Tag Archives: YouTube

Is Your Workspace Devoid of Music?

I have always loved music. Most people do. In my teens, I would listen to music all the time. I’m not really sure when I stopped listening to it all that much.

It’s just a common way we all experience things… or, in some cases, “get over” said experiences. It can be used sort of like a drug. Choose your poison: stimulant or depressant. :) Ok, so that’s being a little dramatic.

But seriously, isn’t our brain capable of be trained (or hardwired if you will) by all input from our environment? So what kind of music is constantly influencing you? Is it helping you? Or is it slowing you down?

Creating Online Playlists

This week I was looking for some good music to help me work and I started working on some playlists @ playlist.com.

Here are two of them that are definitely a work in progress, but I decided to go ahead and share anyway…
Music that helps me stay focused and write without causing me to want to sing along and then forget what I was writing: Amber’s Writing Music

The type of music I like to listen to when I’m doing redundant or tedious things like coding or editing graphics: Music to Motivate a Little

I really don’t know if it is completely legal or not actually. I am assuming so, but some (really I’ve only happened across a couple of them) of the quality of the music files seem to be a little less than perfect quality… makes the service seem a little more shady.

Downloading Music for Free?

Speaking of shady… :) I accidentally stumbled upon a program called Free Youtube to MP3 Converter

And yes, I tried it out on some random video and it quickly and easily ripped me a copy of the audio as an .mp3 file. Nice.

When I first came across this I wondered to myself what could possibly be the legal use for such a tool that (according to Cnet’s Download.com) has been downloaded more than 16 million times as of today’s date.

We live in the virtually real world right? So we all know that a high percentage (I would be afraid to even guess that percentage is out loud) of the 1,377,154 downloaders who had just downloaded the most recent version of the software this last week certain to be those who are using it just to rip off lots of music that, in truth, probably costs too much anyway. In the same breath I must declare that I agree that it’s terrible to steal and yada yada yada…

Regardless of that, my purpose for writing this post is not to talk about FBI warnings or data (including music file) security. I had to write about this juicy little program because it does also have promise to be used for the greater good.

So what could the legal uses of this software be?

You could use it to make your own little podcasts of educational videos posted to teach you how to do this or that. It could be a great way to expose up and coming artists by making it even easier to add their music into your playlist. It makes church music or any private sector choir music videos easily transferred to MP3.

Perhaps beginner artists could pay one company to shoot a video for them and not have to pay another recording studio to master an album for them… or maybe that’s a gray area. I don’t really know how the recording or producing business works so make sure you know what you’re doing.

I’m still working on the extra info about landing pages. It will have to wait until next week though. I was too excited to write about this topic this week. :)

Where is Your TV Going?

Television has changed so dramatically over the past century. Right now we are on the very cusp of a whole new era. The end of television, TV, the silver screen, the telly as we know it!

We shouldn’t be surprised though, televisions have been becoming more and more like personal computers for the last 15 to 20 years.

It started when we began adding harddrives directly to our TV entertainment systems to record shows we used to watch live via satellite or cable.

Remember TiVo? That was the first digital television recorder I heard about. (This is probably because it literally became it’s own verb.) People would “tivo” everything from cartoons to news.

Today, we have on-demand TV and DVR at our house.

Think about that term “on-demand”. On-demand television was developed to make sure that there is always something on your TV that you want to watch. They are adding new movies, TV shows, and how-to videos to the mix all the time.

We (finally) moved past the analog television infrastructure. Apparently it was too expensive to keep up maintenance, yet to valuable still to just “turn off”. It took years because while the vast majority of people have digital televisions, there was a select few (probably millions) who still had the same TV set they’d purchased 30 years ago. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore huh? :)

Today we are buying blue-ray players and video gaming systems that download apps and connect to the internet just like our computers to log in to Facebook or watch the latest YouTube video that everyone has been talking about.

Where is television headed?

The personal computer and television are becoming one in the same. For many people, they already are.

The internet gives advertisers a huge advantage to customize and target you for certain types of ads. What if they could instantly merge TV and the internet? They would probably know more about you than your some of your best friends right? They’d know what shows you like… (even those you’d never admit to liking), your occupation, where you went/go to college… and high school, your favorite ice cream flavor. They’d know everything they need to know about you, right down to the last Saturday night you were out and drank one too many, because the next Sunday morning you were googling “home remedies for hangovers”. Think about it.

