March 29, 2013

How to Implement the YouTube 'One Page'? Redesign

Released in beta in February, YouTube has formally rolled out its new One Channel redesign for all users. The redesign features a number of changes intended to optimize the YouTube experience across platforms/devices while providing creators with more opportunities to engage ' and grow ' their audience via exposure to more relevant content. Per YouTube's Partners and Creators Blog, there are three core changes that you should be aware of which will help you get the most out of your new One Page channel design:

Design Channel Art to visually identify your brand

YouTube's Channel Art (akin to Facebook's Cover Photo) replaces the former ability to customize a background image. While some creative control is lost with this change, Channel Art allows for visual consistency across desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV displays. Additionally, social links that are added in the 'About'? section will be automatically overlaid as social buttons on top of your selected Channel Art banner.

The new Channel Art feature ensures that your visual identity will automatically scale to any size screen (see pages 3 and 4 for dimensions), and that your social links will display on any device with a browser. Get creative with your Channel Art and show off your brand's personality!

Create a Channel Trailer to encourage visitors to subscribe to your channel

The redesign provides additional utility for brands by allowing the ability to serve distinct Featured Video content based on whether or not the viewer is subscribed to your channel. The subscribed view is personalized for each user based on their unique viewing history while the unsubscribed view provides an opportunity to showcase a 'Channel Trailer.'?

For subscribed users, this content is served as a 'What to Watch Next'? recommendation with the default setting serving videos that a user has not yet viewed. For unsubscribed viewers, the Channel Trailer serves as an introduction to your channel. Google recommends keeping the content short ' think of it as an elevator pitch for your channel ' and having explicit calls-to-action to motivate viewers to subscribe.

Create custom Shelves to control how your videos and playlists are displayed

The 'One Page'? redesign also allows brands the ability to customize how content is organized and displayed on your channel. Based on your content themes and insights into how your audience consumes your content, you can now choose from multiple layouts to best organize and highlight your content into customized shelves.

Shelves can feature collections of grouped videos or highlight favorite playlists ranging across owned and/or curated content. In-shelf navigation allows users to explore more of your content without leaving your channel homepage.

Sample One Page Layout: Laura in the Kitchen

YouTube New Page

 

For samples of the One Page design, visit the following channels:

Channel Art Display Dimensions:
Channel Art Display Dimensions

How it works for Desktop:

  • Total Size: 2120 X 350 px
  • Safe Area (Always visible): 1280 X 350 px Centered on the image
  • Flexible Area (maybe visible): 420 px to the left and 420 px to the right of the safe areaYouTube Desktop

 

How it works on Mobile

On mobile, YouTube will be using the safe area (red box in diagram above) scaled down to the width of the mobile screen (which varies by device).

 

How it works on Tablets

On tablets YouTube will be using a slightly wider slice which is indicated by the pink box above. The aspect ratio of this slice is 1536 px by 350 px.

Tablet YouTube Page

 

 

March 13, 2013

Generations and Demographics: We're all the Same. We're all Different.

Two of the panels I enjoyed the most at SXSWi - The Twenty Something Time Machine and Death by Demographics: Killing off your Ad Budget - shared a similar focus (technology's role in changing the way we define consumer targets). However, the sessions had very different takeaways:

  1. We're all the same.
  2. We're all different.

Full disclosure: those takeaways greatly over-simplify very complex marketplace shifts. But, the takeaways highlight that global access to the web, a sharp increase  in ownership/use of connected devices, greater access to robust behavioral data, the rise of sophisticated digital targeting capabilities and the rise of socially-connected, empowered consumers have simultaneously produced the most assimilated generation in history while presenting the opportunity/need for the most individualized advertising targeting ever.

We're All The Same. (Well, at least affluent Gen Y'ers.)

