that really, REALLY, big change was on the doorstep of my industry.

Netflix was on the scene, YouTube was growing leaps and bounds, Blockbuster was dead and gone, and the cultural agencies that funded production companies like mine were abuzz over interactive digital media projects—introducing new tax credits to support them.

So what’s happened since then?

Well technological disruption of the TV business is now accelerating at warp speed;  the agencies that introduced interactive digital media tax credits are trying to contain the massive number of applications received;  and traditional networks and specialties are scrambling to hang on to revenues being siphoned off to new agile competitors in the on-line sphere.

I don’t know what traditional TV will look like in another few years. When you are busy defending the gates from intruders, it is  not so easy to find your blue ocean strategy to make it all better.

But as cold hearted as this sounds, for the rest of us I would argue things are looking up.

For the first time in history the internet and user platforms are allowing us to reach a mass audience.  We aren’t tethered to a system where the admittance fees to the communication channels, and the necessary tools, are so prohibitively expensive that we can’t join in.

This is an amazing time for any organization or business to use video in their social media strategy.

With ever faster video streaming, burgeoning on-line hosting platforms, and camera technology that is putting more in a mobile phone than we had 10 years ago in some of the highest end professional cameras —video is your stage—you just have you step on to it.

To argue that you are better off to spend your limited communication dollars on more written words is an argument that is anchored in the perceptions from the past.    In terms of cost to value ratio today it doesn’t hold up.

In my Masters I was interested in the business of digital media storytelling, but I was also required to get my hands dirty and I reported and filed video stories every week on a web site I created and ran.

That experience brought me closer to where my heart had been as a young TV producer—telling stories about things and people that I cared about.   Then I had to carry around a lot of extra people and expensive equipment.

Now the tools of the trade can start with the phone in your back pocket.  How cool is that?

Com0011- 2016: A Look Ahead in Social Media

The Holiday season is fast approaching and many top ten lists for this past year and predictions for 2016 are flooding in.

Social media is ever evolving. Nothing stays the same as new start-ups are always trying to be the next Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

While I am not a mind reader, and can’t predict everything on this world, I can perhaps offer a glimpse of what the next twelve months may hold in social media. As you enjoy your mistletoe with your loved ones, or some candy cane hot chocolate, or volunteering at your local favorite charity, here is where I see the social media landscape going in 2016, in terms of tech trends, influences on the economy, and society.


Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved


  1. Even more video social media content; creating new economic opportunities: This was one of the big things talked about in social media circuits in 2014 and 2015. This was the year where video content on social media outlets grew. Nowadays it seems there is almost a 45-55 split in video to regular posts (my own estimation here). Twitter is now bombarded with video tweets. Expect this trend to continue as more social media outlets, as video content slowly becomes the main source of posts. Don’t be surprised if there is new economic opportunities explored from new social video media content. I can’t say where it will happen, it just will.
  2. Mainstream media will fall further behind social media on big Breaking news: This is a foregone conclusion. While major news networks like CNN, and CBC News Network still run the TV media show, its social media that will break away from traditional media when breaking events occur. Tweets, video Facebook posts of the latest disaster, or ending to a major international sporting event will become to go to source for those who are not at a tv, or just want additional commentary on the event. This will only provide bigger headaches for traditional media who are scratching their head somewhat in taming the social media beast.
  3. Internet of Things and social media become more and more tied at the hip You know when you have the social media industries attention when one of the top social media authorities suggest “IoT devices will unleash a new wave of internet based services, in ways we can’t foresee- much like the way the smartphone came along and changed the world of computing,” is words to chew on. After all, a $19 trillion of wealth may come from IoT, and social media is going to cash in or, at least play a supporting role. I would expect to hear more social media companies investing into IoT, like Facebook, Twitter, or Periscope. Who will be the Facebook or Apple of the IoT industry in 2016? Stay tuned.
  4. Privacy Vs. Transparency: I could see this story further unfolding on two levels: The corporate and personal. On the good side, using social media and the Internet has changed the dynamics of how we look at many multinational corporations, making them more transparent. However, on the flipside, more and more we are seeing those same corporations using social media to “spy” on potential employees. While some of it is just, and people should have some basic common sense when using Facebook (i.e. Don’t put any dumb nut pictures of yourself from the bar the night before), its also blurring lines on what people should post in on their Facebook accounts. Personally, I can see this trend continuing as more and more possible job seekers will get angrier, wondering why they are not being called back for interviews. At the same time, corporation’s questionable practices will be put further to the test under the public court of social media opinion.

Well It’s almost been a slice this year. What social media trends do you see breaking out next year? What is one trend that may flop? Is video the wave of the social media future? As potential candidates should employers look at your Facebook page and dismiss your resume? Will IoT be further integrated with social media in 2016?

Those questions I leave you with. Have a great holiday.


Video is #1 Most Important Tool in Your Social Media Content Strategy

If you have no video and no video strategy in your social media marketing plan you don’t really have a plan.  That might sound harsh, and yes I have a conflict of interest in writing this, given that I produce videos for social media for a living, but you don’t have to take my word for it.

