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Remember when nostalgia was the key to social media? I’m not sure I do…

1 Apr

Josh Cheesman
@JoshCheesman

Do you remember TaleSpin? The cartoon with characters from The Jungle Book, except they were in a 1920s setting and Baloo flew one of those planes that could land on water? And do you remember the theme tune?

Awesome. Now that’s a great intro. What were your favourite cartoon opening themes? DuckTales? Bucky O’Hare? Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles? Ch-Ch-Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers?

… It’s OK., I’ve not lost the plot. I was just making an effort to stir a bit of nostalgia in the likely demographic of the blog. Why, you might ask? Because according to a new article, nostalgia is one of the most important tools in a social medi-ite’s arsenal.

(You don’t get tools in an arsenal, do you? Well, I guess you might if you were some kind of slasher movie tool box killer. Hey, remember all the old slasher movie killers? Freddy, Jason, Mike Myers before he started doing comedies…)

Yeah, I’ll admit I was trying to do the nostalgia thing again.

“A New Goldmine in Social Media”

So like a said, an article published yesterday claims that nostalgia is “the new golden nugget of social media”.

Golden Nuggets

Pictured: nostalgia.

Using the suspciously made-up sounding example of Michael the baker and his Facebook page, the author talks about how even simple references and questions help foster warm feelings and fun conversation with the online community. It’s done from the point of view of a business getting itself out there, but the article is phrased in terms of community interaction, which is a crucial aspect of being a journalist on the web as opposed to on TV or in a newspaper.

I’m a little sceptical of whether nostalgia is that persuasive a factor in gaining social capital. I mean, there’s only so long you get by on the good will of pop culture history, especially in journalism. Our business is telling people what’s new, not asking them to remember things that are old.

Besides, the internet is drowning in nostalgia, especially for the children of the 80s and 90s (case in point: the fact that I was able to get video clips of all those theme tunes with a minimum of searching online).

On the other hand though, a bit of nostalgia every once in a while can be a powerful tool. In this day and age, with so many websites providing news content, you need to make yours stand out. And if you reference Thunderbirds in a story about the International Rescue Corps, or use a picture of the Emperor from Star Wars to talk about the “dark side” of social media, maybe that’s just the hook you need to get people into your story.

So, let’s finish up with the obligatory question  – do you remember a news article that you read primarily because there was something fun or nostalgic about it?

YouTube ranting – even less cool than Rebecca Black…

21 Mar

by Ben Miller

Just look at this video:

It epitomises everything that’s wrong with YouTube. Over the last 2 or 3 years, an internet fad has rapidly become a widespread obsession – especially on the other side of the Pond.

Scores of home-made videos began to appear on a site which had previously been a hotspot for people searching for music videos and free films.

Controversially though, is it journalism? Most of these video ‘bloggers’ air their [mostly tedious] opinions in a distinctly journalistic fashion, but is that purely due to the channelling of information?

One thing they most definitely are not is impartial, meaning that in the traditional sense of the word these would be (slash wannabe) professeurs de grâce can’t be considered journalists. Actually, screw the info, this is a severe case of cyber-bitching gone mad.

What really gets my goat is the sheer audacity of it all! Most of these uploaders, who usually ‘broadcast’ from a webcam in their bedrooms (or in Chris Crocker’s case under the sheets), drone on and on about how irritating their chosen subject is. How very dare they!

Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa, Britney Spears and scores of other frequently victimised celebs are torn apart by absolute nobodies! I don’t understand why some of these morons have millions of hits! Who are they? Why should anybody care what they have to say about anyone!? Especially someone who’s achieved far more with their life than they ever will!

A blogger called Megan O’Neill wrote a piece last week on a specific area of internet ranting that is not celebrity-oriented, but whose principles are the same. She notes that people judge entirely on what they see in the video, as they don’t know the poster as a person, meaning there’s a massive danger of being defined purely by what you say in your rant. Many of the responses to Megan’s blog post support video bloggers’ freedom of speech.

So why do they bother doing it? I believe that it’s purely an attention thing. Every idiot who uploads a bitchy vid striving for hits is hoping to be the next Perez Hilton – and God forbid there should ever be another one of him unleashed on us all!

Sure, advertising revenue stemming from YouTube’s commercial highlighting of those videos whose number of views starts to approach the million mark and its repercussions (popularity and interest leading to television contracts and appearances) is a definite incentive. But surely they must all realise that this type of success only comes to a smidgenous percentage of YouTube ranters.

Those who do start to attract a sizeable number of hits, however, often get rather big. And it’s this popular attention that makes YouTube a wholly social medium.

Luckily, not many peoples’ opinions (amongst my peers at least) seem to be in any way altered or affected by what they see of online rants.

Hopefully the trend will die out as quickly as it sprung up. Unfortunately, with all the millions out there desperate to have their nothingsy voices heard, platforms offering audio-visual uploading facilities are likely to carry on being clogged with this rubbish.

http://marketing.about.com/b/2009/02/22/youtube-social-media-marketing-via-video.htm