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Ted Williams Video Pulled From YouTube. What Would You Have Done?

What would you do?

What would you do if you had a “feel good” video on YouTube that was generating upwards of 12 million views?  Would you take it down?

That’s what the Columbus Dispatch chose to do recently with the now famous video of Ted Williams.  You remember him, right?  The golden-voiced homeless-man-no-more.  (See above, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.)

Ted Williams was “discovered” by a Columbus Dispatch videographer who “auditioned” Mr. Williams as he panhandled at an intersection.  Ted Williams ultimately received numerous job opportunities as a result of the video having gone viral.

Ultimately, the video made its way to YouTube where it rang the bell at more than 11 million views in the span of a few days.

Today, this…

Ted Williams Video Pulled By the Dispatch

The video now graces the front page of the Dispatch’s website.  (Where they’ve kindly provided the embed code so I can share it with you at the top of this post.)

Clearly, they’re willing to share.  They just don’t want their proprietary video being posted on someone else’s YouTube channel.  I can understand that.  Heck, my knee-jerk reaction is typically to cry foul if someone else snagged my content and put it up on their site.

Really, I get it.

But, it also got me wondering: Was that twitch-of-the-knee the only way to go?  I mean, 12 million views in a few days is link-juice-potential that I’d be loathe to expunge.

What would you have suggested to the staff at the Columbus Dispatch if you were in the room as they were debating this issue?

Let’s brainstorm, shall we? If I were the Dispatch, I might have…

  • …Uploaded my proprietary / branded copy of the Ted Williams video to my own YouTube channel. (What?? I don’t have a YouTube channel?? I’m a media company!  Why the hell not??)  Then…
  • …Tagged the hell out of my copy of the video. I’d make sure to use the same or similar tags that other people, who are posting related video content and video responses about the Ted Williams piece, are using.  That way, my video shows up as a “related video” to theirs.
  • …Placed my website URL prominently on the first line of the description field under my YouTube video. Hey, I’m not modest.  Let’s give visitors a chance to get back to my website.  And speaking of that description field, I’d make sure there are appropriate keywords that would help get visitors over to my site.
  • …Created a playlist containing the top-rated videos on YouTube where others are posting video responses and having dialog about the Ted Williams piece.  Then display that playlist on my YouTube channel AND on my website.  (Hmmm…now, if I can only get people coming over to my “authorized” version of the video.  Oh! I know!)  I might then also have…
  • …Approached whomever it was that uploaded the, now highly-viewed, unauthorized copy of my proprietary video to his/her YouTube channel. Then instead of a cease and desist, I might have compelled him / her to comply with a request to place annotations in his video.  Those annotations should link back to the playlist on my YouTube channel.  And, perhaps I might have also…
  • …Certified the Other’s copy as an authorized reproduction.  (And no others.) Then drafted a one-liner for him/her to include in his description field stating that fact, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.

Those were just a few thoughts off the top of my head.  Any rebuttals?  What would you have suggested?

5 Great Ideas for Using QR Codes to Build Your Network

MelAclaro.com QR CodeQR Codes have graced the list of discussion topics lately in some of the marketing meetups I’ve  attended.

Although they’ve been around since 1994 and have gained some traction overseas, QR Codes have only recently begun gaining increased traction here in the U.S.  Mainly because of the proliferation of smartphones.  (Gartner: 172 million smartphones sold last year; up 24%.)

How To Scan a QR Code

For my friends who haven’t heard of QR Codes, let alone having ever scanned one before, I took the liberty of placing a little quick reference tutorial through the image link below.

How To Scan a QR Code

Download the Tutorial Above (Free)

If you want to download the tutorial above, here’s the link on the left.  (It comes with no express or implied warranties… yadda yadda.)

It’s free.  No signup forms or other strings attached.  Just download it and extract it.

The particulars

It downloads as a zip file.  When you extract the zip file, it expands to include two files (index.html; engage.swf) and a folder (engage_content).  If you plan on uploading it to your server to play in your own blog, feel free to do so.  Just make sure to keep the same relative file structure.

The file that launches the tutorial is the index.html file.