You might, though, want to take Gary Vanyerchuck’s.   He’s the guy who became a YouTube sensation and used it to grow his family’s wine business from 3M to 60M a year.  He’s gone onto to run Vayner Media , a pretty hot digital agency, and to co-own Vayner/Rse a 25M venture capital fund.

He says video is the single most important content strategy for social media today.  Read more here.

I work a lot with public institutions, governments, and not for profits.

What always surprises me with clients is that, despite all the good intentions in the world to capitalize on social media, video is often left behind.    They tell me they know they should do it, but it’s still the last thing they do, or it’s the thing they do for special events when they have a bit more money.

Why?  Here are the top three reasons I hear often from Marketing and Communications Directors:

  • I am better off spending my money on written on-line content because I can get more articles, and cover more for our stakeholders.
  • Video stories are much more time consuming to get done.
  • Video is expensive so we have to do it sparingly, and only for special campaigns where we can justify the money.

O.K., but if you are in fact leaving video out of your arsenal, which could arguably be the single most important element in a social media content strategy, maybe it’s time for a rethink?

In the next few postings I’ll debunk the rationales listed above for not having a social media video strategy and provide some insights into getting one started.

The hurdles to the adoption of a good social media strategy are usually fear based; be it fear of the tech, fear of the time, or fear of failing and blowing money.   Nettleton, R. (2015).  Lesson 2: Social Media’s Impact on Communication Practices. Retrieved from

But the truth is when it comes to video there has never been a more exciting time for self-publishing.   The tools of the video trade are plentiful, they are getting easier to use and cheaper than ever before, and, most importantly, the channels of distribution are accelerating as I write this post.

True, that the cacophony of distribution possibilities means more noise on every channel, but that’s a post for another day.

COM0011-521 Blog post #6 A visual medium

So, a few of you may know that I’m helping my friend out with her cooking show.  The idea behind it is that she takes a guest from the local music scene and cooks a dish with them using local ingredients.  I know I’ve learned a lot of tasty dishes from her.

I suppose it’s fortunate that most of her content is ready made for the internet.   ‘Foodie’ culture is huge on the internet and is usually an easy sell.  There’s even the idea that we eat with our eyes just as much as with our stomachs.  A video of a dish being made should make our eyes very hungry.

However, YouTube is huge and there are millions of competing chefs vying for your attention.  Her issue is how does she grow her brand.  What I’ve learned is to target the message so that it’s hitting the groups you want.  Your audience might not be hanging out where you expect them to be.

In her case, it would mean creating different types of visual content.  Namely she would be taking pictures of her plated dishes and posting them where they’re most popular: Pinterest.  The idea is that a lot of foodies pay a lot more attention to that type of content there.  Tumblr, with its heavy reliance on pictures is fantastic at drawing in foodies of all stripes as well.  Using those same pictures on Tumblr should work just as well.

Attracting those foodies whom interacted with Tumblr or Pinterest content would simply involve linking them to the YouTube page.  Visual content may be great for social media but you have to get your audience to know about it.



COM0011 – 521 Blog Post #1 – My Favourite Social Media Tools

Welcome to my first blog post.  Hope you enjoy it!

What is my favourite social media tool? What’s your favourite? How does one chose? What a challenge! Perhaps the most appropriate basis for deciding is one’s experience and familiarity with a particular tool. I have “tinkered” with Twitter recently, specifically re-tweeting corporate tweets, and connecting it to my LinkedIn account. When I post on LinkedIn, be it a newly created post or sharing a corporate post, a shorter version gets tweeting. I have a Google+ account and see the potential of a more integrated networking platform, considering gmail, Google search engine, etc., although it’s still a bit early to rate it over LinkedIn, despite Goggle+’s success (500 million registered users as of May 2013). Until this week, I’ve not had a Facebook account, so it’s a TBD. From my perspective, it comes down to two social media tools – LinkedIn and YouTube.

linkedin icon

I’ve used LinkedIn for many years, have in excess of 600 contacts (1800 in Outlook) and find it a useful tool for connecting, nurturing relationships and disseminating content of interest to contacts. It is a valuable business development tool. Some have mentioned that LinkedIn is the business “equivalent” of Facebook. With respect to the above-mentioned applications I agree, however, I have not seen the multitude of photos and videos.  Instead, it’s more posts and links. We’ll see if this holds true going forward as I have recently created a Facebook account.

you tube icon

YouTube is another favourite for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is unique in that is it all videos.  With respect to the saying “…a picture’s worth a 1000 words…”, I find it much easier to digest the multitude of content, especially since in my case, it’s mostly a one-way scenario – I don’t post video content, especially as it relates to a non-business application. While there is definitely an “entertainment” factor, I value YouTube for its educational content, specifically it’s “How to…” video tutorials. For example, I am renovating a bathroom and wanted a refresher on how to tile a floor. There are more “How to tile a floor” videos than you can digest.  This would be a typical application for me.

Until next time…

Bob Giddings