As a web developer, I’ll share a little inside information (for those who are new to this whole idea) on how tracking your media usage is possible. Many many websites now use small tracking “programs” called cookies that get downloaded into your browser cache upon visiting certain website. These cookies track the pages and searches you open while on their site. Search engines like Google can then use those cookies to customize the advertisements you see in the sidebar of their website or affiliates’ websites. They make it easier for you to fill out forms, like auto-saving your name, email address, usernames, etc. so you don’t have to type it in every time.

At first, this probably seems kind of scary right? I am not even trying to start an Apocalypse or anything, However, everyone should at least know (even if it’s the most basic version) what is happening in our world.

So, how do they get away this sort of invasion of privacy? The answer for the consumer is so that you will not be bombarded with irrelevant ads and information that you are not interested in seeing.

Why do they care about such a holistic collection of information about who each one of us is? The answer for the marketing companies is so they can build tremendously effective target market strategies and basically put you in a category to advertise products that you are very likely to buy because thousands of other people in your same “category” bought it and liked it. It’s called data mining and most of the time it’s done for target marketing. He who collects the most information about you and uses it to really understand your needs and wants wins your business.

Example:

Sam has been visiting lots of sites and blogs about football season schedules and his favorite NFL team stats. The ticket sellers (we’ll call Company X) are going to pay the companies lots of money to make sure that Sam and every other person like Sam who is visiting these sites know that Company X has the “best” prices for their next game, the best prices for Super Bowl XLV, and the best seats available to the public…etc.

They do get those seats sold, and probably not at the best price or best seats. You know?

What will this technology look like in the next ten to twenty years?

I predict that in the next ten to twenty years, television will continually consume our lives as it becomes interconnected with personal computing. There will be a continuous battle with obesity and the diseases that come with it as well. I fear that it will be a bigger part of how many people spend their lives, instead of having families and friends they’ll have their upgraded cable systems. We see the TV/PC integration already with the popularity of watching sitcoms online like at Hulu.com and new web shows sprouting up on YouTube. The TV dinners and the “grab and go” type snacks are becoming a staple food for too many households. We will most likely see even bigger frozen foods and instant meals sections in our grocery stores. Have you noticed lately how our grocery stores are positively full of junk food? I would bet that at more than half of all of the products in the more common grocery stores go to are not considered healthy for you.

So that explains the internet but why must all television go digital?

As these smart target marketing systems evolve they will become even more powerful with even more accurate and instant of measurements for digital stereotyping. You can’t say that about the Nielsen rating system which is archaic and seems to be forever stuck in 1980 something when all the cool people got too busy to keep an accurate diary of what tv shows that they watched. LOL!

No, seriously even we have done one of these a few years ago, but after the first day it all became a lot of creative writing. On the last day it became a quick glance at what we usually did watch which was saved with the date and time of the show right there on DVR to write down for the people who take the info. I’m sure I am not the only one who has done this. I gave them the information they wanted, but it was exact and it wasn’t instant, where website analytics and social media networks are.

Real Life Example:

The Nielsen ratings still say that Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien’s popularity are still in the same ballpark with the 18-49 crowd. However, I can get on twitter right now and see that Jay’s 120,000 followers on twitter don’t even remotely compare to Conan’s 2,240,000 followers on twitter! I’d say Conan definitely has the farthest reach. :)

Having all of your web surfing, Facebook “Likes”, and channel surfing info all in one place will enable the system to provide you with program suggestions, product suggestions, and on demand entertainment that will not only follow the same methodology, but it will become more customized and more exact every time you get online.

Example:

Imagine, minding your own business, looking up the latest dirt on Hollywood’s finest and their current disasters and suddenly the system tells you in an ever so pleasing voice:

“I noticed you have really been into (Insert: Topic/Person/Activity Here) lately, so you’ll love this movie rental: (Insert: Movie Title Here). It is available right now for only $5.95!

You buy the movie. You love it and get a prompt at the end: “Got a minute to answer a 3 question survey to let  (Insert: Us/Director’s Name/ Actor’s name/ Actress’s Name/Etc. Here) know how much you loved it!”

How did the system really know that you would love the movie? The answer is because you’d spent 40% of your online time pouring over the same content that is discussed, joked about, or criticized in the movie.

Doesn’t the constant availability of custom entertainment that you have a voice (even if it is ever so small) in what you want to see and which entertainment or information you are into sound like a great idea?!

So, will this have a seriously negative effect on us and future generations? As much as I want to believe that mankind will see and change these troubling trends which are sentencing many to a life of real solitude, I know that mankind is gluttonous and usually chooses the road to instant gratification. As television and personal computing technologies merge, it will become cheap enough for all to “enjoy” for as long as they want. The higher price we might pay is that of our health and our motivation to live a fulfilled life. I mean, why would you want to live healthy, make friends, or even fall in love when we can live vicariously through someone else on a silver screen?

