Monday, April 27, 2009

PSA Humane Society Video

The first version of this PSA was done in the internet-based video editing service.

The social issue I chose to address in my PSA was people who are either reluctant to adopt their pets from an animal shelter, or those who are simply unaware that doing so is an option.  In the video, I inserted a number of photographs depicting cute dogs and cats in order to show the video viewers that cats and dogs make good companions regardless of if the came from a breeder or a shelter. 



For the PSA (the iMovie version), I used a number of different photos of cats and dogs.  Many of the photos I took myself, the Dorchester County Humane Society in Cambridge, Maryland gave the rest of the pictures to me.  I inserted five text slides, most of them addressing a different misconception held by people who are hesitant to adopt an animal.  After all of the slides that I intended to use were in my iMovie project, I adjusted the length of each slide so that they not only fit into the one-minute timeframe, but also so that their transitions fit into the rhythm of the music.  Once I was happy with the way my PSA was looking, I converted it into QuickTime format and uploaded it to my YouTube account.  From there I copied and pasted the embedded link directly into my blog post so that I could be streamed directly from my Blogger page.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dominos YouTube PR Disaster

A few days ago, two teenagers who were workingat a Dominos pizza chain decided that they would make a video and upload it to YouTube.  The motivation behind this appears to be simply boredom.  So what's the big deal?  Teenagers post up videos on YouTube all the time, after all.  Well the difference in this case is that the video depicted the two teens dressed in full Dominos uniform, doing stomach-wrenching acts to food that was seemingly going to be sold to customers.  Sticking cheese up their noses and then placing in on a sandwich was just one example of the two teen's antics.  Dominos managed to act relatively quickly and pulled the video down in less than two days.  But by then the damage had been done.  The video had received close to one million hits by then, so it's safe to say that the damage had been done.  On top of this, it would seem that some viewers of the original video downloaded it off of YouTube and have since posted it back up.  In other words, the pizza clip is now impossible to squash.  But what does this mean for Dominos, or any company for that matter?  I mean, its not like the company did anything wrong themselves.  This could have happened to any company and this type of behavior is not unheard of in the kitchens of restaurants.  The difference now is that todays disgruntled employees now have the power to share their disgusting acts with the whole world instantly, and thus doing significant damage to the company and it's reputation.  This is a tough situation to deal with for any organization.  My advice to Dominos and pretty much any other organization is to keep a close and constant eye on what is being carried out in you name on the web.  The only other thing they could do is press charges against the offenders so as to make and example of them (Dominos is looking at this option) .  This will at least act as something of a deterrent.  Other than that, there's not much else to do.  There will always be unhappy employees and many of them will have video cameras.  Just hope their not targeting you with them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter Podcast


For this assignment, (Linked here or streaming above), our group was asked to produce a podcast that both showed that we had learned the skills needed to accomplish a task like this, as well as have the podcast cover a topic that is relevant to our studies in social media and web 2.0.  We all agreed that, because of the great deal of attention it has been getting lately, Twitter would be a good subject to cover.  Overall, I would say that our project was a success.  We began with an introduction, which laid out what we would be covering in the podcast.  Each member of our group then took on a different aspect of the micro-blogging service to analyze.  Then concluded it with our findings.  The entire podcast was recorded in my living room on my MacBook through GarageBand.  We didn't even need any extra equipment since the laptop has a mic built in.  After recording, we converted it into MP3 format and uploaded it onto our blogs.  

Show Notes

Social Media Today

00.14 Juan begins to introduce the show.

00.38 Juan introduces the various topics that will be discussed on the podcast.

00.42 Sara begins to talk about the use of Twitter for journalists.

01.49 Juan transitions topic to Kirby.

01.58 Kirby begins to talk about the advantages of Twitter for the average person.

03.01 Juan transitions topic to Joe.

03.12 Joe begins talking about the advantages of Twitter for business. 

04.38 Juan ends the show.

05.13 Podcast ends. 


Monday, March 16, 2009

Twitter: I still don't get it... :(

Not too long ago I gave in and joined Twitter.  If you are unfamiliar with what Twitter, think of blogging, only a lot smaller (micro-blogging) and only answering the question "What are you doing?".  I didn't join because I have saw a use out of it, but did so simply because everyone else was doing it  - I just wanted to be popular :( -.  Anyway, I still haven't found any truly good use for it in my day-to-day life.  Believe me I tried.  First I looked for anyone i knew with a Twitter account.  This was a lot harder than I expected.  There isn't really a good searching ability on Twitter.  You can't look by E-mail or school/employer like on Facebook, for example.  And even when I did find an account with a name I recognized, they often didn't have a picture up or listed their city, so I couldn't tell which of them were people I knew (if any of them were) and which just happened to have the same name.  I did finally manage to track down my friend Wayo.  Ironically, I did this, not by looking up his name, but instead by typing in my own.  Evidently, my friend had run into the same problem as me because he was following the Tweets of someone who shared my name, but was NOT me.  I called Wayo up and we straightened everything out.  Well I decided to give up on friends and look for celebreties that I might want to follow.  This however, was also a bit disappointing.  I found that all of the celebrities I would care to follow, they all fall into one of two groups.  Those who Tweet way too much and constantly fill up your page, such as Jim Gaffigan and The Onion, or those who don't use Twitter at all, like Kristen Bell. (* The third group would be fake Twitter accounts like Tina Fey's).  I would really like to be into Twitter, seriously!  In fact, not liking it makes me feel kind of old.  But I guess its just doesn't have a useful purpose in my day to day activities.  Still, if Twitter does something about the problems I mentioned, who knows!

