Right now, keywords are the meat and potatoes of finding videos online. Search engines right now only keep track of written words online — they cannot see patterns (like moving people, words, light and shadow, etc) in videos, like people can, and they’re mostly not searching for patterns in sounds or pictures, either. Because search engines are “stupider” than most people right now in that way, the only information that a search engine will find from a video is text you add when you upload it — the title, description, and keywords. If a video doesn’t have keywords, it’s less likely that people will find it using a search engine.
We use a LOT of keywords. The key elements of the script — ads or products we talk about, shows we refer to, events that happen, names of video styles like “parody” or “science fiction,” etc — get written in to the keywords. So do some keywords for shows we think our show is like — Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Muppet Show — because we hope people looking for those shows might find our show and like it as well. In general, though, search engines seem to rank titles more highly than keywords.
Some of our videos get more search engine traffic because of keywords than others. Take a look at the view statistics from a number of our videos. Which videos seem to be getting the most search engine traffic? Why do you think they are ranked so highly? (Hint: take a look at how many hits a search turns up on different engines.)
Do you think it is OK for a video to put up keywords about things which are not actually in the video? What keywords do you think The Media Show should include that it is not currently using? When you’ve thought of a few, do a search for those words on YouTube and other search engines. Try them in combination with a few words we are already using. Then respond: how effective do you think your search words would be in helping people find our videos?
With a few other videos, we tried to be more “findable” instead of more “forwardable.” The Caramelldansen, Get Down, and Weena’s First Fursuit videos were some of these. Caramelldansen and Get Down/Geddan are both Internet dance “memes” — simple ideas that different people record their own take on, often using other pop culture characters, then upload their videos. “My First Fursuit Walk” is a sort of a genre of video among “furries,” or people who are fans of animal cartoons and team mascot-like “fursuit” costumes. Continue reading →
In the fall of 2009, Abby, Gus, and social networking intern Lindsay sat down to discuss outreach strategies. One of the things we made clear is that we didn’t want people to have to come to our website We live in a scarce attention economy; everyone only has so much free attention apart from their jobs, schoolwork, families, favorite media, and other activities. So we didn’t want to have to drag people away from the sites where they were used to hanging out; because we don’t produce for a major network or have an advertising budget, that was a fight we were bound to lose.
The theme we came up with was “Watch where you are.” Our focus would be on uploading episodes and other content to a range of sites. Continue reading →
Some Media Show episodes, like the Online Predators, Jingles All The Way, and Secondary Sexual Characteristics episodes, are pretty edgy. Edgy videos might get sent around among people who like that kind of thing, but the really successful viral videos are the ones which can be accepted by a general audience — the ones you would send to your Aunt Mabel as well as to the friend you were partying with last night.
In the second season of The Media Show, we planned a series of super-short, funny videos which we hoped people would pass around. We chose Internet topics which we thought people could relate to and maybe hadn’t seen any other videos about. This resulted in the Passive Aggressive Smileys, Auto-Loading Sounds, Netiquette, Warcraft E-Card, and (revised) Snopes Before You Send videos.
Compare the view counts for these short “public service announcement” videos with the view counts for other videos. Do you think they were more successful than the others in “going viral”? What aspects of each video do you think contributed to or detracted from viewers’ willingness to send them along?