The Problem With QR Codes

Why am I making the tutorial available as a free download?  Because, one problem with QR Codes is that, although 172 million smartphones were sold last year, the thing of it is, there are still a lot of folks who have never scanned one before.  So, you can implement the great tips I’m going to tell you about below, but if the person who drives by your yard sign with the QR Code on it (for my real estate agent friends) or the contact who picks up your business card with the QR Code on the back of it, has no idea about how to scan a QR Code, then it’s sort of a moot point.

What I’ve found is that it helps to also include a little knowledge enabler, along with the QR Code image placement.  It helps those folks who are still trying to wrap their head around the idea of what the heck this funny looking dotted-square-thingy is all about.

The tutorial above can be that enabler.

I’m making it available for you to download and place on your own site if you want because I figure some of you may not want to use my blogsite as the knowledge enabler.

Don’t worry, I get it.  It’s a branding thing.

So, download it.  Then, put it on your site and include a small bit.ly link to it in small type somewhere visually near where you place your QR Code in your marketing collateral.  (Full disclosure, I tried to keep the tutorial relatively brand-free so it would be of use to you.  ‘Fact is, though, I needed a couple of examples.  So in a couple of panels, it’s actually my QR Code image that’s included.  Also, there’s one panel that has a snapshot of a website; the snapshot is one of my (this) blog.  But, other than that, I think I did a pretty good job of keeping it fairly brand neutral.)

5 Great Ideas for Using QR Codes to Build Your Network

Now, if you know how to create a QR Code (should I write that post next?), then here are some ideas you may want to consider.

1.  Place it on the back of your business card. Have the QR Code link back to, say:

  • your LinkedIn profile,
  • a web page where your VCF card can be downloaded,
  • a YouTube video,
  • an About page on your blog
  • or, better yet, a contact signup form.

2.  Print one on a custom name badge. Wear it at your next trade show or industry conference.  (Same link-back examples as above.)

3.  Marketing collateral. Place a QR Code on your yard signs, flyers, postcards where the buyer / prospect can find out more about the property or product.  (Tip for my trainer-colleagues, place a QR Code on your handouts.  Have it linke back to a resources page on your site.)

4.  Products. Place a QR Code on tradeshow trinkets like cups, T-shirts and other giveaways.  (Tip for restaurateurs:  Place QR Codes on your menu and have it link directly to your business page on Yelp.com.)

5.  Your car. (Hmmm… your car?)  Well, Danica Patrick has a QR Code on the hood of her car.

Your Turn

What other ideas can you think of for the use of QR Codes for small businesses?

2010’s Top 10 Most Viewed Articles – MelAclaro.com

Like you, perhaps, I like to take this time of year to reflect on the past year’s activities, highlights, trends and patterns.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’ve heard me say before that we should each do a retrospective at least quarterly. And, I still espouse that. So, procedurally speaking, it’s not a unique exercise to have a point of reflection in December. But still…wouldn’t you agree, there’s still something special about it? Something that’s still somehow different than the quarterly reviews you might do for your business or career throughout the year?

For one, you have a whole 4 quarters / 52 weeks / 12 months / 365 days of data points to trend-out. What patterns can you discern? Do they reveal any “aha” moments? Based on what you observe, what course changes would you make in the next period?

the fun in this exercise. Wouldn’t you agree?

So, as is my routine at this time of year, one of the activities I like to work out is to see which of my blog articles you and our other friends viewed most in 2010?

As you know, until last August, I had been primarily blogging over at BusinessCasualBlog.com (BCB). After that, I started this blog on MelAclaro.com. So, this year, I was compelled to generate a Top-viewed list for both blogs. (Heads-up: I haven’t quite decided yet, but I may be making some changes in 2011. ‘Not sure yet, but I’m thinking of parking BCB and focusing primarily on MelAclaro.com. The question is…what to do with all that link juice? Got any suggestions?)

Anyway, below are three lists.