Speaking about Generation Y (aka Millennials), Jason Dorsey of The Center For Generational Kinetics and Lisa Pearson of Bazaarvoice asserted that technology has created the most globally similar generation of all time. Core to this is the access to shared culture that technology, connectivity and social media have facilitated. While interpretation/application of this shared culture may differ by region (prime example: the politics of the Harlem Shake in Tunisia), generational truths have homogenized across distinct geographies and cultures especially among the affluent.

So, what does that mean and why is it important? As brands continue to expand into new markets, this generational blending will allow for the development of truly global campaigns centralized around generational truths. While local preferences will always persist in the media world, digital consumption behaviors will allow brands to drive efficiency by targeting their audience across shared platforms. Facebook is already providing this platform via their Global Brand Pages. Look for other media properties to incorporate localization (translation, commerce, etc.) into their back-end systems to seamlessly support generational campaigns across borders.

We're All Different. (Well, at least Suri Cruise and Honey Boo Boo.)

While in aggregate Gen Y may be the most similar generation of all time, technology is driving the desire for, and capability to, personalize advertising in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago. Historical media buying was built around the idea that people who fit into the same audience categories ' age, gender, ethnicity ' were most likely to consume the same content and be interested in the same products / messaging. But with the rise of digital and the wealth of information now available to advertisers across devices, we can much more efficiently target campaigns and effectively target individual consumers.

A great example of this that we've witnessed first-hand at AMP is the tremendous success in using approaches like look-alike modeling. By building a profile of our target based off of those individuals who complete a desired action (most often purchase), we're able to  examine their broader online behaviors - how they surf the web, where they go, what they engage with, when they access - and target others who behave the same. Two individuals who share the same age, gender and ethnicity (Suri and Honey Boo Boo were used as an example in the panel) may share very little else in common. So, rather than buying against the demo, buy against the behavior

So, we're the Same? Or, we're Different? I'm Confused. 

One of the key sound bites from the Death by Demographics panel was "culture over clusters," meaning focus your targeting over shared culture and behaviors as opposed to audience segments. That marries well with the belief that generations are becoming more homogeneous. Brands who have a clear definition of their audience should be able to create centralized creative messages that highlight core brand benefits and reasons to believe that span across traditional demographic labels. Through culture/behavior-first media targeting, those messages can better reach the right potential customers regardless of their audience category.

In short, target the culture. And, when creating the message / examining the channels, start by exploring generational truths.

 

March 8, 2013

Wheels up to Austin'?¦ as Soon as the Plane is De-iced

I'll be honest. Any illusions of my first trip to SXSW did not start off with battling through a blizzard and the associated travel delays. But if there was one constant piece of advice / forewarning I did unilaterally receive from colleagues in the industry, it was that my experience at SXSW would absolutely not go as expected.

I was told that the unplanned meet-ups, the casual conversations over beers and the 'damn, the session I wanted to go to is full'?¦ I guess I'll go here instead'? moments would prove to be the most valuable. So consider that a caveat as I share a quick overview of what I'm most looking forward to over these next few days. And I'll caveat now that my recap blog posts throughout the course of SXSWi will inevitably cover much different material and venture into much different themes.

Social and Mobile ' They're No Longer Buzz Words, They're Business Plans

I'll admit it. I've been suffering a little bit of 'hashtag fatigue'? lately (a term coined by AMP's own Colin Booth). While I'm as big of a social media nerd as the next SXSW attendee, I'm ready to get past the idea that social is the 'new, shiny toy'? to add to the marketing mix. Looking over the sessions included in this year's agenda, I am really excited about engaging in conversations about the business impact of social and mobile.

Panels like Mobile Saturday: Loyalty in the Pocket and Social Circles vs. Social Media promise to discuss the role of mobile and social behavior across online and offline consumer experiences, and I'm hoping throughout the weekend that those conversations snowball into discussions around the business implications and ROI across these two exploding channels. We all know how important mobile and social are based on the latest stats about time spent and growing penetration. Over these next few days, I'm hoping we can all talk about successful strategies and new ideas to further integrate brands across those channels to connect with consumers in meaningful ways.

