Microblogging in 140 Characters Leads to 4-Second Microvideos with Robo.to

“With ROBOTO you record short video clips reflecting your current mood and status, and they accompany your status text wherever you send it!”

In May, 2009, Particle, the San Francisco based start-up funded by Justin Timberlake, launched Robo.to – a 4-second video  application that allows mobile device or Web cam users to upload and simultaneously post video snippets to their social networks. Twitter, facebook, flickr and other useful sites are all in one place and you can publish to all of them at the same time.

Mobile robo.to users not only get to see the faces of all the people in their address books, they get a mini-video of what they are up to!

TechCrunch explains, “The site also prominently features a spot for a ‘video avatar’ – a brief video clip that’s meant to take the place of traditional emoticons or static photos, which you can broadcast to a number of popular online services. It’s a neat concept, reminiscent of the moving photographs from Harry Potter.”

The Robo.to Features Blog at: http://massive.ly provided the following means of adding an ever-changing video status widget to your site or blog: “Just cut and paste the embed code from your share ‘Share my Face‘ page and you’re done. It automatically displays updates to displaying your latest. If you dare, you can also make some tweaks to the code settings and customize it to your needs and desires.”

By default the size is set to a 288 pixel square. You can change the size of the badge by changing this variable to whatever pixel size you wish. There are a total of four instances of this in the code that would need to be changed.
By default we have a 7px border. Simply change the 7px to 0px in order to remove the border. Simply change the color from black to another HTML color like pink or lightblue if you don’t like the dark gray.
By default we loop the video status playback endlessly. If you think this will be too annoying on your page, you can turn off the looping and have it only play once after the page loads. Mousing over it will play it. To do this, simply look for the &loop=1 bit in the code and change it to &loop=0. There are two instances of this in the code that would need to be changed.
By default we also display the status message text over the video. If you prefer to not display this, simply look for the &hideBlerb=0 bit in the code and change it to &hideBlerb=1. There are two instances of this in the code that would need to be changed.

Earned Media vs Paid Media… But Beware of PR Puffery!

Using Press Releases for advertising purposes is considered earned media – but be careful to see that your PR is truly newsworthy.

Puff pieces” that have no valid news content will most likely be sent to the trash bin by any self-respecting news agency. However, if you have a special event, a workshop, a new publication, an expansion or if you have earned an award or honor, completed some advanced level of training – anything that might make up an authentic news story – then it deserves to be circulated in the media. A well-written press release should get picked up as news by all types of media including: print, TV and radio broadcasters, Web publications, bloggers as well as throughout numerous channels of social media.

Stephen J. Kastner
Stephen J. Kastner

Having been a professional photojournalist for the New York Times papers in Florida and having written hundreds of news columns and press releases for the print media for over three decades, I know how to write newsworthy stories. Maintaining an extensive set of media contacts and having professional experience helps me provide my clients with an advantage over their competitors who try to create do-it-yourself, in-house PR. Since we only create and distribute valid, newsworthy PR, we are known and respected by media “gatekeepers.”

Earned media vs paid media (advertising) may also include live appearances on radio, television and streaming Internet broadcasts, as well write-ups in letters to the editor, editorials, and polls. The bonus in using PR over paid advertising is not only the price (even if you hire a person to write it professionally, it’s usually cheaper by the square inch than a display ad of the same size), but the credibility factor. A news story is assumed to be truthful and not seen in the same light as an advertising pitch.

With the rapid evolution of social media wherein authentic “conversation” between friends has become the new advertising norm, the following comparisons between earned media and paid media may be valuable:

Earned media fosters customer engagement.
Paid media is based on the old-school, top-down method of tell-and-sell.

Earned media engenders conversation.
Paid media merely pushes information out.

Earned media conversations that foll0w …are organic.
Paid media, is merely sending out a marketing pitch and is often the mark of failure when trying to use that approach in social media .

Earned media enables interaction between the customer and the provider of goods or services.
Paid media offers a pitch to sell goods and services.

Earned media is targeted.
Paid media casts a wide net.