  • The first, is a Top 10 list of most viewed articles for MelAclaro.com in 2010.
  • Meanwhile, the second and third lists are for BusinessCasualBlog.com. The last two differ from each other in that:
    • a. the second list is a Top 10 list of the most viewed articles on BusinessCasualBlog.com in 2010. That is, regardless of when the article was written. (It’s always an interesting exercise for me to see which articles are still popular after more than a year. It also gives me a clue about the keywords via which folks are finding their way to my blog via the major search engines.)
    • b. Meanwhile, the third list is a Top-10 list of the most viewed articles that were authored on BusinessCasualBlog.com in 2010 only.

So, here you go. Feel free to bookmark this article and revisit the articles below. Let me know which ones you liked best. Also, let me know, too, if any of them have spurred any thoughts for any course changes you might make in 2011.

All-time Top 10 Most-viewed on MelAclaro.com in 2010

All-time Top 10 Most Viewed on BusinessCasualBlog.com in 2010

Top 10 Most Viewed Articles Written in 2010 on BusinessCasualBlog.com

I’m still digesting the lists above for trends and “aha”-type insights. Does anything jump out at you?

How to use post-it notes to gain meeting consensus

While brainstorming story themes recently with a client, I employed a brainstorming technique I had used numerous times before.   It makes use of Post-it notes to gain consensus in meetings where you have three or more participants.  It can also be effective in meetings with strong personalities; those with passionate agendas.

Though I used it recently in a meeting related to an eLearning / video project (which is why I’m sharing it here), you’ll see that it can effectively be used in many other business scenarios.  In fact, I wrote about this technique a couple of years ago in a similar article for BusinessCasualBlog.com.  It continues to gain a high number of hits on that blog, which tells me it’s an oft-searched for topic.  So, I figure I’ll share it here with you, as well.

Beyond Brainstorming

decision-making mindmap

If you’ve ever participated in a brainstorming session, then you know how quickly a group of folks can fill up a series of flipcharts or the white space on a white board.  Like you, I’ve participated in meetings where we successfully whittled the brainstormed list down to a prioritized short list.  Then, yet further to actionable tasks. That’s the ideal result.

That said, I’ve also been in meetings (too many) where, at the end of it all, we concluded with nothing more than a lot of great ideas on a bunch of flip charts.

It’s for this latter set of managers that I’m sharing this post.

What follows is an eight-step consensus-building process I’ve used successfully in meetings to get down to a short list of prioritized and actionable ideas after having begun with a long list of brainstormed ideas.

Now, I can’t take credit for this. It’s something I learned from others, and I doubt any of us know who started the whole thing. But, it’s worth sharing. If for nothing else, then maybe I won’t have to waste my time sitting in on too many more fruitless brainstorming meetings in the future.

So, if you learn something new here, then pay it forward. Pass this information along.

The tools

What you’ll need: Post-it notes, markers, flip charts (or white board), pens.

In anchoring a starting point, let me begin by assuming you’ve already generated a long list of brainstormed ideas.  Then, with list in hand (or strewn on flipcharts across multiple walls), do the following:

1. Group and categorize the list of ideas. This is an iterative process where the facilitator goes down the list of ideas in succession. With each list item, the group is asked if there is anything in the list above it that might make for combining or grouping. Some things to keep in mind:

  • To facilitate a smoother round, each idea should be given a letter label. (“A,” “B,”, “C,”… and so on.)
  • Avoid using numbers.  A numbered list often conveys a sense of implied rank ordering or prioritization.
  • When you combine ideas, cross out the letter (not the idea) of the list item being combined. Then, write it’s letter next to the line item to which it is being combined.

Sample Brainstorm List2. Clean up the list. Usually, the brainstorming session itself, and Step 1 above, will have taken a bit of time. The flip chart will be messy, the group will have felt like they’ve really worked hard. (Which is why some unskilled facilitators allow the meeting to adjourn immediately after brainstorming or after the grouping step. Fight this temptation.)

Instead, put everybody on a break while you (or a co-facilitator) clean up the list by re-writing the resulting grouped line items onto a clean set of flip charts.

After you’ve created a clean list, give each line item a new set of alphabetic labels. (Again, “A,” “B,” “C,”… etc.)

Conduct a weighted talley using Post-it notes.

And herein lies the crux of this process.