Data is a Four Letter Word'?¦ the Good Kind

I recently attended an event where the CMO of E*Trade, Nick Utton, stated his belief that marketing is now 75% science and 25% art. His point being that access to more data and an increased focus on testing throughout all stages of campaign development have resulted in more efficient and effective marketing. With that theme in mind, one of the sessions I'm most looking forward to is Saturday's 'Is Intuitive Marketing Dead?'? (analyzing data and predictive modeling) with Nate Silver.

While there is still a lot we don't know when we put a campaign in market, we certainly know a lot more today than we did 10 years ago about our target audiences' preferences and media behavior. Ever-evolving research techniques (including sophisticated A/B testing matrices) combined with growing databases of historical performance data are resulting in powerful modeling tools that make us much smarter on day one of concepting. I'm excited to hear what Nate predicts for marketing's future and to hear this theme explored across other sessions and sidebar conversations over the course of SXSWi.

Fastening My Seatbelt for a 24/7 Marketing Blitz

The other thing I'm excited about is the palpable 'Disneyland for Marketers'? buzz. SXSW is where people/brands go to launch new products, share new thinking, play with the latest app/tools/approaches. And it's already begun'?¦ in-air. A few hours into my flight, JetBlue's marketing team held an in-flight promotion asking us over the PA, 'How many people does Austin's airport estimate will pass through Austin on their way to SXSW?'? One-by-one they collected answers from each flyer with the three closest guesses each receiving a pair of ticket vouchers to anywhere JetBlue flies.

And while I was sitting there thinking, 'this is a smart promotion to run with a plane full of marketers, but you've got  glaring problem ' no WIFI for me to live tweet/blog/post about it,'? they concluded their contest by announcing 'and by next year's SXSW, we'll have the nation's fastest, free wifi'?¦ so we'll play this game over Twitter.'? Be on the lookout for wifi roll-out in June with up to ten planes equipped by the end of the year.  Well done JetBlue ' there's your plug.

And feel free to play along ' share your best guess in the comments section below and I'll reveal the answer on my flight home'?¦ or maybe just before takeoff.

October 19, 2012

It's All About Status

A generation ago you were popular if you had 20 friends. You had 'influence'? if you started fashion trends or were able to get a last minute reservation at the latest "it" restaurant. And while one could argue that those definitions still hold true, today's Millennials have completely redefined the framework of social identity.

As documented in AMP Agency's recent Psychology of Social study, the age-old human desires of connection, attachment and identity establishment have not changed since the stone age - but the process and manner in which they are achieved has shifted significantly with the rise of social media. We're now enabled to fulfill these basic human needs via our technological capacity to connect through social channels and communities. And it's become a part of everyday identity. Tomorrow's consumer will define him/herself by the brands they like on Facebook, the songs they stream via Spotify, the places they check-in on FourSquare, the people they follow on Twitter, the photos they upload to Instagram and the online identity that they establish early on in life.

Someone's social footprint is already a factor in how online daters find their mates, how employers screen potential employees, how universities evaluate applicants and how record companies scan for the next Justin Bieber.

So what does it mean for brands?

Social is no longer a vertical channel. It must be considered, and likely implemented, across everything a brand does. It is no longer enough to simply create a positive brand experience (a challenge in its own right). It's now about creating positive, shareable brand experiences for consumers while simultaneously helping to facilitate the social sharing of those experiences.

As brand identity continues to become an integral part of consumers' individual identities, brands should look for ways to facilitate evangelism and provide on- and off-line status perks to your customers. American Express has done a fantastic job via their Amex Sync programming by offering an incentive to members to link their credit cards with their Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare profiles in return for offers, content and experiences. Not only does it provide their members with immediate savings and the status bump associated with exclusive access but it provides an entry point for the brand to access the valuable real estate of status updates and implied (or in this case, actual) endorsement.

