Olive Riley, the world’s oldest blogger, is gone…is she?

Olive Riley “passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 12”, according to her blog. Olive was 108 years old and therefore the oldest blogger on the planet. Yes, indeed, she blogged. Started in February 2007, encouraged by her friend Mike, Olive (or Ollie to her friends) posted regularly about her life, now and in the past, on her blog. Or blob, as she calls it.

Amazing, A woman, who experienced two century changes (remember, she was born in 1899), keeping a blog. And not only that, she has a large audience too! Thousands of people all over the world followed Ollie’s live.

“People ask me why I do this blob”, Ollie says in her 8th post on March 21st, 2007. “It’s because I can lie in bed just before I go to sleep (that’s when I do most of my thinking) with a smile on my face enjoying about all the things that have happened.” At her age, reading a computer screen is difficult, therefore she does the talking and Mike, her helper, does the typing.

Her posts are full of pictures and every now and then a videoclip (which are put on YouTube, of course). She talks about herself, her family, the changes and developments in the world over the years, stories about the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1932 (see “The Coathanger and the Big Fella”) to a funny story about some of her friends that “peed over the fish”…

She made friends with Maria Amelia Lopez, Spain’s oldest blogger (96 years old), even though Ollie doesn’t speak Spanish and Maria knows no English!

All in all, apart from her age, nothing spectacular or fast or flashy, but very authentic and engaging to a lot of people. No matter what she posts, she receives dozens of comments on all of them, over and over again.

I am touched by this, for many reasons. First, that Ollie stood open for these new and innovative way of communication. No offense, but in all honesty, my parents (who could have been her grandchildren!) hardly understand what a blog is, let alone managing one. But most importantly, I can imagine that, with all the limitations someone has at 108, this kept her going and gave joy to her life. And to many others! It proofs that the internet is ageless, that blogging is ageless and that the (online) world is our community.

Now Ollie is gone. Physically that is. Online she is still on-air, thus alive. So those who want can still enjoy her.

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Amazing Moments 6 – Croc attack

I still owe you something…this Amazing Moment in the Serengeti. I will not say too much, just watch:

Professional nature filmmakers spent hours and hours, often waiting in difficult circumstances, just to get that one shot. It took me only 5 minutes (and lots of luck). With that in the back of your mind, take a look at the video below…(if you haven’t seen it yet).

It’s no surprise that this video has been viewed 34,690,615 times (and counting). It’s spectacular, authentic and an unbelievable story with a happy ending. On top of that, it’s one of the most viewed videos on YouTube and winner of the YouTube Eyewitness Video Award. It even has it’s own website: www.battleatkruger.com And it’s made by an amateur.

David Budzinski, a supply manager from Chevron in Houston, made the film during his first visit to Africa in September 2004. Just a tourist on safari in the Kruger National Park. They encountered a group of lions sunbathing close to a watering hole when a herd of buffalo’s passed by. The tour guide suggested to observe the group for some time. After an hour the spectacular scene took place. It was breathtaking. “At the moment the crocodile and the lions were fighting for the poor calve, I wanted to turn off the camera”, Budzinski said in an interview. “I didn’t want a bloody mess.” Luckily he didn’t and a feel-good story was born. Someone suggested to Budzinski that he sould try to sell the video, which he did. He contacted several stations like National Geographic and Animal Planet but everywhere he received the same reply: “We don’t accept footage from amateurs”

Until the video took off on YouTube. Millions of people watched it and shared it with friends and family. After more than 30 million views National Geographic contacted Budzinski in order to purchase the television rights of the video (price unknown). On top of that, National Geographic sent David Budzinski back to South Africa to make a documentary on the video: Caught on Safari, the Battle at Kruger, which National Geographic recently broadcasted. And with that Budzinski set another record: the first hour-long documentary that was inspired by a YouTube videoclip.

Poor professional sods, still lying there, waiting in the mud or in the burning desert, surrounded by flies and other annoying flying and crawling creatures, persistent and motivated by just that one comforting guarantee…”they will not accept any footage from amateurs…”

Amazing Moments 4: OSCAR workshop, the sky is the limit

Earlier this week it was OSCAR time again…

We developed OSCAR is a training tool where digital storytelling is used as an instrument for project management, team building, leadership development, strategy development and change management. The purpose of OSCAR is to produce a film around a certain subject within 1 day. The trainees produce the entire film, from script to final edit. In addition people learn about the power of rich media. While working on their production, they are tested on their skills such as communication, planning, organizing and co-operation.

Together with one of our partners, Insights International (a well-known training company specialized in Project- and program management), we organized an OSCAR workshop for a real estate company as a kick-off event for a training on Communication and co-operation. Location: Castle Sterkenburg (website is in Dutch) in Driebergen, The Netherlands. A very inspiring environment.

Two groups of 6 people enthusiastically managed to produce a short clip of three minutes. The assignment was to give their view on the identity of the company. Although I cannot reveal the final videos, I can tell you it was hilarious, entertaining and educational. Not only did everyone enjoy the experience, it also gave an insight in how they work with each other. Which form the basis for the rest of the training. And the winners were pleased with the mostly desirable OSCAR Award!

It is amazing how people use their creative skills and ‘living’ the roles they have been assigned to. An impression:

Professional equipment ensures a smooth production phase – and it impresses people too

The postproduction is the part where the people see the pieces falling together

Or have to decide to shoot scenes again

OSCAR has winners, but no losers

But the best was saved for last. As a surprise, the managers of the company organised a balloon trip. The circumstances were perfect: clear sky, not too cold and not too much wind. And what they say is true, once your in the air, there is no wind! (makes sense, doesn’t it?)