3. Count the number of items in the list and divide by three (3). Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, we have a list of eight items, as the image above shows.

Dividing by three (and then rounding), we end up with the number 3. (Well, 2.67…, but practically speaking, let’s round up.)

By dividing the number of line items by the number three, you’re defining the number of “votes” each member will get in the next step. (Note: Don’t get hung up on why we’re dividing by three. I’ve heard this referred to as the “N/3 Method.” It’s largely arbitrary, but generally it gives a result that reasonably assigns an “appropriate” number of votes for each participant.)

4. Distribute Post-It notes. The number of Post-Its you give out to each participant should equal the result in Step 3. So, in our example, (after rounding up) you would give three (3) Post-it notes to each participant.

5. “Pick what you like.” Instruct each member to write one letter, from the list, on each Post-it note. Each letter represents a unique line item from the list. And, no duplication of letters is allowed. In other words, no fair stacking your votes. (Unless, for some reason, the group agrees that’s okay… remember, the key thing here is to get the group to agree to the process. If they agree with that, they’ll go along with the results.)

Sample rank order during brainstorming6. Rank order. Once each participant has had an opportunity to write a letter on each of the Post-it notes they’ve been given (three in this example), instruct them now to focus on the letters on the Post-it notes, and the idea that each letter represents.

Challenge them to rank order each Post-it note by placing a number next to each letter. (1 = Lowest in their set. And, in our example, 3 = the highest. Clearly, if the result of Step 3 above dictated 5 Post-its for each participant, then 5 would then be the highest rank.)

Sample brainstorm list result using post-it notes7. Reveal their weighted tallies. After each member has had an opportunity to complete their rank ordering exercise, instruct them to all come up to the white board at the same time (or, if it’s a large meeting, then in smaller groups of 6 to 10). Have them place their respective Post-It notes next to its corresponding line item on the flip chart.

Note: This is a powerful step. It psychologically reinforces the “wisdom of the crowd.” Each participant is less likely to challenge the resulting tally since, by their participation, they’ve agreed to the process that is currently at work. And, therefore, the results.

8. Sum and prioritize. Once all participants have had an opportunity to place their Post-it note on the flip chart, you or your co-facilitator should then tally the numbers (on the Post-it notes) associated with each line item. Write the sum boldly in the margin next to the idea to which it corresponds.

The result is a prioritized list: those ideas with the highest sums (e.g., D, E and A, in our example) are assigned the highest priority.

But wait, what if there’s a tie?

Look at items B, C, and F in our example. Notice the Post-its associated with each of them add up to 3 on their respective lines. That’s not a problem. You can either follow the same steps as above or modify the steps slightly using a simple tally with a simple show of hands while focusing on only those line items that require tie breakers.

Of course, this may be moot if the goal was to prioritize and, say, identify the top 3 items from which to develop action steps and assignment of responsibilities.


What I showed you here is a basic technique that many trained facilitators may be familiar with. (While not all may do it exactly this way, each has a similar process for achieving group consensus.)

But, if this is new for you, and it helps you at your next meeting, then remember to pay it forward. Pass the information along to a friend. By doing so, you and I may be saving each other from another dreadful “go nowhere” brainstorming meeting sometime in the future.

Email Is Also Social Media

Once again, we had another great meeting at this past weekend’s meetup with the Social Media Mastermind, Orange County (SMMOC) roundtable professionals.  By the way, if you haven’t been to one of those, and you live in Southern California, you should try attending one.  Here’s where you can get more information about upcoming events.


In any case, one of the questions that came up for discussion during our last meeting (and we talked about a lot of things including Rockmelt and–get this–placing QR Codes on sheep (?!)) was the role of email in social media marketing activities for businesses.

How Do You Define Social Media?

Now, if you ask me, if you take the definition of social media as a media channel for social interaction using highly accessible and scalable web-based publishing techniques to turn communication into interactive dialogues,  then you also have to consider email as part of that venn diagram of social media channels, as well.

Now, one of the things we were talking about on this topic was that all the activities that we’re used to doing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on — these are things we do in social networks.  And while there’s a place for business and marketing in social networks, I wouldn’t actually recommend trying to garner a point-of-sale transaction in a social network.

