Posts tagged “youtube”

User research self-reporting in the YouTube era

Pizza in JAPAN (embedded below) is a charming video by some Canadian students living in Japan. It’s the type of self-reporting I would love to see more of when I do researcher with users. In the easygoing video they walk through the whole experience from ordering online to the tasting. The young women offer pretty basic but helpful compare-and-contrast commentary. There are tons of YouTube videos showing just how crazee things are in Asia; this isn’t trying for that, it’s just such a nice explanation from someone in a new culture about that culture, speaking back to their home culture.

I’m curious if an increasing fluency with digital tools mean that we can start to expect this level of quality in self-reporting from engaged, creative research participants. Self-reporting is of course limited to what respondents decide to share with you; it’s always going to be incomplete but I see this wonderful example as very encouraging. Check it out: look for the little Japanese mannerisms and marvel at the experience these girls are having.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Report: EPA kills Chevy Volt’s 230 mpg rating [Autoblog Green] – [Thorny problem about how to give an actual rating of a car's performance when that rating is based on gasoline consumption and the car in question doesn't (really) use gasoline! The whole frame of reference for assessing the comparative economical/ecological performance of a breakthrough product is based on a slightly obsoleting technology. Craziness ensues!]
  • [from steve_portigal] How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made [ReadWriteWeb] – A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. Those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that's just over 7 minutes per video, not accounting for any breaks taken. Then they woke up this morning and they are still making more videos right now. Here's how it's going down. Old Spice, marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy and actor Isaiah Mustafa are collaborating on the project. The group seeded various social networks with an invitation to ask questions of Mustafa's character. Then all the responses were tracked and users who contributed interesting questions and/or were high-profile people on social networks are being responded to directly and by name in short, funny YouTube videos.
  • [from steve_portigal] Who’s Mailing What – [A very specific form of "competitive intelligence"] Every month the Who's Mailing What! Archive receives and analyzes approximately 4,000 to 5,000 pieces of direct mail in nearly 200 categories — consumer, business, fundraising, catalogs, and much more — forwarded to us from a network of correspondents around the country. Why? Because the best way to create successful direct mail is to study other company's mail to see which campaign and techniques show up again and again. If you're tracking a particular area of direct mail — you can go right to that category, see what we've received and discover: Who's mailing what, the offers, the control, the complexity of the mailing, whether there was 4-color work, sophisticated computer work, a poly envelope, a self-mailing format.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Inc. Magazine Staffers Works Remotely To Make April Issue – [NYTimes.com] – Away from the office, some staff members struggled to adjust, as minor technical hiccups arose and parents working at home had to find ways to separate their work from their children. But in the end, most employees discovered that they could and should work out of the office more often — though they did not want to eliminate the office entirely. Mr. Chafkin found himself working more hours than usual in February and pining for the company of his colleagues. “I was way more productive, but way less happy,” he said. “I think one of the reasons people get into magazines is that it’s collaborative.” The collaboration that did happen needed to be arranged in advance, like setting a time for a conference call, rather than relying on an encounter in a hallway or chatting at a desk. Only once during the month did the entire staff gather, at Ms. Berentson’s home on the Upper West Side. When everyone got together, she said, it was “exactly like seeing old friends.”
  • OgilvyOne Uses Contest to Promote Salesmanship [NYTimes.com] – A contest from OgilvyOne asks participants to market a brick so their sales techniques can be judged. The prize is a job at the agency for three months. Participants submit their ads for the red brick via YouTube. The ad agency's contest is a nod to David Ogilvy, who offered straightforward opinions on the high importance of good salesmanship.
  • The Medium – Trust Busting [NYTimes.com] – A company shows anxiety on its face — that is, on its Web site, which has become the face of the modern corporation. Visit sites for recently troubled or confused enterprises, including Maclaren, Toyota, Playtex, Tylenol and, yes, John Edwards, and you’ll find a range of digital ways of dealing with distress.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The Book Cover Archive – An archive of book cover designs and designers, for the purpose of appreciation and categorization
  • Avatar Makeup Tutorial [YouTube] – Line extensions and spin-off products come from the people that use your product. Here, a "customer" of Avatar makes a new "product" – an instructional video telling other "customers" of Avatar how they can (literally or vicariously) extend their consumption experience beyond the film itself. It's a lot more relevant than a Burger King (say) value meal, it hews to a compelling aspect of the film itself.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Inside User Research at YouTube – "One of the most important findings has to do with the difference between the large group of users who are on YouTube simply to watch videos and a smaller, but very important, group of more engaged users — often uploaders." [This is such a "real" user research finding; to those of us on the outside it just drips "duhhh" but of course the discovery of the depth of this truth was probably a significant a-ha moment for the team and more importantly, their internal clients, who may have had this as a notion but hadn't really taken on how to build that insight into the design. Now it's a marching order inside the organization!]
  • Kill the Kindle: Charles Brock’s 60 second video from AIGA Make/Think 2009 – Being a book designer, Charles has an (*ahem) unique perspective on the Kindle.

The multifaceted YouTube brand experience

Today YouTube launched a beta of a TV-friendly version of their site. Here’s some thoughts on YouTube, brands, interfaces, transformation, and authenticity.

Casio’s Exilim cameras feature a YouTube mode that supposedly eases the process of capturing and uploading videos to YouTube.

exilim

Note the prominence of the YouTube badge on the front of the camera. It’s bigger and brighter than the manufacturer of the name of the product line!

