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Archives: May 2011

Tool of the Day: YouTube Video Editor

You may remember earlier when we reported on YouTube’s new content creation feature which allows users to make and upload their own animated videos. Now YouTube has augmented their video services with a robust set of free video editing tools called YouTube Video Editor. While the service soft launched in 2010, it has been tweaked and refined over the past few months and includes several useful features. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

YouTube Video Editor

Once you have uploaded a video to your YouTube account, just click over to your videos and playlists, and you will see a link in the top navigation called Video Editor. The editor’s interface is similar to other video editing programs like iMovie, including a media picker to select your videos, a preview player for your video as you make edits, and a filmstrip stage to construct your video. To begin, just drag your video(s) from the media picker down to the filmstrip stage. Once placed on the stage, these videos can can be rotated, trimmed (within 1/15 of  second), and you can adjust the brightness, contrast, or add stabilization (in case your original video is a bit shaky). Multiple versions of a video can be added included on the filmstrip stage, which makes construction easy if you need to pre-roll or post-roll content to your video.

YouTube Video Editor

With your newly constructed and edited video, you can add audio overlays from 20 different genres ranging from acoustic to world, and you can add several different transitions between clips, such as a crossfade or a star wipe. When you are finished with adding music and transitions, you will be able to view the finished product and publish it directly to you YouTube channel. If you get lost at any point through the editing process, there is also a helpful tour that’s just a click away from the main interface.

While YouTube Video Editor joins a number of other free online video editing services (JayCut, One True, Media, etc.), it stands out among the pack by letting current users keep their videos on YouTube without transferring files between multiple web services, and the learning curve is extremely low.

Try it out today at www.youtube.com/editor.

Social Sharing Buttons: Too Much Or Not Enough?

News can break at a moment’s notice, and whether you have the exclusive scoop or not, chances are that readers coming to your website to read the story will want to share it with their friends and family. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networking services can help give your story a greater platform, especially if you use their social media buttons to facilitate sharing. But is your organization’s website overusing these widgets? Or worse, are they there for the wrong reasons?

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A few months ago, a screenshot circulated on the Web of an article from The Washington Post showing nearly a dozen links to Facebook; the different links allow users to recommend or share the article, or to become a fan of their Facebook fan page. CNN’s articles include buttons for Facebook and Twitter with their articles, along with a general “Share” button including links to other services. These buttons are meant to increase engagement between users and their friends, but these examples may show that sometimes news organizations need to fill whitespace on their pages, and they do so by adding additional social widgets.

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Whether or not the user experience of using social media buttons on news sites is good or bad, the overall numbers show that good content is the fuel of the social web. A recent study by AOL and Nielsen shows that 23% of social media messages include links to content (published articles, videos, and photos), which equates to roughly 27,000,000 pieces of content shared each day. A number like that may be a case for including as many share buttons as possible on your website, but less is more when it comes to adding these social sharing buttons for a few reasons.

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From a marketing standpoint, it’s important to make sure that an organization’s social media sharing options are focused based on their audience’s demographics, and minimalistic enough so that the user doesn’t have to spend too much time figuring out their next step for sharing the article. That not only includes the quantity of social sharing buttons, but also the placement of these buttons. The New York Times does a great job with their social networking buttons, including Facebook and Twitter and a button to more services in a simple box near the top of the article. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also takes the simple approach to content sharing by having only one social sharing button with each article. The other benefit of having a minimum of sharing buttons for articles is a shorter load time for the page.

Have you seen any good (or bad) implementations of social sharing buttons on news organization websites? Share your findings in the comments!

Students Launch Web-Based iPad Magazine And 48-Hour Magazine At Syracuse

When Caitlin Dewey found herself disappointed with mobile consumption experiences on most news sites, she decided to make her own. Using the money from a grant from the honors program at Syracuse University, Dewey and two other students — developer Brian Dawson and designer Kuan Luo — created and launched Salt, an iPad magazine, after 120 hours of planning and coding. Fifteen students contributed to the first issue, covering art and culture in Central New York.

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Humans vs. Cyborgs: Four Ways @NYTimes Has Changed This Week

On Monday, New York Times social media editors Lexi Mainland and Liz Heron announced from the @NYTimes account that all week long, they would be engaging in a social experiment: the automated @NYTimes Twitter account would be complemented by a handwritten approach, with  Mainland and Heron taking turns writing tweets. Heron told Poynter that the experiment “is about changing the perception, and it’s about being a little more strategic about what we put out there — finding the most engaging content.”

According to Heron, Times staffers have joined in with the automated feed before, but this is the first time it has been totally turned off. So how has @NYTimes changed since the humans at the Times usurped the cyborgs? As it turns out, the differences between the automated feed and the handwritten one are pretty stark. For avid Twitter users, some of these changes may seem a little duh-worthy, but for a news organization with a notoriously ambivalent relationship with social media, these changes may represent an important attitudinal shift in regards to social networking.

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8 Journalists Who Were Fired for Tweeting, Part 2

To paraphrase Liz Heron, the social media editor at the New York Times, a good rule of thumb when it comes to reporters using social media is don’t be stupid. But looking at the number of people fired for tweeting, it’s clear Heron’s advice is easier said than done. Without further ado, here’s the second half of “Journalists Who Were Fired for Tweeting.” (Check out Part 1 in case you missed it.) Read more

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