The point of sale is still better-managed within email-as-social-media vs. social-networks-as-social-media.

What do you think?  If you’re a business owner, how do you actually make an online sale?  Do you find yourself doing that in social networks?  Or, is there a process you follow that leverages email and dedicated online ecommerce locations?  What have you found effective?

How To Link To a Specific Timecode In YouTube Videos

format for youtube timecodeI posted this little bit of info over a year-and-a-half ago on BusinessCasualBlog about linking to a specific point in YouTube videos.  Surprisingly, even after more than a year-and-a-half, it’s still one of the most popular searches on that site.  So, considering that that’s probably a clue of a bit of demand for that info, I figured it’s worth sharing with you, as well.  Certainly it’s relevant to the kind of topics you and I discuss here.

The URL Format You Want To Use

The picture above is the syntax (format) you want to add to the tail-end of a YouTube URL if you want to send someone to a specific timecode in a YouTube video.  The explanation of variables goes like this:

  • #t (This defines the line between the “regular” YouTube URL and the timecode you want to define as the landing point.)
  • h (This signifies hours.)
  • m (Signifies minutes.)
  • s (Signifies seconds.)

As a practical example, let’s say that I wanted to direct you to the exact spot where my friend Scott Schang mentions the book Cluetrain Manifesto in the video of a panel discussion we participated in recently.  Well, I could tell you to click the link below and then scrub to the point at about 5 minutes and 35 seconds (5m:35s) into the video:

Or, I could just as well say, click the link below:

Notice the difference in URLs? The second has the added syntax.

Go ahead, give it a try.

Your Turn

Do you have a similarly helpful tip?  Please share it in the comments below.

In the meantime, it’s Friday.  I hope you’re preparing for a great weekend.  Let me know if there’s anything cool this weekend that’s worth checking out.  I’m wide open for the weekend; unless you give me an option, I’m probably gonna otherwise just be mowing my lawn.  So, save me… tell me what else could I be doing?!

Four Points-of-view On Social Strategies for Large and Personal Brands

Last Saturday I moderated one of the panel discussions at the ProductCamp SoCal conference at CSU Fullerton.  With me were the four points of view represented by esteemed colleagues from the Social Media Mastermind Orange County (SMMOC) roundtable.

Notably my panelists included:

We explored some interesting topics around social media strategies for large and small brands.

Our panel was made especially interesting because of the questions some of you contributed ahead of time through an earlier post I made requesting your help, as well as in the SMMOC group on Facebook.  Also, the other thing that made this panel so engaging was the fact that our panelists didn’t do all the talking.

As barcamps are wont to do, our full house of attendees contributed quite a bit to the discussion.  You’ll see from the video that a lot of our attendees were really quite keen to share some of their own experiences and case studies.

I posted the panel discussion in three parts and bundled them together above in a handy little playlist.

Highlights Include:

  • Opening thoughts about (mine) about terms like “social media revolution” or “paradigm shift” perhaps no longer being accurate statements.  (I also followed that up with another video post after the conference in the post titled, “Is Social Media STILL a Shifting Paradigm?”)
  • Thoughts contributed by each panelist about establishing a baseline definition about any differences between “large” vs. “personal” brands.
  • A discussion about differences between large and personal brands and how larger brands seem to have more infrastructure and resources while smaller (personal) brands have to be a lot smarter and resourceful.
  • The role of consistency and conversation in brand persona.
  • The importance that brands assign resources to monitoring and listening to the social stream.
  • The importance of organizations empower employees to communicate directly with customers in the social stream.
  • Further discussions (debate?) about whether or not social media is indeed still a “paradigm shift” or whether it’s now a “new normal” with implicit changes being more a manifestation of change as opposed to unique effects of social media.
  • Education and training’s role in building an effective social media strategy.
  • Some thoughts about whether or not the popularity of social media is a Gen-Y-driven phenomenon or is social media’s adoption more a result of the “older” generation’s championing and adoption?

If you were on the panel, what additional thoughts would you have added about strategic considerations for social media in brand development?