Earned media is distributed and often shared throughout numerous channels and if truly successful, may go viral.
Paid media is distributed over select and limited pathways.

Earned media is highly ranked by search engines and greatly benefits SEO.
Paid media is of low priority in search engine indexing and has a low impact on SEO.

Earned media is positive news coverage that you actively work to get.” – NHTSA

Please, contact me if you would like to learn more about how I can provide you with a means of generating effective earned media…

Gaining Face, Getting Sociable… my favorite word is Synergy

The very coolest thing about migrating to WordPress as a fundamental Web design and development platform is the timely social element. My very favorite word is synergywhen the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When I work within the WordPress community there are simply thousands of smart people working alongside me. I am free to concentrate on empowering my clients and developing a custom theme, while I can tap a vast well of collective resources to add individual site-specific features as plugins.

Joost de Valk is a Dutch WordPress developer and an online marketer, blogging at Yaost.com. As I work here on the rollout of my own site I intend to document the process, pointing out some of the best solutions I discover, test and apply. Joost’s blog is a continuously valuable resource for tips, tools and plugins that he develops. His Sociable plugin is considered by many people to be the finest way to add social media buttons to your posts. The buttons include all of the top social bookmarking and commenting sites as well as the capacity to e-mail, create a pdf or print – so this one plugin covers all sorts of ground.

I am starting this project with a plain “vanilla” theme entitled Frugal by Eric Hamm. He includes a lot of encouragement and documentation with the theme in hopes that you will try modifying it and learn more about the art of coding. I just added in my own logo and will continue to grow this project right before your eyes.

Walking the walk… from passive to active media design

Since I can no longer give advice that I am not applying directly to my own work, I have installed WordPress and am now proceeding to develop my own DesignWise.net social media consultation Website as an ongoing work-in-progress. Equipping my clients with the capacity to easily communicate is now fundamental to providing an effective and empowering marketing strategy. A recent New York Times article talks about the latest findings in a Forrester Research report…

Nearly a quarter of American adults who use the Internet are “creators,” Forrester says, which means that they “write blogs, upload original audio or video, or post stories online.”

I am recalling @Pistachio at the Montreal Webcom in November 2008, explaining one key value of Twitter to… “Surround you with motivating people” and “Flatten hierarchy.”


Now, it’s all about the rise of Lilliputians and the fall of Gullivers. Don Bartholomew, aka metricsman says, “Numerous studies have shown people don’t trust what they read in the media, they trust each other.  I believe it was Hauser and Katz who coined the term you are what you measure in 1998.”

The Forrester report mentioned above explains that, “half of online adults now belong to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, a 46 percent growth rate year-over-year.” And explains further that adults 35 and older are now the fastest growing demographic group, “Four of five adults of all ages now use social media, including blogs, social networks and review sites, in some form at least monthly; half visit social networking sites.”

My own integrative design theories have expanded to include the impact of social media and content creation on what was formerly a studio art form – the creation of static HTML Websites. With the shift from passive to active media, I have become less a designer and more a coach, teaching my clients how to enter into the world of inbound advertising. As metricsman agrees, it is no longer effective to measure site traffic and impressions when there is a raging dialogue taking place in locations far too numerous to measure or evaluate. He offers a new model of measurement:

Exposure – to what degree have we created exposure to content and message?

Engagement – who, how and where are people interacting/engaging with our content?

Influence – the degree to which exposure and engagement have influenced perceptions and attitudes

Action – as a result of the PR/social media effort, what actions if any has the target taken?”

As this new “active media” continues define and refine itself, marketing and public relations is no longer about simply having a great Website… it’s about having a large social footprint and an active voice in the ongoing dialogue. It’s also about  listening as well as speaking, tracking what is being said about you, about your products and about your focal points.

In 2006 I started another shift in my own creative strategies, working to become a filmmaker and video journalist. It was apparent to me then and has now proven to be true, that video production is the emerging pathway to new media communications. I just completed the first stages of a client-funded documentary film-making project on Door County’s Midsummer’s Music Festival that is also simultaneously re purposed as social video marketing. You are invited to join in that conversation at my DesignWise Studios, filmmaker and video production Website.