Opening Up to Posting Video

Video Strategy Starts With Being Open

Does anyone out there have a video strategy, a member asked me last week. We’re putting up videos but I’m not sure we have a plan yet.

According to Chris Anderson of the TED Conference (as opposed to the Chris Anderson of WIRED magazine), this member has embarked on a strategy just by starting. Shed light on what you do through videos—and even more importantly, open up your world to as many people as possible. “We are actually obsessive about openness here—even started calling it ‘radical openness,’ ” Anderson said.

The “here” is the TED Conference, a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, according to their website. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. That quote from Anderson came at a TED talk he gave last summer in Oxford, England. The talk focused on the power of video, and the revolution that online videos are bringing about. In four years, he said, more than 90% of the Web’s data is projected to be video. “It packs a huge amount of data.”

Steve Rosenbaum of Magtnify.net wrote the article that led me to Anderson’s talk. It was about Chad Hurley, the 33-year-old co-founder and former CEO of YouTube. “What Hurley understood was that Web video was an evolving ecosystem,” wrote Rosenbaum. “Despite the claims that YouTube was, at its core, a network of pirated content, anyone watching Web video is seeing that the explosion is in content creation, not content piracy… What’s changing is that video is no longer about ‘entertainment,’ but increasingly about creating and distributing video knowledge and information.”

Enter Anderson—in a pajamas-like shirt and soft English accent (he was born in Pakistan where his father worked as a missionary eye surgeon). He played some wonderful video of dancers and said that seeing video on the Internet forces people to step up their game. Dancers are challenging each other to get better and so are innovators. He’s noticed that because of this system, people are putting more preparation into TED talks and they’re getting better.

Anderson called the video phenomenon “Crowd Accelerated Innovation.” He said it requires three things:
1. A crowd – a group of people (an association perhaps) who share a common interest—that makes for more potential innovators;
2. Light—meaning clear open visibility, the kind that the Internet delivers—to see what people are capable of;
3. Desire – innovation is hard work.

The desire is the key, he said—what separates the high performers from the pretenders. “If you can do something that goes viral, then it’s the equivalent of being seen in multiple sports stadiums.” That’s quite a rush, he said. It’s also a model that any organization can use—invite the crowd, let in the light, open up to the world and be willing to give away your biggest secrets. (That’s one reason why the SIPA listserve functions so well; SIPA members are incredibly sharing.)

“You can publish your stuff online and if you can get that wheel to turn,” good things will follow, Anderson said. At TED, they’ve opened their talks to the world “and suddenly there are millions of people out there helping us spread our ideas and thereby making it easier for us to recruit and motivate the next generation of speakers.” Translating into 70 languages has tripled their audience, he said. “Everybody’s learning.”

Innovation emerges out of groups, he continued. People spark off each other. As a practical example, Anderson offered the website JOVE, Journal of Visualized Experiments. “It’s a website to encourage scientists to publish their work on video,” he said. “Show instead of tell.”

The next stage of TED talks, Anderson said, will be many to many. He urged his audience to “respond to speakers, have your own talks, shine a light on what’s out there. It’s a self-fueling cycle that we can all participate.”

We’ll delve more specifically into “video strategy” soon. But to paraphrase the famous Goethe quote, beginning it is a start.

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