Euronews is sponsoring a YouTube channel, Questions for Europe and is broadcasting YouTube-like content.

questionsforeurope

Although this photograph of a TV screen is of poor quality, when watching the program it’s fairly easy to see that the picture quality is far beyond what’s available on YouTube and that that Euronews is simply taking traditional broadcast video and placing it in a YouTube-like interface. Although the progress bar is still useful in a non-interactive mode, the whole thing is a bit of a cheat: you can’t actually use any of those controls.

Finally, in Shibuya, Tokyo, YouTube sponsored some sort of performance/talent competition.

youtubeshibuya

They built a stage that resembled a YouTube window, with the interface simply as visual detail on the exterior. In this setup real life is framed as a stand-in for digital content (which itself is a proxy for real life content). The mind does boggle.

Pictures from Japan here and pictures from Amsterdam are here.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Everything's amazing, nobody's happy – Thanks to John Zapolski for this one. Louis CK on Conan ranting with disgusted amazement against the dissatisfaction that he sees with what are clearly amazing new behaviors enabled by technology. Once again standup comedy provides some articulate-as-hell cultural observation. I don't encourage producers to take on Louis' attitude (basically, get over it) themselves, but it does provide a provocative point of view
  • My latest column for interactions: Interacting with Advertising – There’s a famous saying (attributed to John Wanamaker, the retailing pioneer): “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” And while that’s still true, we propose this corollary: Half our encounters with advertising are dripping with evil; the trouble is, we don’t know which half.

Ins and Outage

img_1901.jpg
Starfucks sticker, Taipei, December 2007

Service outages seem to be common news stories lately. Sure, it’s news when many people in Florida lose power, but also when Pakistan causes a 2-hour YouTube blackout, BlackBerry service goes down, or Hotmail is unavailable.

There’s a sense that we are relying on far too many fragile systems and that as complexity increases, these stories will become even more commonplace (and perhaps even less newsworthy). But being forced to do without something seems to be a tactic companies enjoy using to extract a sense of the value of their service. The Whopper Freakout ad campaign is the most prominent example, but other companies such as Yahoo and Dunkin’ Donuts have conducted (consensual) user research experiments where people go without something and report back on the sense of loss.

But Starbucks pulled off the genius move, closing for a few hours to retrain staff, and making front-page news not for their failure (see: Florida, Blackberry, YouTube, Hotmail above) but for their retraining efforts towards a clarified service promise

Starbucks is welcoming customers back Wednesday with a new promise posted in stores: “Your drink should be perfect, every time. If not, let us know and we’ll make it right.”

This won’t address all of the challenges Starbucks is facing, but it’s a pretty brilliant P.R. success, hitting the denial-of-services hot button and emphasizing the valid, powerful reason behind the outage.

The vibration of truth

ff_232_lonelygirl2_f.jpg
The Secret World of Lonelygirl is a pretty interesting summary of much that happened with this YouTube phenom. But separate from that, a passage caught my interest.

When the show started in June with a two-minute YouTube posting by Bree — played by actress Jessica Rose — Flinders would rearrange his room after each shoot. He’d take down the pictures of Rose as a baby, stash the stuffed animals, and swap out the girly bedspread for his more masculine blue-and-white-striped blanket. Now, three months into the project and with hundreds of thousands of regular viewers, he doesn’t bother. It’s too much work, even though it has blown some great opportunities for him. Last week, he spotted his neighbors — two Playboy playmates — and invited them in. They glanced at his room, got suspicious, and quickly left.

That playmate bit…do you believe him? I don’t.

It reads strongly like bluster reported as fact.

I’ve done enough ethnographies over the years to know that often you can tell when someone is embellishing or making up a story. It’s fine that people do that; the goal as an ethnographer is try and filter for that; to try and understand why. But what about for a journalist? Do they have a sensitivity to veracity? For non-hard-news, do they have an ethical journalistic responsibility to question or seek corroboration? Or do they simply need to type into their story, presented as fact, whatever their subjects tell them?

Risks of smartass system messages

I got a 500 Internal Server Error on YouTube yesterday.

It began with the usual Web 2.0 PoMo post-ironic stuff.

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.

And then what seemed to be a more serious request, complete with link

In any case, please report this incident to customer service.
Also, please include the following information in your error report:

Hmm. What do information do they want me to include?

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kVWNYq29hvKfRQXv0TvmJetYC31dIdyl-uUiV1YE__4wYPU_9y7zjxoL_w2H
sKlc7AlSvfs0eVuxEhEtbdGF7ojesWRqrdFeZanR0YexPZKRXN_u_R4r2PTK
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OWx_zjYun946H69BO9s1pYnIqkwLwHyE1OgDFkP8OKIN85pw6w==

Now, are they being smartass or serious? Yeah, cut and paste is cut and paste whether it’s two lines or two paragraphs, but that mass of computer gibberish is something they want me to use to communicate to a human? Strange and off-putting. Let’s put some of that Google money to work on that, folks…

Participation

Metalocalypse is a new animated show on Adult Swim, featuring the ridiculous misadventures of a metal band, DethKlok. It’s filled with lots of irony and post-irony (as only can be done with rock music, especially heavy metal). Co-created by Brendon Small of the excellent (and improv-rich, at least Season 1) Home Movies. Home Movies had frequent knowing rock-and-roll winks and beyond; this series takes that theme full-bore.

And speaking of themes, YouTube (yes, a post about YouTube, including YouTube links. roll your eyes, everyone) has a number of examples of folks playing the Metalocalypse theme.







Not surprising that guitarists would learn and perform their own version, but still neat!

Series

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