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28 May, 2015

Periscope is live on Android

I have some fresh news about the new livestream video app, Periscope.

The latest announcement will be welcome news for many of you. The app is live on Android.

You may recall that Livestream Video is one of the 10 types of mobile video we teach in the Smart Film School.

Our latest Smart Film School newsletter has more details on how you might be using more of this style of video in the near future.

The announcement will be welcome news for many of you.


8 Great Facebook tips to improve your news feeds

Use these 8 Great Facebook tips to improve your news feeds and reach more of your actual friends.

  1. Most content from your friends never reaches you. If you want to see more items from specific people put them in a list and visit that list. Lists show all new posts. 
  2. Mark your friends in either the "close friends" or "acquaintance" lists. That improves your feed results instantly. 
  3. If you have friends who never like, never share, never comment, and never post their own items, THEY HURT YOU. The takeaway? Unfriend the lurkers in your friend list. 
  4. SHARE three posts from someone else about stuff you are interested in. If it’s tech you love, share tech. If it's fashion, you'll see more of that in your feed as a result. 
  5. Write your original posts about one particular topic. You'll see even more of that same topic on your news feed. 
  6. Turn off as much privacy as you are comfortable with. Let people follow you, instead of friend you. Then post some things to public. You'll find your posts start getting an audience you never knew existed. 
  7.  You can still post to just your family even after you turn on following. Each post has its own privacy 
  8. Use Facebook's native tools to upload videos, photos and links. Your reach will will be diminished by Facebook for posting links to YouTube videos, reposting from Twitter or other tools like Hootsuite.

04 May, 2015

How publishers can fend off Facebook's offer to host all of their content

Facebook is playing hardball with legacy news publishers

They say that links to news stories outside of their platform provide a poor user experience. 

Facebook claims that news articles can take up to eight seconds to load. 

If that metric true, I would be inclined to agree with Facebook that a long load time is a horrible user experience.

Facebook has a solution, just give them all of your original content instead. 

In essence they are saying, “Fire your Web team, shutter your home page and just hook us up to your API. You had your chance, you failed. We’ll take it from here.”

Facebook’s claims that their 1.4 billion users can consume your news content much faster if you just give them all of your stories. 

Your news consumers never have to leave Facebook! Isn’t that better for everyone?

To sweeten the deal, Facebook says that if you serve up your content with an ad, you will get to keep all of the ad revenue. If Facebook sells an ad against your content, you keep 70 percent.

But there is an obvious problem in giving Facebook the power of your press.

What will happen to the stories that you post that are critical of Facebook? Or their partners? Their investors? Their spouses, Their friends?  

Nobody knows. And that should scare the shit out of you.

No tech company has earned the privilege to exercise that kind of editorial judgement. 

Least of all Facebook. They have no demonstrated expertise in running editorial operations to the benefit of a civil society.

Worse, they have a reputation for suddenly changing their terms and conditions, tracking user behavior around the Internet and abusing privacy rights.

What is curious to note is that at the same time video content is on the rise and earning the most advertising revenue.

Today, advertisers and brands want to be associated with video content. So why even put links to your articles on Facebook in the first place?

What publishers and broadcasters should instead be posting to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are video story cards. What is a story card? 

Look how CNN uses vertical story cards in the Snap Chat Discover section to promote their stories. 

Look at the story cards that the BBC publishes on Instagram. 

Story cards are self-contained, tightly edited story summaries and promos that invite engagement with your original content. 

There is no reason to give tech platforms like Facebook complete access to your article text when there is another option.

In a 15-second story card you can include three pictures (video or still) with eight words per image and still have a three-second slot for advertising in the form of sponsored content. 

Story cards can be tagged with your branding and can automatically be shown on your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and chat app streams with your images, words, branding and advertising intact.  

Think about that for a moment.

If you can deliver visual summaries of your best stories to social platforms using story cards, you will get to keep more of the ad revenue, keep your customer relationship, and deliver your content in mobile-first, mobile native form.  

