Video sharing

There are many ways to extend your brand using mechanisms other than the written word. YouTube, the second largest search engine after Google in terms of items searched, has over 100 million videos that you can search. Videos are created by corporate teams, film and video companies, end users, and now it is really simple to quickly upload a video captured on a mobile device. And there are many other video hosting and sharing sites too—Viddler, Vimeo, Hulu, Brightcove, MetaCafe, to name just a few. You can broadcast your video stream in real time too. Services like Ustream, BlogTalk radio and Justin.tv use livecasting, streamed video and tools for broadcasting in real time to your audience.

There are services that enable you to add telephone dial-in facilities to host a multi-party video conference. You can save the audio files or the video stream so that users can download the session as a compressed MP3 file at a later stage—ideal for any users that didn—t get to hear the original broadcast. You also have the opportunity to upload documents to accompany the session. There are options in some of these tools for a Twitter stream to be embedded alongside the broadcast so that questions can be tweeted in for the presenters to answer. This instant delivery allows a host of opportunities for companies who can use video for educational services, training, product launches and PR campaigns. You can secure the channel to host your own private business meetings if you don—t have a comparable conferencing solution in house.

Asics, the shoe company, created a video for YouTube about the origin of the company—all done using origami. The video quickly went viral with comments about the beauty of the video and the story of how the company was created. This viral video had a secondary effect. Within a few days of the video being posted, the company saw a huge upturn in traffic on the main Asics site and a much greater awareness of the brand.

Audio broadcasting

Podcasting (personal on demand broadcasting) has been around for a few years now and is very popular. It is really easy to download audio files from the web to listen to selected snippets of a radio show at your convenience. You can also create podcasts for use in learning and training, for capturing vox pops at events, and to record facts and narratives. These audio files are a good way for technical people to showcase their expertise in a specific area. This might be a series of podcasts documenting the Second World War in manageable session ‘chunks‘ or it might be advice for people who need personal coaching to appear more confident. There seems to be podcasts for every conceivable subject. Podcasts can be placed on the web for anyone to download to their PCs or devices, or delivered via a specific service like podcast.com to specific users.

Currently one of the most popular mechanisms for listening to podcasts is Apple’s iTunes, but there are other services such as Podbean and Rhapsody that you can use. One of the key advantages of podcasts is that they can be any length you want. This means that you can deliver short targeted broadcasts of a few minutes, with snippets of useful information, or record a series of lectures of an hour or more.

Let the community categorise the content

With the move away from structured taxonomies on the web and the wide adoption of folksonomies, much richer data can be tagged and found on the web. You can tag photos that you upload to photo sharing sites, in addition to naming them. This extra information gives applications a wealth of resources to take advantage of. Imagine a mashup, with a mapping service like Google Maps or Bing Maps. Users can visit a location and see photos of the area that have been taken by the community and uploaded to a photo sharing site like Flickr or Yfrog. Now imagine a 360-degree panorama of the area consisting of photographs that have been taken by different people and merged using photo stitching software. This technology already exists and has been demonstrated to great acclaim at the TED conference.49 Imagine user-created videos attached to the location map so that upon looking at your destination you can take a virtual tour of the location and see it from the community point of view. It’s a really powerful concept that brings social photo sharing into enterprise applications’and provides a great opportunity for website owners and advertisers to take advantage of.

The Landmark Trust, which lets out unusual buildings for people to stay in, doesn’t have many pictures of its fascinating-looking properties. There are castles, lighthouses, gatehouses, forts and towers. However, visitors to the Landmark Trust have taken photographs of these amazing places and uploaded them to Flickr where they are tagged with the name of the property and also the tag ’Landmark Trust’. This is a great example of the community getting together, following no hard and fast rules for categorising these photographs, but using their own way of tagging to provide order and structure for the greater good.