Another brand that's done a great job extending social across all consumer touch points and engagements is Nike with their Nike+ Ecosystem. The Nike+ Running app allows users to sync and share their fitness goals and achievements with their social communities, helping to not only track their performance, but also helping to keep them motivated. Nike+ Fuelband's recent integration into Path takes things a step further by allowing Path users to map their progress against their daily activity goals. If you have trouble keeping yourself accountable, now you can rely on the motivation of shared competition (your mom ran more miles than you today?!?) or the pressure of public workout tracking (my girlfriend will know if I skip that workout today).

There is tremendous opportunity to further integrate your brand into shared social experiences. Look for opportunities to provide consumers with "status building" status updates and other public badges that can help them build social cache. Allow your brand to help consumers build their individual brand identities.

October 19, 2012

It's All About Status

A generation ago you were popular if you had 20 friends. You had 'influence'? if you started fashion trends or were able to get a last minute reservation at the latest "it" restaurant. And while one could argue that those definitions still hold true, today's Millennials have completely redefined the framework of social identity.

As documented in AMP Agency's recent Psychology of Social study, the age-old human desires of connection, attachment and identity establishment have not changed since the stone age - but the process and manner in which they are achieved has shifted significantly with the rise of social media. We're now enabled to fulfill these basic human needs via our technological capacity to connect through social channels and communities. And it's become a part of everyday identity. Tomorrow's consumer will define him/herself by the brands they like on Facebook, the songs they stream via Spotify, the places they check-in on FourSquare, the people they follow on Twitter, the photos they upload to Instagram and the online identity that they establish early on in life.

Someone's social footprint is already a factor in how online daters find their mates, how employers screen potential employees, how universities evaluate applicants and how record companies scan for the next Justin Bieber.

So what does it mean for brands?

Social is no longer a vertical channel. It must be considered, and likely implemented, across everything a brand does. It is no longer enough to simply create a positive brand experience (a challenge in its own right). It's now about creating positive, shareable brand experiences for consumers while simultaneously helping to facilitate the social sharing of those experiences.

As brand identity continues to become an integral part of consumers' individual identities, brands should look for ways to facilitate evangelism and provide on- and off-line status perks to your customers. American Express has done a fantastic job via their Amex Sync programming by offering an incentive to members to link their credit cards with their Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare profiles in return for offers, content and experiences. Not only does it provide their members with immediate savings and the status bump associated with exclusive access but it provides an entry point for the brand to access the valuable real estate of status updates and implied (or in this case, actual) endorsement.

Another brand that's done a great job extending social across all consumer touch points and engagements is Nike with their Nike+ Ecosystem. The Nike+ Running app allows users to sync and share their fitness goals and achievements with their social communities, helping to not only track their performance, but also helping to keep them motivated. Nike+ Fuelband's recent integration into Path takes things a step further by allowing Path users to map their progress against their daily activity goals. If you have trouble keeping yourself accountable, now you can rely on the motivation of shared competition (your mom ran more miles than you today?!?) or the pressure of public workout tracking (my girlfriend will know if I skip that workout today).

There is tremendous opportunity to further integrate your brand into shared social experiences. Look for opportunities to provide consumers with "status building" status updates and other public badges that can help them build social cache. Allow your brand to help consumers build their individual brand identities.

October 16, 2012

The College Bubble Has Burst

The modern college campus is evolving. Quickly. Smartphones, tablets, apps, wireless and cloud connectivity are continuing to play larger roles in classrooms and dorms, and in some cases, are powering entirely virtual campuses. As a result, students are receiving, interpreting, sharing and creating information via mediums and methodologies that simply did not exist ten years ago.

Technology is shifting the definition of how we learn, and in doing so, opening up the door to many new and exciting opportunities within the world of education. On a macro level, two great examples of the shift in education are Kahn Academy and edX.

Khan Academy

What started in 2004 as a Doodle based online tutoring session in mathematics, Khan Academy blossomed into a YouTube hosted, comprehensive collection of online video tutorials across a range of academic subjects.