Living Examples Turned into Lessons for Viral Videos

According to wikipedia, “a viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites and email.” We already saw lesson one for viral videos first thing. Now on to lesson two…

Lesson 1 to Create a Viral Video: Be Utterly Ridiculous

This is the first video I ever watched that I would consider it to be a “viral video” of it’s time. About six or seven years ago (when I slaved away for Corporate America), my friend at work was like “Amber! You have to see this!” I watched and then I cracked up so hard! This video is so old that when it became viral, people actually had to email the entire video to each other (or at least, that’s how we received it). It’s true!!! It was not originally on Youtube! (Weird huh?) ;)

The Numa Numa Guy (10,971,000 views)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmtzQCSh6xk&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

You know what I thought to myself when I saw this? Who in the world would share this with everyone!? I realized later that is was incredibley popular because it is more than a video about a chubby boy looking like a total lunatic. The video is about letting loose. We all just want to let go sometimes… Don’t we?

Lesson 2 to Create a Viral Video: Be Completely Adorable (and Funny)

Lesson 3 to Create a Viral Video: Keep it Short

This video gives you two lessons. First: people love adorable pets, animals, and of course kids. Second: this video is only 56 seconds long. Who doesn’t have a minute to see something this cute?

Charlie Bit Me: 241,903,149 views (Yes 241 million)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Lesson 4 to Create a Viral Video: Be Crazy Passionate

The next video is the one from Youtube’s “itschriscrocker”. The video has profanity so out of respect for the business class, I am not going to link to it. If you have never seen this one, and would like to, then go to Youtube and look up Chris Crocker’s username. However, I strongly recommend sending children out of the room, or use headphones… quiet headphones. (You know, not the kind that is so poorly made that you can hear everything coming out of them without even putting them on.)

Anyways…. :) This video is older, but after getting more than 35 and a half million views, it is still very notable. Of course I do not recommend getting hysterical about nothing or ranting like a crazy man, but this guy was so passionate about standing up for “poor little Briteny” that he really did let the whole world know it.

Leave Brittany ALONE (35,585,000 views)

Lesson 5 to Create a Viral Video: Be Justin Bieber, or (Just Really Talented)

Kids are really a HUGE audience of YouTube. My eight year old daughter comes home all the time with stories about YouTube videos like the “Annoying Orange” and other utterly ridiculous videos geared to entertain our children. While this is a strong tool for business, it is stronger when you can throw in a little entertainment/talent/ or a good laugh.

Justin Bieber – (Baby 366,475,939 views)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Now, I’ve ever had a video with millions of hits yet, but someday I will work on that. In the meantime, we should keep our ears open and our idea lists close!

Maybe you will be the next YouTube star! :D

What Popular Niche Channels on YouTube Have in Common

Here is a list of 6 lessons I compiled while studying a couple of successful YouTube channels. Creating YouTube channels with a strong following and creating viral videos that you want everyone in the whole world to see at least once are two very different things. (We will get back to the infamous-type viral videos that almost everyone has seen at least once next Monday.)

1. They Have an Obvious Target Market

If you are going to have a good channel that people will love to come back to, you must first decide which people you want to have love your channel and encourage them to come back. Of course we all want to have something for everyone, but in reality we need to recognize that no one is all things to all people and you have to narrow it down. What could you talk about every day?

2. They Can Be Entertaining and Informative

The iJustine Channel

Target Market: Geeks (or Technology interested people), Social Media Fans (She’s always talking about something on YouTube, Twitter, & Facebook), Some Girls (She’s very girlie.), and Some Guys (Because she is so pretty!) She averages almost a million views per video nowadays. She has a niche channel for techie, girlie, and random yet very relate-able other topics.

3. They Get Viewers to Subscribe

She is very good about remembering to ask visitors to subscribe to her channel after every video.

4. They Get Visitors to Give Comments and Video Replies

She also encourages feedback. Feedback is vital to your channel’s survival.

Video Example: iPAD!!!! I TOUCHED IT!!!! Apple iPad review! (2,291,747 views) [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah02m_2xBCg&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

The Fred Videos

Target Market: Kids Fred’s niche channel is a crazy, fun channel. The appeal of the Fred video is immaturity…but in a good way! Everyone likes to be silly sometimes, well Fred gets to be silly all the time. I love the part where Fred goes swimming in this video. LOL! Get in touch with your inner child before watching this one.

5. They Consistently Have High Quality Content

You know that this kid takes some time thinking up, shooting, and editing these short little videos. When you start making your own, you’ll appreciate it even more.

