Monday, September 13, 2010

The last frontier of free information is the videoblogger. Word of Steve Garfield

il Fatto Quotidano, originally uploaded by stevegarfield. CC BY-NC-SA

Eleonora Bianchini interviewed me for an article in il Fatto Quotidano.

It's here:

L’ultima frontiera dell’informazione libera รจ il videoblogger. Parola di Steve Garfield

Here's Google's translation:

The last frontier of free information is the videoblogger. Word of Steve Garfield

Here's the full transcript of the email interview we did:

Why did you decide to start a blog and become a videoblogger in 2004?

I decided to start a video blog in 2004 for an easier way to get video on the web. Blogging was revolutionary in how it so easy for people to put text on the web. I figured, why can't we try and put video in a blog and make that easy too.

You got popular during Obama's campaign as CNN put online your videos. Which were the video CNN chose? What did they like most of your style?

During the Obama campaign I did something that I called "happenstance journalism" or "reporting by wondering around". I went up to New Hampshire where the first primaries were, and just captured moments that I happened to come across. CNN was smart because they have a site called iReport which lets anyone report stories, and their producers decide what story they want to promote on and from those stories the TV producers then decided what they want to put on TV. It totally opened up the ability for anyone to report and get on CNN. It's very exciting!

As you received a special attention during US elections, does a blogger nowadays needs “special occasion” to get seen?

These days bloggers do not need a special occasion to get seen. My friend Greg Verdino just wrote the book called microMarketing and says "every one in the audience has their own audience" so when you put up videos your audience will see them and spread them. If something is topical and news worthy it'll get spread even farther

What do you need today to be a videoblogger (which camera is the best to start? Which are the advantages of a Flip compared to a camera?)

The easiest way to start videoblogging is to use the camera that you already have. A lot of laptops already come with a WebCam. That's a perfect way to start. You know the majority of videos that get posted to Facebook are WebCam video. Many digital still cameras shoot great HD video. The flip is a good choice and I really like the Kodak models because they allow you to attach a microphone and they have replaceable batteries.

The secret you write in page XIV: “your video does not have to be professionally produced to be successful and tell a story”. So which are the secreto for a video to be successful?

The secret to a good video is to be authentic and real and most of all timely. Be aware of is what's happening in the news and if it's something that needs video, like maybe new product comes out and there's no videos about it, do it quick demonstration and get a video out that will get seen very quickly. Be aware of what kinds of things need to be produced with video and be the first to post and get the word out about your video through social media.

What would you suggest to videobloggers to be good marketers of their work?

What I would suggest for video bloggers to be good marketers of the work is to really foster a community. Build a community first before you need it. When you put something out, you have your own audience that will help you promote the videos that you make.

When a video blogger can be interesting fo tv and online newspaper? Which are the characteristics they are looking for?

Bloggers and video bloggers that can be interesting for TV and online newspapers are people who are out there where the newspaper TV station doesn't have the resources to get out there and cover stories, like for me in my neighborhood I'll cover hyper local stories that are interesting to me and my neighbors that might also have further interest for a greater audience so as long as the TV and new stations are watching what the local bloggers are doing, and if they find us, and think what we are doing is interesting and then share that, that's a great partnership

Which is the role of you tube in making a video blogger important?

YouTube is like a whole another thing. The whole community subscribes to each other. there's some videoblogger friends of mine like iJustine who get tens of thousands of views whenever they put out a new video, so working in that YouTube environment is really not even working, it's just like having an account and making friends there and being authentic and real. Commenting on other videos in participating in the whole community is is what YouTube is all about

How can you use comment in a useful way?

How you can use comments in useful ways, first of all what you should not do is just going to comments and say come visit my website. that is so lame. IT is not the way to get people to follow you need to actually have a conversation.

If you go to blog you read something interesting to you you can go ahead and comment on it and then people will click on your name and follow back to where you are. Promoting yourself is more about listening to what people are saying having a conversation. That's how I became friends with Jimmy Fallon. On his first video blog I left some comments with constructive criticism and then he answered me back on another video and then I sent more video and we just had a conversation.

