How are social media-savvy companies rising to the communication challenges presented by YouTube? One way is by recognizing and embracing YouTube’s emphasis on content versus presentation.
“In the midst of a fabulous array of historically unprecedented and utterly mind-boggling stimuli … whatever.” Thomas de Zengotita
Put in less poetic terms, we’ve been so bombarded by high-def, high-speed, high-concept content, less really has become more. Sincere, unscripted content will stop us in our tracks and grab our attention. We find raw or casually edited footage somehow more believable, and in some cases more enjoyable than its polished counterpart. And it’s a lot cheaper, which means corporations can afford to do more communicating closer to the events which trigger it.
Enlightened companies also understand that YouTube-enabled, ridiculously honest communication runs in both directions. At once beautiful and frightening, comments (aka “What did you think of my video?”) give us an unfiltered view into the minds of our audience … instantly. It’s hard to assign value to the heartfelt words “You suck!” in response to your latest product announcement video. If you’re truly fortunate, the commenter will elaborate on your product’s shortcomings in a way that is genuinely useful. And thanks to tools like YouTube’s Insight, companies can access a plethora of demographic data, statistics on content popularity, hot spots within videos, etc.
Then there’s SEO. We can’t get enough of it. So preoccupied are we with how much traffic comes to our websites from Google, we hardly noticed that YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine.
So what is to become of slick and scripted video content? Well, I still have suits and ties hanging in my closet. I look forward to most occasions that still call for them. Likewise, I can’t imagine a Super Bowl Sunday populated exclusively by homemade videos of somebody’s cat falling on a bag of chips. The world has changed, that’s all. It’s gotten faster and easier to communicate in the visual medium, but there will always be a place for professionally produced content. In fact, I can attest to the fact that a steady diet of hamburger heightens one’s appreciation for steak.