'I passionately believe that the Khan Academy is a tool that can empower at least an approximate model of what the future of education should look like'a way of combining the art of teaching with the science of presenting information and analyzing data, of delivering the clearest, most comprehensive, and most relevant curriculum at the lowest possible cost." ' Salman Khan

edX

With a goal of educating 1,000,000,000 people worldwide, MIT, Harvard and UC Berkley have all committed resources to offer up their Ivy-league caliber curriculum for free online. Described as "the single biggest change in education since the printing press,'? by Anant Agarwal, President of edX, the program is redefining the college classroom and potentially shepherding in the next phase of higher education.

Ok, it may work in education, but what about for brands?

What models like Khan Academy and edX are underscoring is that technology, and the ever-increasing access that it is providing to consumers, is the ultimate enabler. Advances in streaming video, the ubiquity of social media and the ease of access to video on demand have accelerated the speed at which traditional 'offline'? experiences are becoming available as virtual experiences. Examine how advances in technology can create or duplicate experiences that were formally an in-person only engagement point for your brand.

Who is doing it well?

State Farm's sponsorship of Coachella in partnership with YouTube this past April was a shining example of leveraging technology to offer consumers an online experience that was formerly available only " in-person." Main stages were broadcast live via streaming concert footage and Statefarm integrated a real-time Instagram stream into their Facebook page to provide a glimpse of what it all looked like from an insider's perspective.

 

 

Another great example is the Obama campaign's recent use of Google+ to host an online hangout with American voters. The virtual town hall connected the Obama brand directly with his audience and in doing so, generated a lot of publicity coverage - much more than a traditional town hall forum would have gathered.

September 26, 2012

I'm Excited about Myspace

I'm excited about Myspace. Yes, you read that correctly. I'll be the first to acknowledge that I never expected to start a blog post with those four words, but after watching the preview video (embedded below), I have to admit that I'm disappointed I deleted my account back in 2009.

JT has successfully checked "bringing sexy back" off of his lifetime to-do list. Can he do the same for MySpace? He's definitely not alone in the venture. The redesign is being led by the team at Specific Media and agency partner JosephMark. Via the new.myspace.com site, "We're hard at work building the new Myspace, entirely from scratch. But we're staying true to our roots in one important way'empowering people to express themselves however they want. So whether you're a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we'd love for you to be a part of our brand new community."

The teaser video begins with a simple "this is Myspace" introduction, and the video is wonderfully scored with the JJAMZ song "Heartbeat" which begins with the self-deprecating line "Who am I to say I want you back?" Based on functionality shown in the video, the team at Myspace is clearly trying to compliment existing social networking behemoths Facebook and Twitter rather than replace them. This is illustrated by the ability for users to sign in via their existing profiles on either network. And the one area where Myspace had been able to stay relevant - music - still appears to be core to the experience.

With a dedicated main navigation tab for "Mixes" and the ability to play/discover music via streaming videos and radio, Myspace will likely remain a place where musicians can connect directly with fans. An interesting build to that relationship appears to be an artist's ability to identify and connect with their top fans based on their influence in sharing content. Which could be a big motivator for fans to join the network and follow their favorite artists.

One personal highlight - it appears the "top 8" functionality will still exist allowing us all to once again publicly identify our best BFFs.

Overall, the design aesthetic is beautiful. The designers have applied a Pinterest-like treatment to photos and have seemingly designed with content exploration/discovery at the forefront of the UX. I've requested an invite and am excited to explore. Are you excited for the new Myspace? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

http://vimeo.com/50071857

September 20, 2012

Battling for Partial Attention

This post first appeared on MITX's blog as part of the September blog series, in which they asked writers to this question: "what is it going to take for marketers to catch up to consumers?" This post is by Matt Jacobs, Director, Channel Planning, AMP Agency. Matt will be speaking at FutureM on a session entitled, 'How Will the Class of 2016 Change the World of Marketing?'? that will explore how advertisers and marketers can navigate the ever changing marketing terrain of Digital Natives. The session will explore the mindsets and dorms rooms of the Class of 2016 to uncover how these students (and their evolving media consumption habits) will force marketers to adapt.