LOL, this sums it up really well:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

China takes up Pakistan's example

            In a previous blog post, I wrote about Youtube removing content deemed by some to be offensive to the Islamic faith.  They did this in response to Pakistan placing a nation wide ban on the site.  Well since then, Chinese officials have done the exact same thing (obviously this means that the Chinese government reads my blog).  The Youtube ban, which bars the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) from granting users access to the site, is in response to video’s posted of many Tibetan protests that have taken place over the years.  This puts Youtube in a terrible position.  First of all, if Youtube again censors its content due to political pressure, I have no doubt that other countries will follow suit.  The last thing Youtube wants is for countries banning access to become a trend.  Another problem lies in the motives behind the ban.  While China’s and Pakistan's ban may appear to be the same issue, this actually isn’t the case.  Pakistan's ban, and Youtube’s decision to meet their demands, was centered the fact that the videos were clearly examples of religious intolerance.  Many of the videos China is objecting to are of Chinese police using what many would define as unnecessary, even brutal force against Buddhist monks, Tibetans in exiles, and others participating in the demonstrations.  The difference here is that with the Pakistan situation, Youtube was acting against intolerance.  China, however, is the oppressor in this situation.  Many people, including myself, would see the removal of the Chinese protest videos as assisting China’s attempt to cover-up human rights violations (See: “Tiananmen Square Massacre”). 

Video Example:

Youtube finds itself in a tough PR situation.  If they ignore the demands of the Chinese government and leave the content up, they will most likely lose all patronage from the Chinese people.  This is no small issue since China makes up a relatively large piece of those who visit the site.  On the flip side, if the site does cave and remove the content, it could put them in an even worse position.  There is no doubt that numerous people around the world, myself included, would view this as Youtube not only turning a blind eye to human rights violations by actively censoring others speaking out against them.  Not to mention that doing so would go against Youtube’s core philosophy of free expression.  

So what’s a video-sharing site to do?  Here's what I think.  Taking down the content the Chinese government is objecting to would be a BAD move on YouTube's part.  A line in the sand needs to be drawn to prevent countries, or any group/organization for that matter, from trying to bully YouTube into censorship.  This is a good place to dig in and refuse to remove the content.  Unfortunately, I believe that this powerful tool for free speech and self-expression may be reduced to nothing more than a way to watch clips of skateboard accidents, sneezing pandas and “lol cats” while on your lunch break.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pakistan's ban on YouTube

On February 27th, 2008, the government of Pakistan removed its ban on YouTube after the website took down material many deem offensive to Muslims.  The questionable videos contained cartoons drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.  While I haven’t confirmed that these videos intentionally attacked the profit, any depiction of him is felt to be disrespectful in the Islamic faith.  In fact, it was not too long ago that a very similar situation involving a cartoon featured in a Danish publication caused a wave of outrage throughout the world.  Well it seems that Pakistan’s actions worked.  The spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), Khurram Mehran, said, "We have issued instructions to all internet service providers that YouTube should be unblocked as the specific content has been removed by the website”. 

         Frankly, I am unsure how to feel about this situation.  On one hand I’m not the kind of guy that supports the mocking of any religion, regardless if it is my own or not.  Plus, do we really need to cause any more friction between the cultures of the West and those of the Middle East?  On the other hand, YouTube is supposed to be about free speech and expression.  While it isn’t good that the material was seen as offensive to Muslims, one can no doubt find content that is derogatory towards other religions on YouTube.  Isn’t being equally offensive to everyone a form of equality, too?  I really don’t have the answers but it certainly seems that YouTube has made up their mind on the issue.  

Chapter 1 Citizen Marketers - My favorite firecracker

The summer before last, my roomate and I became obsessed with a video on Youtube known as "Drama Chipmunk".  This video is the definition of a firecracker.  The video depicted a prairie dog (not a chipmunk) giving a weird look to the camera, set to some very dramatic music.  I'm not really sure why the video was so funny, but believe me, it was.  Almost overnight, the video was everywhere.  I saw it posted on my friend's facebook walls, all over video sharing sites like youtube, it was even played on television a few times.  In addition to all of this, dozens of remakes and parodies of the drama chipmunk started popping up all over the place.  It was strange how popular the drama chipmunk became.  Why did this particular video succeed where so many others failed to become viral?  What makes a firecracker a firecracker?