Tag Archives: mediasnackers

video snacking for cultural organizations

The New York Times published an article by Brian Stelter on Saturday about the growing trend of workers watching short videos online during their lunch breaks, either on YouTube, CNN.com, or elsewhere.

“The trend — part of a broader phenomenon known as video snacking — is turning into a growth business for news and media companies, which are feeding the lunch crowd more fresh content.”

True story! There are thousands of young, mobile, professional internet users out there who are looking for fresh video content every day. In his article, Stelter mentions that there is a wide variety of tastes, too, citing workers who enjoy watching archives clips from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, daily political commentary podcasts, and wire stories from CNN.

Stelter also mentions some of the benefits the viewers see in using a little lunch-at-the-desk time to enjoy some fresh, brief bursts of entertainment:

  1. It keeps your hands free to eat, as opposed to clicking through text content
  2. It can be a communal activity, with workers in nearby cubicles sending each other links throughout the day, which they all then watch simultaneously at midday
  3. Staying at your desk keeps the momentum of the day going, and avoids the interruptions presented by traffic, lines, and crowds.

How can cultural organizations use this information?

If your organization is a performing arts group, and you are already in the habit of recording some or all of your performances, why not consider creating brief (3- to 5-minutes) clips of those performances for lunchtime broadcast?

Here are ten tips for cultural organizations (theaters, opera companies, symphonies, chorales, author readings, museums) thinking about trying to reach lunchtime media snackers:

  1. Record a dress rehearsal of your next production. Break the recording up into brief segments and post them on YouTube.
  2. Tag your videos prodigiously, so that people can find them with a variety of different keywords.
  3. Link from your website to the videos.
  4. Link from the videos to your website.
  5. Link directly to the page that promotes that production, so that viewers can learn more about what they watched with just one click.
  6. Post your links to an aggregator site, like StumbleUpon or Reddit (find more here) to further help people find them.
  7. Blog about them on your organization’s blog (you do have one, right?)
  8. Get creative about your recordings, if you have the time and resources. Interview performers, interview the lights guy, interview the popcorn sellers. Interview the crowd before the show starts.
  9. Be consistent about the length of your segments. Snackers are mostly looking for clips of no more than 5 minutes in length.
  10. Be consistent about posting new content. Fresh Content Daily is the mantra of choice.

What would you add? Is there an organization you know that is doing this well?

snicker snack

The redoubtable Beth Kanter has tagged me in the ongoing meme begun by Jeremiah Owyang in which he asks

“Do you respect media snackers?”

Short answer: Yes. 
I like a nice snack myself, from time to time.

I watched the video that got him started on asking this question, and you might enjoy it too.  It’s great in that it features a very posh-sounding English lady making alarming statements like cell phones used to be expensive and now they’re not and remember arcade games? then you’re old! and also media snackers are young people, not like you, you are old.

OK, it didn’t exactly say all that, except for the last one, which seemed to be the thesis of the bit.  Perhaps I am being overly sensitive.

Regardless of the mild silliness inherent in the original clip (I probably couldn’t make a 90-second clip with any more gravitas than they managed here, so whatever), I think I know what we’re really asking here.

As a content provider, both professionally and personally, what am I doing to meet these consumers where they live?  To provide content to them the way they want it?  How can I avoid having my content bypassed by this group simply because it isn’t sized and packaged the way they want it to be?

All right.  I dig.

Here are a few things that I could do better to respect media snackers:

1.  eschew obfuscation

There’s been a fair bit of discussion on this meme about respecting people’s time by keeping your blog posts short and concise, and by only posting when you have something profound to say.  Fair enough – let’s not post drivel.

I still think that your content has to determine the length of your post.  Call me old-fashioned.  Some topics call for a lengthy, discursive exploration of thoughts, some call for just a few pithy words and a tinyurl.

I think what’s more important than packaging everything into bite-sized pieces is being thoughtful about what size media chunk it is you’re offering, and making sure that it suits the subject matter.

(On a different note, I also like what I have seen Jeremiah do in his blog posts, (besides say useful and thought-provoking things):

He often grabs a bit of text and centers it,
highlighting it for a bit of extra love and affection.

I might try that, too.  It helps the readers find the key point of the post, and decide if they are intrigued enough to read more.) 

2.  Describe what you tag

This is kind of a subcategory to the above topic of respecting people’s time and making media consumption decisions easier for them. 

I know that I scroll through my feed reader every day, looking for tasty, tasty content, and I also know that I will usually skip right on over posts that only have a title and an author associated with it.  I mean, without a little alt text to sweeten the pot, I’m not going to take the 2.1 seconds out of my lunch break to open a link to a post unless it promises me free pony rides. 

This is especially true for posts whose titles don’t accurately describe the content, instead opting for an obscure cultural reference only remotely related to the topic at hand.  (*ahem*)

So one area of improvement for me would be to include a description when del.icio.us prompts me for one, when I am tagging something, say, nptech.   It doesn’t so much matter what the title is, as long as the description tells your story – and perhaps why you found the post helpful enough to tag.

Example A (no description)

ok

Not reading it.

Example B (brief description, gentle endorsement)

better

Reading it.

I will try to do more of the latter.  I am a serious offender on this one.

3.  deliver it differently

I prefer the written word.  However, many people want audio and video as part of a well-balanced snack. 

So as I plan and project the best ways to provide content both here and on my organization’s website, I should keep in mind that we live in a multi-modal world.  And I would be well-advised to keep my menu diverse. 

To sum up:

oreo

Even given that there is a whole vast demographic of people out there (and in here, deep in my twittering little heart) who are increasingly only interested in small, easily digestible bits of media, there is still an equal number of individual differences in how we want that media delivered.

Do you like to break it open and lick off the creme? 

Or do you prefer to nibble around the edges, maintaining a perfect circle?

Do you eat a whole box in one sitting, no matter how small your bites may be?

Are you hungry yet?

(I’m going to tag one of the most enthusiastic snackers I know, Len Edgerly.)