|VIDEO SOCIAL MEDIA: A Reference for Integrating and Applying Video Social Media as a Technical Communicator Page 3 of 7|
About VSM Websites
In order to discuss how VSM sites can be incorporated by the technical communicator, some of the basic features of VSM sites should be introduced. This section discusses the features that VSM sites contain, as well as offers guidelines for interacting with VSM features. For this section the “user” should be read to imply the technical communicator. The main components of VSM sites that this section will address are video posting, individual videos, video channels, comments and feedback, and similar videos. Figure 2 on this page shows Vimeo.com’s display format for finding, viewing, creating, and posting on their VSM site.
Figure 2 Vimeo Posting
a.) Video Posting
Depending on what the user is trying to accomplish, there are two main ways of posting videos for audience interaction. The first method of posting is single-user posting and allows for a single user to post videos under their account name for others to view and interact with. The second method for posting videos is called channel posting. This method allows a user to create a dedicated channel focused on a subject, or area, of the user's choosing. Every site that hosts VSM has guidelines for posting. There are “how to post” guidelines that specify any content not allowed, length, size, and format of submissions, and other posting “how to's.” Always read and refer to the guidelines for the VSM site when creating an account and submitting a video.
b.) Individual Videos
A single user of a VSM site can post videos on various subjects. A technical communicator can avoid creating a “channel” for videos if they are using a VSM site to post individual videos with a different, specific purpose for each video. Most VSM sites will collect videos posted by a single user, but will not create a focus for the videos posted. Depending on the VSM site a user can “tag” the videos according to content and viewers can search for “tags.” This is not applicable to all VSM sites, but is a common feature of most. VSM sites often vary the length or size of video allowed for posting, with some sites allowing a certain length to be posted for free and charging fees for longer videos.
c.) Video Channels
Not all VSM sites allow users to create channels. Channels are a way of organizing and categorizing videos. Viewers of a VSM site can choose to “follow” a channel or a single user. By following, a viewer receives updates on any videos posted by the user, or posted onto the channel. Friends, or acquaintances, commonly follow single users, and people who are interested in particular subjects commonly follow channels. Channels can have a broad subject like “The Technical Communication Channel” or a specific subject like “Documentation for overseas illustrator software.” Deciding which VSM site to use will depend on the type(s) of content the user, or technical communicator, needs to post. If the user will be posting videos on a wide variety of topics, then the ability to create channels will not be an important concern, as all VSM sites allow individual video posting. However, if the user wants to post videos on several specific topics, then the ability to create channels for those topics will be a key concern and can help the user narrow down which specific VSM site to choose.
d.) Comments and Feedback
Dealing with comments once a video has been posted and viewed is an important step in using VSM sites. Comments to a video do not usually require a response. On occasion a viewer may ask a specific question pertaining to a video. In such a case a response is polite and, on most VSM sites, you have the option of replying to the comment with another comment, or by clicking on the viewer’s name, or information, and e-mailing them directly. At present there is no “proper conduct” for responses; it is mostly common sense. Common sense is a broad term and should be taken to suggest that a user should comment using language and phrasing similar to a face-to-face conversation. For example, if a question is asked about a video that was posted for research purposes, it would make sense to reply to the question with a “reply comment.” To reply to a question in the comments, the user would click on the “reply to comment” link. This keeps the information collected and linked together with the video, and allows any other viewer with the same question to be able to view the response.
Figure 3 Comments and Tags
For some VSM sites viewers can post “video responses” to a video. It is also common for VSM sites to have a group of videos labeled “similar videos” that either appear as links next to the video or pop up after the video has finished playing. Video responses are videos that another user or viewer feels have a similar subject to, or builds upon, the posted video. Similar videos are videos that the VSM site determined have similar tags or similar viewers of the tags that are listed for a video. An example of tags and categories for finding similar videos can be seen above in Figure 3, which was taken from YouTube.Next>