What Jimmy Fallon did on his video blog was really smart. Instead of just broadcasting a message, he would he would put out a video but then he listens to what people are saying read the comments I commented back and started to have a conversation. Don't just think of the audience as people sitting back and watching. They want to connect and have a conversation with you, that's very important

Are videobloggers usually paid in US or how can they get money working in the media business?

Many video bloggers are not paid in United States, although some are. To make money working in the media business you need tobe hired by someone who might want to do a contract with you. A friend of mine, Jeff Cutler, for example, is an independent writer and he was contracted to go down on the Gulf Oil Spill and was there for a week of reporting. If you do good work and you're out there getting seen, then you can get some contracts to make some money on producing video reports

Give us 3 links of what you think are the best videos you have made so far...
And the ones that made you “famous”?

Three links for videos that I've made it made me famous first of all is one from where they get hundreds of thousands of views for each euro in this one about the Chevy volt electric car is a classic video him that's really great one.

#1 Rocketboom Report: Chevy Volt
Good example of one man band reporting. Also, I use this example when I talk to Journalism classes to see how students feel about what happens at the end.

Rocketboom has also placed their videos on YouTube in addition to hosting them on their own servers.

On YouTube:

#2 Steve Garfield and Jimmy Fallon - First Video Blog Posts
Videos showing my interactions with Jimmy Fallon. A conversation.

#3 The Carol and Steve Show - Episode 45: California - Wine Country
My wife Carol and I did 100's of Carol and Steve Shows. They are authentic and fun.

On YouTube:

Watch more:
The Carol and Steve Show

One more:

Rocketboom Report - Boston Typewriter Orchestra

Did you get in touch with Obama too or did you try to videoblog him?

I did a lot of videos of Obama. I did a video when he came to a very important campaign stop at big rally in Boston. for that one I actually live streamed it using QIK and I had people watching me as I am broadcast from the rally. very groundbreaking. I ended up getting to interview his staff for my book Get Seen: Online video secrets to building your business, and they just felt it was very important for people, other than the campaign, to help tell the Obama story, and that's what made the Obama campaign so successful.

How did you select all the people you interviewed at the end of the book? Were you hit by some special suggestions these people made during the interviews? (My opinion: all interviews are really interesting)

I interviewed a majority of them at SXSW the big Internet and media conference that's regularly held in Austin. these are all people that I respect and have became friends with through video blogging, from all around the world. I just had the opportunity and get them all in one place and interview them they'll had really great advice in the book and am a lot of the advice was to really to just do it and get started

Do videoblogging has some characteristic in common with traditional media?

Video blogging have some characteristics in common with traditional media, it's a person recording a story into a camera and then broadcasting that. I would say that has 100% in common.

Some of the differences are that some of the video bloggers are doing it because they love it and some of the media are doing it because they paid. the media has to try to be unbiased, and video bloggers are not constrained by the rules of reporting which is what a lot of people what to hear. they want to get the real and authentic feelings of the reporter.

The best website to open a blog? (Blogger, ex..?)

The best the best website to start a blog. I use blogger because it's very forgiving is the type of things that you can embed. Other sites like are somewhat finicky and will strip out some code him but I wouldn't discount it. so blogger WordPress, tumbler, posturous, all are ery good sites to make it very easy if you want to host your own video blog. you can look at too, and if you want to pay for a hosted solution you could look at something like TypePad and is also square space and Brightcove.

I should also say that publishing video direct to YouTube or Facebook is a great place to post videos because of the community that is there. It's easy too.

To make live streaming?

This website to do live streaming with is both livestream and Ustream, they have a desktop client that makes the quality very high and very good for live streaming from your laptop. You to stream with HD webcams. This costs a little more than streaming in standard resollution because you have to pay some money to get HD quality support. This is very good choice to get started with some live streaming.

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