So, literally, for this OSCAR, the sky was the limit.

Social Media is here to stay – Pharma needs to join in

“There will be a trend towards using Web 2.0 [in pharma]”, confirms Simon Freedman, Marketing Director at Allergan in the May/June issue of Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe. “We have already seen some spontaneous use of YouTube in some of the disease areas we work in”, he explains.

“It is important not to lose sight of what social media actually entails. “The true meaning of social media unfortunately gets lost in the marketing hyperbole and inflated expectations and promises”, says Jaan Orvet, Communication director at Orbitsville, a social media specialist. According to Orvet, social media is defined by its simplicity and straightforwardness, because at its core are the everyday social interactions that we enjoy in real life. The only difference is that this is driven by technology.

“Note that there is no mention of ‘deploying messages’ or ‘penetrating core groups’ or any other marketing speak in social media. Social media is about conversation, about honesty and about behaving like a person and not a corporation. After all, you don’t buy friends or credibility. Both come with time and commitment,” he adds. The idea is to engage with customers and to participate in meaningful and extended dialogue with them. This requires companies to be upfront, about the good and the bad.

“Allow people to show you what they think. Let them share photos of what a bad rash they get from your product. Or how well the surgery scar healed when they used your cream.” Orvet suggests. “You will be amazed by how many people will appreciate you, and forgive you, if you are honest.” Companies interested in embracing social media may consider creating their own social network from scratch, but it is sometimes more effective to become part of an existig community.

Furthermore, social networking should not just exists outside a company’s walls. Internal relationships can be enhanced by collaborative action and Orvet encourages the development of an intra-company network where staff can share ideas, photos, links to what competition is doing, slogans for new products and so on. “Collaboration is a huge part of social networking,” he says.

Additionally, start a small in-house project with the aim of boosting awareness and familiarity with social media. This could involve starting a wiki – web pages that allow anyone who accesses them to modify content – or launching an online photo competition for staff.

Malcolm Allison, Marketing Director of new products at Actellion Pharmaceuticals foresees three major challenges in the use of social media. Firstly, recent high profile paedophile ‘grooming’ incidents could result in access being severely restricted unless effective self-policing is maintained. Secondly, social media is anarchic, so very difficult to influence… Companies have already been burnt as they tried to make money. Thirdly, social media is fad driven, will evolve very rapidly, with no particular site or engine remaining popular for more than three of four years, making it even harder to use it on the long term.”

A fear of relinquishing control is perhaps the most immediate and common response to the social media movement. The concepts of openess and sharing are not a feature of modern day corporate culture. In response, Orvet stresses that “openess is crucial, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It’s just different. This comes back to the fact that people already talk about your products and they form opinions based on what others think of your products. If you don’t want to be a part of that, that’s OK. But if your competitor does participate, they will have the upper hand.”

The web will continue to change and evolve.. “Eventually, ‘social’ will be a natural part of the web, in much the same way that no one thinks twice about viewing videos online anymore – yet that was called a ‘short-term craze’ too, as was the whole web in the 1990s”

Excerpt from an article featured in the May/June edition of Pharmaceutical Marketing Europe, written by Selina Denman, mnaging editor at the publishing group of Macus Evans.

Web video viewers logging more hours

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According to an article on eMarketer (www.emarketer.com) 75% of online video viewers watch more video than they did a year ago, and it is expected that this will grow further. Also, 66% indicated that they prefer to have ads in the videos if that means the content was for free. Sixty percent of the respondents say that they took action after having sen an online video ad.

Short-form videos remain the mosr popular with viewers. The most watched types are:

  • Jokes/funny videos: 19%
  • News: 20%
  • Amateur video: 18%
  • Movie trailers: 33%
  • Music videos: 25%
  • Short clips from TV: 32%
  • Weather information: 18%
  • Ads: 29%
  • Sporting events: 15%
  • Full length TV shows: 17%
  • Concerts: 16%

DigiRedo take: So people watch more ads than sport events on the internet? Mmmm… don’t think so..

Spock is looking for you

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Say you’re looking for your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, or just wanna know what your own web presence is. Well, you go to MySpace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and all the other social network places you can think of. Eventually you will find her/him, or find out that you should be more careful with your blog comments. A hell of a lot of work. That’s most probably the same as the founders of Spock.com thought.

Spock.com is for searching people the same as Google is for searching for web pages (innitially anyway). Go to http://www.spock.com, enter a name and be amazed. Spock’s spiders crawl the internet. mainly the social network places, gather information from that person and put it all nicely together in one page. Although the info is availabel somewhere, for some people it might be a bit shocking to see it all together now. I can imagine that: your profile on MySpace or FaceBook might be a bit different than your profile on LinkedIn. And yet, this is the person, in all his/her glory.

Spock is in beta (like all Web 2.0 applications are) but it caught already quite some buzz on the net.

Happy hunting!

More info here.

YouTube and the President

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“In 2004, YouTube didn’t exist. Three years later, politicians have learned to fear and revere the video-sharing Web site that has become a vital part of the campaign for the 2008 U.S. presidential election”, writes Reuters in an article about the significance of YouTube during the race for the presidential elections.

Not only candidates are posting their thoughts on the future of the world, of course also ‘normal people’ use it to post questions, rant or just have fun of the potantial new President.

Phil Noble from PoliticsOnline states that during the previous elections New Media was just starting to appear and candidates were getting ‘their feet wet’. Now it is a fundamental element of all campaigns and the combination with Old Media provides a powerful way to help convincing people to put the red dot next to their future president.

Read more here.

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