6. They Have Fun with It!

If you aren’t having fun doing it, then your viewers probably won’t have fun watching it. If they have fun, then they’ll want to come back.

Video Example: Fred Goes Swimming: (46,948,000 views)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEqwKNNQBwc&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Next week, I will post more about YouTube and creating viral videos. I can’t wait to share some of my favorites!

15 Easy Free DoFollow Backlinks to Your Website

Remember from the “Website Backlink Popularity Tools” post: “Backlinks are incoming links to a website, web page, or blog post.” And just so you know, I use the words linkback and backlink interchangeably. :) Also please note that these links will help websites or businesses that are still in the startup phase. I don’t think any of these links have a higher Google Pagerank than 2 or 3. ** This means that creating backlinks from these resources are worthless to a site that already has a pagerank of 4 or higher. **

General Places to Get a Listing for Good (Meaning Not the “NoFollow” Kind) Backlinks / Linkbacks:

1. Merchant Circle is a definite must have business listing. Here’s mine: http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Virtual.IT.Assistants.317-670-9977

2. http://www.haiku.com/VirtualAssistants This one isn’t one of my favorites, but it works.

Helpful Internet Business Tools:

3. Outright is a cool accounting service that Jen uses for her business. I’ll bet that when she first setup an account with them she didn’t realize they’d give her a free good backlink! See her profile: http://entrepreneurs.outright.com/virtual-assistance-by-jen

Social Network Profiles:

4. Fast Pitch Networking is an internet business social network site. A profile here is worth setting up for the good linkback to your business site: http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/profile.cfm?ContactID=52366547

5. YouTube Got videos? Get them on YouTube and be sure to fill in your business site into your profile for yet another good linkback. See my profile: http://www.youtube.com/user/virtualitassistants (Scroll down to my avatar and see my link under there. If you are curious about where it shows up.)

6. Inbound Marketing University If you are into internet marketing of any kind, you should already have heard of this place . Even if you are already an experienced inbound marketer, you should at least have a profile here. See mine: http://inboundmarketing.com/user/3906. It also gives you a good link.

Twitter: (Of course, the master tool for getting backlinks and traffic. )

7. Mashable Twitterlists See Kena’s Lists: http://mashable.com/twitterlists/user/KenaRoth/ She may not have realized this when she shared her lists here, but it gave her a free link back to her site from mashable.com. Bonus!

Add Yourself to Local Twitter Lists:

8. Twitter States

9. Local Tweeps

(P.S. Find twitterers near you and follow them. It’s great to have friends all over the world, but you be surprised at how practical it is to get tweets regarding events closer to home)

Website and Blog Site Tools with Profiles That LinkBack:

10. Sitemeter Do you like sharing your site analytics? Create a profile at sitemeter.com for your domain.

11. MyBlogLog If you have a blog, then you need to signup for a free account at mybloglog anyway. – Never mind the free backlinks! See some of my blogs: http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/darkbluesun/

These next profiles may be a little less practical for brand new businesses, but you should still know that they are available to anyone.

12. Act.ly Twitter petitions at act.ly include your web address that you use in your twitter profile. I created one about cybercrime awareness a long time ago: http://act.ly/uo. When you stop by, you should sign it! It’s been awhile, but all the info is still very relevant.

13. Quibblo is a  free online quiz creator. It links back to your site when you set up a profile. See mine: http://www.quibblo.com/user/virtualitassistant

14. Google Knowledge Profiles (called Knols): If you have a knol, or have some good content to start a knoll, you should definitely link back to your business site where appropriate. (Only create one or two links. That should be sufficient.) See mine? http://knol.google.com/k/darkbluesun/the-abc-s-for-work-at-home-parents/1jq3j1sfpra4f/1# I just happened to link to myself within this old business starter e-book.

15. Squidoo lens Do you have one? Do you know someone who does? If you create a linkback to your site from it, then it does give you a good link as well. http://www.squidoo.com/darkbluesun#module29853702

Who is linking back to you right now? Check it out at Link Diagnosis. Look for the ones where the link type equals good. And let me know if I missed any other easy linkbacks.

Another great way to get linkbacks is to guest post for a great blog like this one! ;) We had to take a break from that little opportunity for a little bit due to the volume of responses and the lack of extra time to find the best ones. There are still so many great guests we will have before the end of this year I promise. However, we still want to fit you into the rotation as well to get your turn in the spotlight! So signup to be a guest blogger today. If you haven’t heard from us and it has been more than 2 business days since you sent your response then please let us know.