Story cards are streamable, swipeable, shareable, searchable, snackable, stackable, social, and wearable.

Yes, story cards are a wearable-ready story form. Properly designed, story cards are well-suited for the Apple Watch and it’s clones.

With smartly-designed story cards, you can get viewers back to your platforms where they will get the rest of the story. 

What is missing is a great tool and an independent platform that provides publishers and broadcasters with the ability to create video story cards that can do all of these things and do them well.

That company is something that I would like to build.

That is why I am launching

Contact me if you are interested in forming a startup to deliver this smart story card technology. 

Storeez will allow publishers to maintain editorial independence and financial independence from third-party platforms that prefer not to pay for content and have no idea how expensive independently-produced journalism actually is.

I live in Silicon Allee, not Silicon Valley, and here in Berlin it is possible to make a project like this happen.


03 May, 2015

Create video and multimedia story cards with these apps

Get started making incredible multimedia story cards that can be shared on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

What is a story card?
A video posted by robb montgomery (@robbmonty) on
This is an example of a story card I made from a few photos whilst making dinner last night.

I shared the card on Instagram and I use two IFTTT recipes to automatically post it to Facebook and Twitter in a way that shows the complete story card in my streams.

An IFTT recipe that lets your followers see your story cards.

All great story card starts with a simple idea like this. Sharing a tasting recipe, for example.

A story card is a visually-led, self-contained story that can be easily shared on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Story cards can also be shared on popular chat platforms like WhatsApp and Viber.

They are fun an easy to make using free or low-cost apps on your iPhone.

Story cards can combine photos, video clips and text to convey an idea or experience in an economy of time. 

The tools to make these micro stories are simple, but the compact, short-form nature of the medium will challenge your storytelling skills.

The key to creating a good story card is to learn how to master the art of photo-led storytelling. 

Making and organizing sequences of pictures or video clips that connect together easily to give a viewer a sense of process.

Close-up photos that focus in details often work best, so take lots of these!

Close up shots of making the salad.

These are the apps I used to make the story card example I show at the top of this post.

Do you want to learn how to make great story cards?

Everyone has a story to tell and the people who have the skills to communicate their ideas with story cards will be able to spread their ideas to others in a powerful new medium.

I teach these topics in my Mobile Storytelling workshops and I am busy making a new course in the Smart Film School that will feature 20 video lessons that show the step-by-steps involved.

There will also be many tips for improving your photo and video storytelling so that you too can make great story cards that communicate your ideas!

Signup for my newsletter to get updates and discount codes for the new Story Card course!

29 April, 2015

Mobile news video has a vertical problem and it's not for the reasons you might think.

PEW says that mobile devices drive the majority of traffic to the stories that media companies produce.  It is time to start understanding about some of the ways that the mobile video experience is changing journalism.

This post examines the classic video/film interview.

How is vertical video changing the the interview style of journalists?

The concept of providing "look space" for interview subjects is a framing technique that has been used for decades by broadcasters and documentary interviewers. 

In TV news and documentary films the subject is filmed with their eyes fixed on the reporter asking questions. There are framed either to the right or the left, depending on which side the reporter stands.

The rule is simple: The interview subject never looks in the camera lens when speaking. The subject is filmed are always looking into the eyes of the petitioner who is standing either camera left or camera right trying to keep eye contact with the subject.

This framing has become standardized and is often seen in TV news packages. The only person who ever speaks directly to the camera are the anchor, or the field reporter.

Here is what it looks like when the subject is looking into the camera. You won't see this on broadcast news. Only the reporter is allowed to be shown speaking to the lens.
This reinforces the control they have over the story subject, and establishes their authority as, well, authoritative.

Vertical framing makes it difficult to achieve the same look space. The window is crowded. It is difficult even to simply keep the subject in the frame. Centering them in the frame is the natural instinct. But,  when they are centered it shifts the power. 

This simple shift of eye attention disrupts the visual authority patterns we have become familiar with and the conventions of TV and cinema language we have grown accustomed to.