28 December 2008

Video surge drives social networking

As we hurtle headlong through the cultural and technological revolution that is ushering in our digital age, we find video is touching the lives of more people than ever before: on screens and monitors, through cameras and phones, at home and at play, in business and public administration. Nowhere is video more ubiquitous today than on the internet and it is incredible to consider that YouTube was launched barely three years ago. With 36 percent of US Internet users downloading video streaming online by the end of 2006, up from 28 percent at the end of 2005, online video has replaced music as the key driver of growth in digital media, and social networking is fast emerging as the "dominant online behavior", according researcher Ipsos. By last June, online traffic using web browsers overtook file-sharing peer-to-peer networks for the first time:
"Chalk it up to YouTube and other Internet video sharing sites. The surge in HTTP traffic is largely a surge in the use of streaming media, mostly video... YouTube alone has grown so big that it now accounts for 20 percent of all HTTP traffic, or more than half of all HTTP streaming video."
From an advocacy, publicity and marketing perspective, the viral video has opened a vital new channel for organisations to reach a younger, ever-more eclectic public. This has spawned an industry of online marketers and ad agencies which specialize in producing and "seeding" branded viral video. Barrack Obama's success in using the internet to garner support and funds is fast becoming the stuff of legend, fuelled by the surge in online video...
Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they have seen something about the (Presidential) campaign in a video online – either a speech, interview, commercial, or debate... Among younger respondents, the numbers are even higher. Fully 41% of those under age 30 have viewed at least one type of video. Fewer older respondents have seen some type of campaign video online, but even among those ages 65 and older, 7% have done so.
...and in social networking...
Overall, more than a quarter of those younger than age 30 (27%) – including 37% of those ages 18-24 – have gotten campaign information from social networking sites. This practice is almost exclusively limited to young people; just 4% of Americans in their 30s, and 1% of those ages 40 and older, have gotten news about the campaign in this way.
This is more than just playing in the web traffic. The union of video and social networking is much more than a marriage of convenience, though it is must be said, it is awfully convenient. Social networking, meet video. Video, meet social networking...

While this video ably shows that video gets the message across like no other medium, it actually highlights that social networking itself must become more than just about finding a job, a new partner or a great place to live -- and much more than the mass-market, me-generation offerings of Linked-In, Facebook and MySpace. What social networking needs if it is not to become tomorrow's version of the CB radio is less viral marketing more real community: places where where friends don't just network to use eachother, but instead come together to harness the network effect for the common good, to work together to create a better world... a place much like ammado.com where the non-profit sector is catching the video wave to deliver positive change. The ease with which one can embed video code in articles on ammado has seen the format flourish. In Poland, Viva, the international animal rights organisation, is using ammado to distribute its powerful message on the inhumane practices used in baby seal culling. View the video on ammado here. I could show you many others right here and now, but that would defeat my purpose. I want you to see for yourself on ammado how other non-profits are using the platform to distribute videos on how to save the Oran Utan, teach New Delhi street kids to become tomorrow's bankers, build a house in a South African shanty town, support a benefit concert for Zimbabwe, learn the difference a health clinic can make to the people of Chiapa­s in Mexico. Video may have killed the radio star, but it's proving a lifeline for those seeking to use the internet to realise a better world. - MICHAEL HUTAK, Ammado Business Development, Asia-Pacific

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