At this point, if you're in the marketing industry, someone has likely mentioned the stat from the recent "A Biometric Day in the Life" research study conducted by Time Inc. and Innerscope Research that states that Digital Natives are jumping between media platforms 27 times per hour. At first read, it's a rather startling observation, but after a few minutes of consideration, minutes that included me opening and closing three web tabs, receiving a text message, scanning my

Twitter feed and walking by the TV in the lobby of AMP's offices, I quickly reminded myself - continuous partial attention* is the new norm.

AMP blog resized 600
So as marketers, what can we do to catch up to consumers' new way of consuming (or at least partially consuming) media messages? In short, we have to work harder.

At AMP, we believe that the function of marketing has evolved. The reality of ubiquitous device presence, 24/7 connectivity and an ever present social layer of constant peer-to-peer sharing / commenting / referring, has revolutionized the way consumers engage with brands. Brands, and subsequently agencies, need to adapt to keep up. Here are a few key considerations/thoughts on how:

  1. The worlds of marketing, technology, media, and application development have merged. Agencies that integrate paid, owned, and earned media offerings will benefit because they will be able to reach customers in the most effective and efficient manner.
  2. Building on the convergence of paid, owned and earned, consumers don't consciously differentiate between these channels when receiving brand messages. To survive, agencies must adopt a model that reflects this convergence. That starts by truly integrating departments and processes to develop channel neutral strategies that prioritize reaching the consumer at the right time in the right place. It's not enough to simply offer 'integrated services'? to your clients ' they must truly work harmoniously together.
  3. It's no longer just about what a brand has to say, or where it says it, but how a brand behaves (and adapts) as it is saying it. Real-time conversation monitoring, channel/budget optimizations and ongoing strategy sessions are needed to keep up with ever-changing conversations and innovations in the marketplace.
  4. Content is still king - and perhaps has even more of a throne to sit upon these days - but a large consideration must be paid to the fact that consumers are now publishing more content each day than publishers. Agencies must work with their clients to provide tools, guidance and gentle prodding to cialis order help consumers become advocates for our brands.
  5. AMP Agency's recent Psychology of Social study showed that age-old human desires ' connection, attachment and identity establishment ' are now enhanced by the technological capacity to connect via new channels/technologies. When building marketing strategies, remember that basic consumer needs haven't really shifted; however, the mediums and the resultant opportunities to deliver on those needs have greatly widened. Ensure you listen to your consumers wants and needs or risk being left behind.

Footnotes / Sources:

*A term coined by Linda Stone over a decade ago

June 21, 2012

The Internet's Role in the Bus Monitor Story

Based on the nature of today's 0-60 news cycle, I'm assuming that most people reading this post have already seen the headline ' Bus Monitor Bullied by Middle Schoolers ' and the correlating YouTube video which features 10+ minutes of truly ugly, vile behavior as a group of young teenagers verbally taunt and bully 68 year-old bus monitor Karen Klein. If you haven't already seen it, you can find the video here, but be forewarned'?¦ it's incredibly hard to watch.

The controversy/buzz surrounding the video has been meteoric. But so has the outpouring of support. And in conjunction, Karen is quickly becoming a household name ' appearing on the Today show this morning and being featured as a lead story across many news outlets including the headline story on CNN.com at the time of this posting. What promises to follow is another (and most definitely a necessary) look at the growing trend of bullying and a slew of perspectives and questions around how to counter the rise of this type of behavior among teens.

