70% of the internet is video… time to develop your video making skills?

The wonderful Dan Slee and Darren Caveney of Comms2point0 have mentioned a few times in their blogs and rather wonderful weekly email that 70% of the internet is video. Each time I’ve read this I’ve wondered “is that because video files take up more space than text files?” (my understanding of the internet being rather rudimentary). Today I wanted to let you know about the NetSquared Midlands Meet-up on 16 May at which Dan will be describing the changing landscape of what is shared online and offering some tips on getting to grips with video making. So I decided to look up that 70% statistic as I wanted to understand it.

I learned from this article and similar ones that the statistic is probably from data provided by a North American broadband services company about home broadband internet usage during peak evening hours. The article is titled “Streaming Video Now Accounts for 70 Percent of Broadband Usage”, which is perhaps a bit misleading, but hey, it’s a headline and needed to be snappy. So the statistic is about what is streamed. Plus, the categorisation ‘video’ includes what I still think of as ‘TV’ – Netflix streaming takes a whopping 37% share of the broadband usage.

Which is not to say that we shouldn’t be getting to grips with video. Dan makes some great points in this succinct list of 7 things you need to know about video in 2016. The important ones for me in terms of ways that we can use social media to connect, communicate and collaborate are:

  • Video on the web is no longer just YouTube
    Once posting it to the 11-year-old social site and then sharing the link was enough. Not anymore. More than 500 million people watch Facebook video every day, according to Facebook.
  • Anyone can shoot video if their phone is good enough
    Go to your camera. Click the video option. Point your camera. Record. There you go. Done. If you have a smartphone you can do it.
  • The best video is of real people and not in an office
    Shoot footage of real people doing real things. They’ll be more interesting and they’ll also have friends, relatives, aunts and uncles who have Facebook profiles they’ll like and share that video on.

So why not take the opportunity to spend an evening with Dan Slee and the equally knowledgable NetSquared Midlands organisers Pauline Roche and Paul Webster, and get to grips with video? The NetSquared meet-up is on Monday 16 May, 6.30-8.30pm at Impact Hub Birmingham in Digbeth.

And what better to end this post with but a video? This is a beautiful video about Bread2Share, a successful Dudley social enterprise, made by the talented Simon of Reel Eyes Films, another social enterprise.

NetSquared Midlands meetups and digital engagement sessions

NetSquared brings together people involved in charities and community-based activity with people who have digital and technology know-how. They want to make it “easy, meaningful, and fun for people and organisations to get the information, visibility and in-person support they need to maximize technology for social good”. NetSquared events and meetups take place in over 50 places around the world, thanks to individuals volunteering to be NetSquared Organisers.

netsquared midlands logoWe are incredibly fortunate to have two fantastic co-organisers for NetSquared Midlands (on twitter as @Net2Midlands). Paul Webster is an incredibly generous and knowledgeable individual, and one of a handful of amazing people I am forever grateful to for helping me to get started with social media. Pauline Roche is one of the most wonderfully supportive people you could hope to meet, and equally as knowledgeable. Both Pauline and Paul have diverse networks, lots of experience working in and with voluntary and community based organisations, and know a lot about tools and tech that people and in groups and organisations could use to improve what they do and the impact they have.

There are a few NetSquared events coming up in September (sorry I share this news so late in the day). Do check them out, book and get along if you’re interested. They are all free, and all just down the road in Birmingham.

Tableau Public Session on Wednesday 2 September, 9.30am-12.00pm
Free event, register on Eventbrite
Tableau Public is free software that can allow anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web. This session is  facilitated by Caroline Beavon who specialises in information design, infographics design and data visualizations. (Caroline worked with Dudley CVS last year to produce a stunning Annual Report in infographics for us.)

September meetup on Monday 7 September, 6.00pm-8.00pm
Free event, register via Meetup
At this meetup we’re going to share our top digital tools, the ones that help us make better use of our time, and the ones that are interesting and fun!

Wikipedia Session on Wednesday 9 September, 9.30am-12.00pm
Free event, register on Eventbrite
Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This session is facilitated by Andy Mabbett who has been a Wikipedian (or Wikimedian) in Residence at a number of museums, galleries and other organisations, provides training and consultancy on Wikipedia-related topics and speaks on various Wikipedia-related topics at conferences and seminars. (Andy gave one of the most fascinating talks at Bostincamp and has helped out at Social Media Surgeries in Dudley.)

Community Action and Social Media

Photo from research seminar, Angus McCabe at the front of a seminar room, participants looking towards him or using laptops etc.

Research Seminar at the Third Sector Research Centre

On Wednesday Alison Sayer from (Halas Homes) and I spent the afternoon in a research seminar at the University of Birmingham. The Barrow Cadbury Trust have funded the Third Sector Research Centre to undertake exploration and research around Community Action and Social Media. The project started a few months ago, when Kevin Harris from Local Level (he blogs here) reviewed literature on the topic and carried out telephone interviews with people who do work with community groups and social media.

Questions being asked through the research are:

  • How/do social media generate, extend, develop or sustain community action in communities of place/interest? (This is the overall research question.)
  • What social media are being used at a community level and how?
  • Why and to do what?
  • What is the impact and outcomes of social media use?

If you have any examples which can help to answer these questions please do get in touch with Kevin Harris (kevin@local-level.org.uk). I’ll be sharing some experiences here which might go some small way to responding to the research questions, and also examples from other places. (They will all go in a category called community action and social media so that you can find them easily.)

Though the research team themselves weren’t using social media during the seminar, that clearly that didn’t stop those of us who enjoy social reporting, involving people outside the room, and picking up on discussion points through a backchannel. We used the hashtag #CASM, and Pauline Roche kindly curated an archive of the twitter discussion on Storify. Slides from the seminar were circulated after the session via email with participants, I’ve shared a copy here.

At this point I confess to a feeling of immense frustration. There are amazing people across the country who have incredible experience-based knowledge in relation to communities and community development, and the analysis of power which comes with that. They even write brilliant books about things like networking approaches to community development. However they haven’t really jumped in when it comes to social media. This leads to barriers in them understanding stories and examples from people like Steph Clarke who use social media in highly skilled and adept ways to facilitate positive connections and action and build cohesion in their own communities. I am convinced that understanding can only be real when you have built up some experience  of using social media. Otherwise it’s like trying to understand what it’s like to swim without ever getting in the water.

Anyway, here’s my first example from Dudley of community action being driven through social media. Karl Denning is a guide dog owner from Dudley who campaigns for equality and raises awareness about behaviours which make day to day life difficult and even dangerous for partially sighted people. Karl came along to a Dudley Social Media Surgery in 2013, when he learned some tips and tricks to use Twitter more effectively (he’s on twitter as @KarlDenning). He returned to the next surgery for help to set up a new blog on WordPress, and then again later in 2014 to find out how to use Instagram. Below is a video made and shared on YouTube by Dudley Police and Karl, raising awareness of inconsiderate parking. It’s had over 3,500 views. I have no idea what the impact and outcomes of this are, but it has made me more thoughtful about where and how I park. The video relates to a wider effort by Karl to raise awareness which taps in to the hashtag #inconsiderateparking. Do take a look at the video, if only to watch how tentatively the police officer passes the car, which helps you empathise with how scary this is.

Photo credit: Photo from research seminar taken by Gooweon Jeong, shared via @thirdsectorrc twitter account