But what may or may not occur is a broader look at what role the internet played in this story. The internet you ask? Yes. Although the incident occurred on the most non-digital place in the world, a school bus, I believe it was heavily influenced by internet culture and the post-event hysteria has been driven primarily via the web. Here's how:

  1. The trajectory of the story ' from online video upload to national news ' occurred because of the shift in how we access news. Rarely do we see major headlines that are the driven by long-term investigative reporting. Instead, we seek immediate, reactive coverage of headlines that are made prominent based solely on the viral nature of the story being passed along. Karen Klein was made a celebrity (for lack of a better term) by the internet. And major news outlets in turn are now telling her story.
  2. As cruel as the internet can be, it is also uniquely inspiring. Having been exposed to the YouTube video via Reddit, a gentlemen in Canada decided to setup a group funding site to try to raise $5,000 to send Karen on vacation. He was bothered by the video and wanted to do something nice for her. A pretty simple proposition, but one that likely could not have occurred without web-based donation platforms and simple e-commerce functionality. 24 hours later, more than $300,000 has been pledged to Karen by over 14,000 people. Her vacation is likely to take the form of retirement.

The Internet is a wonderfully complex thing. As a digital marketer, it's my life blood. And personally, it's how I consume most content, maintain many relationships and find daily entertainment. Yesterday, I had two drastically contradictory moments with the internet ' one extremely depressing interaction when I watched all 10 minutes of the school bus video, and one ' which I'll hold on to for much longer ' where my faith in humanity was restored when I stumbled upon the inidiegogo fundraising page created for Karen.

Have you had any moments with the Internet lately? Was it positive or negative? Leave a comment below and share.

June 21, 2012

The Internet's Role in the Bus Monitor Story

Based on the nature of today's 0-60 news cycle, I'm assuming that most people reading this post have already seen the headline ' Bus Monitor Bullied by Middle Schoolers ' and the correlating YouTube video which features 10+ minutes of truly ugly, vile behavior as a group of young teenagers verbally taunt and bully 68 year-old bus monitor Karen Klein. If you haven't already seen it, you can find the video here, but be forewarned'?¦ it's incredibly hard to watch.

The controversy/buzz surrounding the video has been meteoric. But so has the outpouring of support. And in conjunction, Karen is quickly becoming a household name ' appearing on the Today show this morning and being featured as a lead story across many news outlets including the headline story on CNN.com at the time of this posting. What promises to follow is another (and most definitely a necessary) look at the growing trend of bullying and a slew of perspectives and questions around how to counter the rise of this type of behavior among teens.

But what may or may not occur is a broader look at what role the internet played in this story. The internet you ask? Yes. Although the incident occurred on the most non-digital place in the world, a school bus, I believe it was heavily influenced by internet culture and the post-event hysteria has been driven primarily via the web. Here's how:

  1. The trajectory of the story ' from online video upload to national news ' occurred because of the shift in how we access news. Rarely do we see major headlines that are the driven by long-term investigative reporting. Instead, we seek immediate, reactive coverage of headlines that are made prominent based solely on the viral nature of the story being passed along. Karen Klein was made a celebrity (for lack of a better term) by the internet. And major news outlets in turn are now telling her story.
  2. As cruel as the internet can be, it is also uniquely inspiring. Having been exposed to the YouTube video via Reddit, a gentlemen in Canada decided to setup a group funding site to try to raise $5,000 to send Karen on vacation. He was bothered by the video and wanted to do something nice for her. A pretty simple proposition, but one that likely could not have occurred without web-based donation platforms and simple e-commerce functionality. 24 hours later, more than $300,000 has been pledged to Karen by over 14,000 people. Her vacation is likely to take the form of retirement.

The Internet is a wonderfully complex thing. As a digital marketer, it's my life blood. And personally, it's how I consume most content, maintain many relationships and find daily entertainment. Yesterday, I had two drastically contradictory moments with the internet ' one extremely depressing interaction when I watched all 10 minutes of the school bus video, and one ' which I'll hold on to for much longer ' where my faith in humanity was restored when I stumbled upon the inidiegogo fundraising page created for Karen.

Have you had any moments with the Internet lately? Was it positive or negative? Leave a comment below and share.

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